Consumer credit

  1. Influences on consumers
  2. The Cost of Credit
  3. Tips on Writing a Consumer Letter of Complaint
  4. UNIT 11. Advertising and the Consumer
  5. UNIT 20. Credit
  6. UNIT 23. Costly Credit Arrangements

Consumer credit provides cash, goods or services now, While spreading repayment into the future. In this way credit enables you to enjoy your purchase even before you have paid for it. But there are two important strings attached to every credit purchase: credit costs something, and the principal, The original amount borrowed, must be paid back. If you are thinking of borrowing money or buying something on credit, you will want to know how much this credit will cost you and weather or not you can afford it. Then you can shop for the best terms.

Credit costs vary from one lender to another, so it pays to shop before you sign anything. Federal law requires that the lender tell you the total finance chargesand the annual percentage rateor APR.

The finance chargeis the total amount you pay to use credit. It includes interest costs and any other fees (such as service charges and insurance) that the seller or lender may be entitled to add to the loan.

The annual percentage rateor APR isthe cost of credit calculated as a percent on an annual basis.

Credit has its advantages and disadvantages. The principal advantages of credit are:

Immediate possession.Credit enables us to enjoy goods and services immediately that we might otherwise have had to do without or postpone.

Flexibility.Credit allows us to time our purchases so as to take advantage of sale items or other bargains even when our funds are low.

Safety.Credit cards provide a safe and convenient means of carrying our purchasing power with us while we are shopping or traveling.

Emergency funds.Credit gives us a cushion in an emergency (like an automobile breakdown when money is needed to get back on the road).

Character reference.The regular payment of bills is recorded in a person's credit history, and this record can be used as a character reference.

Here are some of the disadvantages of buying on credit:

Overspending.Sometimes credit cards make it too easyto spend money. Then, as the debts mounts, it is often difficult to make the necessary monthly payments.

Higher cost.It usually costs more to buy on credit than for cash. One reason is that stores offering credit often charge more than those that sell only for cash. Another is that interest or other charges are often added to the cost of goods sold on credit.



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