What?? You want a what card? It’s not enough that you’ve got a health insurance card? A bus card? A library card? 32 partially stamped coffee cards? Now you want a credit card, too? Well, alrighty then! BUT FIRST! Allow me to explain exactly what a credit card is. It’s a convenient way of paying that makes it easy to buy things. Useful things! Or… not. But as the saying goes, money doesn’t grow on cards. So, when you use a credit card, you’re promising to pay the money back later. The good news? If you pay everything you owe each month, you won’t have to pay interest. But the bad news? If you don’t, and you buy more than you can afford, and you get into debt, You’ll end up paying credit card fees, like interest. Still game? Great! Here’s what you have to do. Before shopping with your credit card, you have to shop around. For your credit card. First things first: you need to know how old you are. If you’re not 18, you can’t have a card. But don’t cry! Parents can add someone under 18 to their accounts. Thing is they’re still responsible for all the
money owed on the card and any fees. But if you’re at least 18 years old, you can
get your own card. Compare credit fees, membership fees, if they apply and annual fees, if they apply. Once you’ve made your choice,
fill in the application form and if it’s approuved, Voilà! You’ve got a card! At the end of every month, you’ll get a lot of newsletters and an email with your
credit card statement. Unsubscribe from a few of them, open your credit card statement and… READ IT! Inside, you’ll see a list of all your purchases and… what you owe. If you spent wisely, you won’t fall off your chair. You have at least 21 days to pay what you owe. And this is where you’ve got a choice to make. One, you can pay it all off, go grab a coffee, whistling away, and ask for another coffee card because you forgot yours again. Or two, you can pay off only part of
what you owe, as long as it’s the minimum amount indicated. For example, 5% of what you owe. But, since you won’t have paid off everything before the due date, … hello fees. And fees cost money! For example: you’ve got a credit card with a 20% interest rate and you owe $2,000. Now, if every month you only pay the minimum amount it’ll take you 8 years to pay off the $2,000. And you’ll have paid an extra $945.32 in interest. Ouch! Maybe your credit limit was too high. What? Oops, I guess I forgot to explain that part. Your credit limit is the maximum amount you can spend on your card. Even if your credit card company offers to increase it, try to maintain a credit limit that fits
your needs … and that you can afford. The Office de la protection du consommateur reminds you if you want to be a smart shopper: take time to think before making a purchase, get information about your rights from reliable sources and exercise those rights. If you’ve got questions or doubts or feel lost, help is just a click away.