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Good credit a must for later in life

March 21, 1997

By Grace Jeon

Lariat Reporter

Statistics show the first credit card you get is the one you keep the longest, said Rebecca Moore, personal banking officer for MBNA America Bank, Wednesday at the first annual credit seminar sponsored by the Student Alumni Alliance.

Maintaining a good credit standing is important, Moore said, because 'what you do now paves your way for the future.'

Banks consider credit reports when reviewing applications for car loans, mortgages and credit lines, according to a MBNA pamphlet on credit cards.

Employees and landlords use credit reports to review applicants and their credit history.

To maintain a good credit history, Moore urged students to make payments on time and to always pay the minimum amount required.

Moore also stressed the importance of writing the same name each time on applications, because there are instances when there is confusion in one's credit history because of the switching of names.

It is also important for credit card holders to alert creditors promptly when moving or if there is trouble paying bills, Moore said.

Under the federal law you have the right to review your credit report, which can be obtained from credit bureaus for a fee of $8.

Creditors recommend cardholders request for a report at the beginning of each year, Moore said, and if there is inaccurate information, they can be corrected by a credit bureau at no charge.

'They will side with the side of the consumers, not the merchants,' Moore said, 'so it is in your best interest' to protect your credit report.

It is the responsibility of cardholders to know that information on late payments remain in your report for up to seven years and bankruptcy information for up to 10 years, according to the credit bureau pamphlet.

To remain in good credit standing, cardholders should review the terms and conditions of their card, Moore said.

She emphasized the the importance for credit card users to not exceed the credit limit.

'Know your limit,' Moore said.

Along with a credit line that comes with your plastic card, credit cards house a magnetic strip with all information about your account, Moore said.

It is also the responsibility of cardholders to protect their cards from fraud, Moore said.

Moore advised cardholders to sign their credit cards, keep a separate record of credit card numbers and their card issuer's phone number and draw a line through all the blank spaces on receipts.

For more information, contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service at 1-800-338-CCCS.

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