Credit 101

5 Credit Rules Everyone Should Follow

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4. Understand the terms and conditions associated with all your loans

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Terms and conditions vary from product to product, so it’s important to read through every single loan or credit card contract before you go ahead and sign on the dotted line. According to Brent Neiser, senior director at the National Endowment for Financial Education, you should be sure to check what interest rates are being offered and when they will be applied. You also want to thoroughly read through fee structures so you have a good sense of the costs associated with each line of credit.

Additionally, ask “what are the incentives?” Neiser says.

If you’ve haven’t combed through a contract before accepting a loan, you will need to ultimately make time to read through the fine print. Riley also suggests printing out contracts and keeping them in a “safe, secure place” so they can be easily accessed should you encounter an issue.

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