How Ohio College Students can Better Manage Checking Accounts and Credit Cards while in College
Are you a student at Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Sinclair Community College, or one of the other excellent schools in the Buckeye State? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ve over-drafted your checking account or been late with a credit card bill at least once. That is, if the results of a recent study conducted by personal finance site NerdWallet are accurate. Unfortunately, if you’re a repeat offender, all of these overdraft fees and late payment penalties can add up.
Think about it. Instead of using this money to pay unnecessary fees, you could be putting it into a savings account for use after college. You could even put the cash toward your student loans so that you won’t go into default like so many Ohio college graduates. Also, late credit card payments can hurt your credit score. Even worse, if you default on a credit card and the account goes to debt collections, your credit score will plummet. So, if you’re struggling to keep up with payments, take immediate action to get back on track. No one wants to start their post-graduation life with bad credit.
In its 2016 study, NerdWallet found that the average college student overdrafts their checking account more than twice a year. According to the same study, one out of every three college students has paid a credit card bill late at least once. Typically, overdraft fees and late payment penalties are about $35 per offence. So, considering that there were around 11 million students enrolled in college in 2016, it’s possible that around $722 million was spent on fees last year. That’s crazy.
Ohio college students may be super smart, but they’re still making the same credit and financial mistakes that students in other states are making. Luckily, there are some simple tips to follow if you want to avoid these common banking and credit card pitfalls.
First of all, you should always know how much money is in your checking account, and never, ever, ever spend more than you have. Most checking account holders can check their statements online with their phones for free. So, it’s a good idea to start your day by having a look at your bank account. This will also help you to catch fraudulent transactions if you are the victim of identity theft. For extra protection, many banks and credit unions offer their customers low-balance text alerts. After signing up for this service, you’ll get a message every time your checking account balance hits “the danger zone.”
Using Credit Cards as Credit Building Tools
As an Ohio college student, you should always approach credit cards with caution. This isn’t to say, though, that you should avoid using them altogether. After all, using credit responsibly is the only way to build good credit. Emphasis, of course should be placed on the word responsibly. Ideally, you should never charge more than you can afford to pay off every month. Carrying credit card balances over from month to month means having to pay interest charges and puts you in danger of building up debt. Keeping your balances low is also important. If, at any time, you’re using more than 50% of your available credit, your credit score can drop even if you’re making every payment on time.
A good strategy for credit card use is to pick an expense that you have every month – like putting gas in your car. Pay for this one thing with your credit card, than pay off the balance each month. This way, you’re not spending extra money in order to build up your credit score.
Speaking of your credit score, all Ohio college students should get into the habit of regularly checking their credit reports. Again, this will help you to catch fraudulent credit activity that might be the result of identity theft. In addition, checking your credit reports will give you the opportunity to find errors that might be unnecessarily hurting your credit score. Does it surprise you that there might be mistakes on your credit reports? Don’t feel bad. Most Ohioans don’t know that about 80% of consumer credit reports contain inaccuracies of some type.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
When it comes to removing errors from your credit reports, the disputing process can seem complicated and time-consuming, especially if you’ve never dealt with the credit bureaus before. The good news is that Ohio consumers can get a FREE credit repair lawyer to help them through every step of the process.
Don’t let identity theft or errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin, P.C., we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (888)293-2882 or sending him a message through our contact page.