FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The race to make a list and check it twice has officially begun. Experts
are predicting U.S. consumers will be spending 4 percent more over the
holidays than they did last year. Apple
Federal Credit Union, which has 22 branches throughout Northern
Virginia, released tips on getting through that holiday shopping list
without marring credit and incurring big debt.
“Accounting giant Deloitte predicts that the average household in the
U.S. will spend more than $1,200 this holiday season,” says Jeffery
Long, CPA, Chief Lending Officer at Apple Federal Credit Union. “That
means consumers will need to be savvy to get everything on their lists
and not end up spending months paying it off or potentially damaging
their credit. What some don’t realize is that poor credit does not just
impact your ability to get a loan, but even rent an apartment or acquire
insurance at good rates.”
Following these shopping tips from Apple
Federal Credit Union will help consumers keep the holidays merry:
Don’t Get Lured in with the Small Store Discounts. Stores
attract customers to their credit cards through special deals and
discounts. But beware that the 10 percent discount you get at the
checkout counter for signing up for the store credit card often comes
with sky-high interest rates, as the average retail card APR has risen
for the third straight year to 24.99 percent, compared to the average
general-purpose credit card APR of 16.15 percent. In addition, your
credit score can take a hit for applying, even if you cancel it the
Beware of the Time Limits on Deferred-Interest Deals. These
deals allow customers to avoid interest entirely if a purchase is paid
in full during an allotted time frame. But if the balance isn’t paid
off in full by the promotion end-date, the cardholder is hit with
interest charges on the entire purchase, dating back to the original
purchase date. If the payments are made on schedule, these can be good
deals, but know the terms and penalties.
Set a Plan to Pay Off Your Cards. If you owe a balance on more
than one account, choosing an amount each month and divvying it up
equally among accounts is not advisable. The same goes for paying just
the minimum amount due on your accounts. Instead, pay off the highest
interest-rate card first. Get rid of the debt that is costing you the
most as soon as possible. But be sure to maintain on-time minimum
payments on your other accounts.
Be Aware of the Limited Promotional Period to Transfer Balances.
Balance transfers can be an efficient way to pay off debt using a
lower or zero interest rate card. But know that they come with a
limited promotional period. Refrain from using the new card for
additional spending without paying off the original balance before the
introductory period expires. Also, remember you will be charged a
transfer fee so do the math and ensure it’s still a good deal.
Remember that Rewards are for Cardholders Who Don’t Carry a
Balance. Consumers who use credit cards and pay them off over a
few months should not play the credit card rewards game. Card APRs
average 16.24 percent on rewards cards and 16.4 percent on cash back
cards, according to CreditCards.com’s
most recent interest rate report. Paying a month of interest negates
the value of any rewards you accrue. Paying more in interest than
you’re earning in rewards is a losing proposition.
To learn more, visit www.AppleFCU.org.
About Apple Federal Credit Union
As an organization, Apple FCU strives to improve lives and fulfill the
dreams of our members. We believe this mission applies to the financial
success of our members, as well as our efforts to increase opportunities
for those within the community.