Over the past several years, the importance of having a good credit score has become more apparent to millions of Americans, who have consequently worked hard to improve their standings. But this isn't always a successful endeavor, and can be difficult to deal with on an ongoing basis. Consequently, many Americans still misuse credit, or simply don't have enough access to it, and that can end up costing them a considerable amount of money.
There are many credit cards marketed more or less directly to people who have low credit scores, and the issue is that when it comes to these accounts, people might use them because they have no other option, and they'll usually pay a lot of money to do so, according to a report from the New York Times. Many of these cards have relatively low credit limits, charge consumers fees up-front to obtain them and every month, and carry hefty APRs that can make debt add up rather quickly.
A major issue for borrowers
And while some lenders have been caught exceeding some of the financial protection laws put in place in the wake of the economic downturn, many such lenders are getting right up against those limits, the report said. Often, people might not have the financial wherewithal to know just how costly such a card can be, even if it's managed properly. Therefore, the best advice many experts can offer people is to be cautious and review the costs and benefits each card might provide for them.
"Look really carefully at the fees," Lauren Saunders, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, told the newspaper.
The more consumers can do to boost their credit scores through strong financial management techniques and reasonable efforts to pay down what they already owe, the better off they're likely to be going forward, especially when it comes to avoiding costly lines of credit. This means things like spending wisely on credit cards and making sure to pay down any debts accrued as soon as possible, and sending in payments on time every single month, all of which work end up improving a credit score overall and putting people in a better financial position going forward. Also, that might include obtaining alternative credit scores that will take more than just their ability to pay into their various financial accounts into consideration.