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FINANCIAL EDUCATION - US National Credit Education Week 2006 reminds consumers that financial literacy counts and that money management habits can be improved.

(Tuesday September 12, ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection)

September 18-23, credit and collection professionals across the nation will team up to participate in National Credit Education Week. This annual event is a public service campaign to remind consumers about the importance of financial literacy and how developing good money management habits now will benefit their fiscal health and peace of mind in the future.

The campaign is coordinated by ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA). This year's theme is Play Your Cards Right: Don't Gamble With Your Credit.

"In the game of personal finance, consumers hold the cards," said ACA CEO Gary Rippentrop. "It's a game we all play as consumers. But you might be surprised to find that using credit doesn't have to be a gamble. If you know the rules and understand how our modern credit system works, you can use it as a positive tool for accomplishing your financial goals."

During the week, ACA members and other financial organizations will hold a variety of events to bring the message of financial literacy to their communities. Consumers are also encouraged to participate by visiting the campaign Web site,

Featured in the 2006 campaign are a series of gaming-themed tips to help consumers play their cards right:

* Always Bet on Black. Budget carefully so your checkbook stays in the
black. Don't live beyond your means. If you're spending more than
you're making each month, you may be able to get by for a while on
credit. But if this pattern continues, it will only be a matter of time
before you go bust.

* Never Go "All-In." You know that exceeding your credit limit results in
a hefty fee. But were you aware that running a tab close to your limit
on any credit line makes prospective creditors nervous, and is reflected
in your score? Determine your limit on each account and try to keep the
balance under 50 percent of it. This will prevent your score from being
docked and will help you avoid over-limit fees.

* Build Up a Bankroll. Make sure to "pay yourself first." Open a savings
account and put away a little something every pay period, no matter how
little that amount might be. Even $5 or $10 a month can add up
surprisingly fast. And, most importantly, you'll be establishing a good
habit that will benefit you beyond the dollars and cents.

* Always Double Down. If you carry a balance on a credit card, make sure
to pay more than the minimum payment each month. If possible, take the
minimum amount and double it. Doing this consistently will help you
reduce debt and save big on interest.

* Think Twice Before You Vouch for a Friend. You've worked hard and
established a good credit history, now someone wants you to get them in
the door? Cosigning a loan for a friend or relative can have negative
implications to your own credit. Even if you have no intention of
making the payments, the debt will be counted against you when you apply
for new accounts. Worst of all, if your buddy defaults on the loan,
you're on the hook for the balance. It's best to avoid cosigning

* Learn How to Spot a Grifter. Identity thieves would love to get their
hands on your personal information and cheat their way through the game.
You can protect yourself from identity theft by placing a freeze on your
credit report, handling your mail conscientiously and checking your
credit history at least once a year.

* Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em. Your credit score rewards
you for having well-established, long-running lines of credit. Think
carefully before you close an older account with a clean history of
timely payments. Are you merely folding to take advantage of a low rate
introductory offer? If you take the new card, consider keeping the old
one active by charging a couple small items and paying them off each

* Know When to Walk (to your local credit counselor), Know When to Run.
Nobody has all the answers, so don't hesitate to get some help if you
run into trouble. A community-based consumer credit counseling service
is a reputable non-profit organization that provides help with all
things "credit." It can assist you in developing a budget, reading your
credit report or paying down debt.

For more information about National Credit Education Week or to find an event near you, visit or contact ACA at +1(952) 928-8000, ext. 714, or

ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together more than 6,000 members worldwide, including third-party collection agencies, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. The association establishes ethical standards, produces a wide variety of products, services and publications, and articulates the value of the credit and collection industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers. For more information about ACA International, visit

ID: 38526
Author(s): iff
Publication date: 12/09/06

ACA International

National Credit Education week

Created: 13/09/06. Last changed: 26/02/08.
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