I was recently looking through last year’s check registers for confirmation of a payment I had made when I noticed my handwriting on several pages looked odd. It took me a moment to realize why: at the time, my right hand was in a cast and I had been writing with my left.
Sure, debit cards look almost identical to credit cards, but they’re very different. Among the biggest differences between these products is one of the most important: Debit cards do not have an effect on your credit score.
If you have more student loan debt than you can handle, or if you’ve been paying and paying (and paying) and can’t make headway, chances are you’ve wondered about student loan forgiveness. As you look into your options, keep in mind that everything you read (or hear — even from your student loan servicer) may not be accurate. We asked experts who work with borrowers all the time to share the most common myths they hear about student loan forgiveness. Here are their top picks.
If you don’t plan to borrow money, what difference does your credit score make? Why even sweat it?
As counterintuitive as it seems, you could end up spending more money because you don’t have a credit history. (Though like any other tool, credit used irresponsibly can do more harm than good.) But let’s say you’re a responsible person who wants to avoid debt. Why isn’t it reasonable to avoid credit altogether?
There are several answers to that.
Have you heard? Millennials have the worst credit scores of any generation. The data point plays well with one of Americans’ favorite pastimes: discussing the dismal state of the nation’s youngest consumers.
Let’s say you know you want good credit, but you also know you do NOT want the most ubiquitous credit product around. No way do you want a credit card. Perhaps you follow a certain personal finance guru’s advice to avoid them. Or maybe you’ve gotten in trouble with them before and don’t want to take any chances with having one again. Whatever the reason, you don’t want to go the plastic route.
Tracy M. (he asked we not share his full name) is rebuilding his credit for the second time. It’s a long haul but despite numerous obstacles — including six-figure student loan debt that has tripled due to fees and interest — he’s not giving up.
For the most part, there’s no good reason to not check your credit score. There are so many places you can get free credit scores, so access isn’t an issue, and even though all those scores are a bit different, they can be very helpful as you make financial decisions. Checking your credit scores is so easy (you can get your free credit score right here on Credit.com), you can make it part of your personal finance routine from the start of your adult life. But that’s not what people actually do.
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