Special Edition: 51 Ways to Save Hundreds on Loans and Credit Cards

A Message to Readers

You probably think of loans and credit cards as ways to borrow money and buy things. And of course, you’re right about that. But given the astounding array of credit-related services available today, with their varying degrees of complexity and costs, it’s smart to think of mortgages, credit cards and auto loans as tangible items that you should research and compare before you buy, and then use with care.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation wants to help you reap the benefits of loans and credit cards at the lowest possible costs. That’s why this special edition of our quarterly FDIC Consumer News is a collection of 51 simple, practical tips and other guidance that can help you save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

In this special edition you’ll find ideas and information on topics such as how to: get the best possible interest rates on loans and credit cards; avoid paying unnecessary fees; find “emergency” loans at affordable prices; and steer clear of credit-related rip-offs and scams.

At the FDIC, we not only help keep your money safe in insured bank accounts, we also want to help you keep more of your money.

Simple strategies for cutting costs any time

  • Cutting Your Costs: Simple Strategies for Saving Money on Loans and Credit Cards
    • Pay Your Bills on Time
    • Don’t Have Too Many Credit Cards
    • Check Your Credit Report for Accuracy
    • Periodically Review Your Existing Loans and Credit Cards
    • Compare Products Offered by Banks and Credit Cards
    • Focus on Long-Term Cost
    • Take Advantage of the Internet
    • Read the Fine Print
    • Don’t Pay for Expensive Insurance Coverage
    • Avoid or Limit Interest Charges
    • Avoid Late-Payment Fees
    • Closely Review Account Statements
    • Don’t be Afraid to Ask for a Break
    • Use a Reputable Counseling Service when in Serious Debt
    • Don’t be Afraid to Complain
  • Refinancing: Tips for Mortgages and Other Credit
    • Know When Refinancing Makes Sense
    • Be Smart About Dropping One Credit Card for Another
    • Consider Refinancing Auto Loan
    • Consolidating Student Loans
  • Borrower Beware: How to Avoid Fraudulent or Deceptive Deals
    • Predatory Loans
    • Credit Repair Scams
    • Mortgage Foreclosure Frauds
    • Credit Card Fraud

Special Tips

  • Taking Charge of Your Credit Cards
    • Plan to Pay the Balance in Full Each Month
    • Save the Card Disclosures
    • Be Aware of Billing Practices
    • Know Your Credit Limit
  • Home Loans: How to Keep Costs from Going Through the Roof
    • Negotiate Rates and Terms
    • Consider Fixed Rate
    • Higher Costs with Litte Documentation
    • Pay Off Mortgage Sooner Than Later
    • Save Money on Insurance
    • Look for Government Incentives
    • Borrowing Money from Home’s Value Risky
  • Auto Loans: Take Control of the Financing Before You Take Control of the Wheel
    • Shop on the Internet First
    • How Much Can You Afford
    • Consider Getting Pre-Qualified
    • Understand the Costs and Risks
  • When You Need Money Fast: Sources of Affordable Cash
    • Build Your Own Rainy Day Fund
    • Comparison Shop for Loans
    • Ask About Linking Your Account
    • Check other Options for Emergencies
  • Paying for College … the Smart Way
    • Try to Save and Not Borrow
    • Research Loan Options
    • Think Before Borrowing Against Your Home or Retirement
    • Shop for Good Price on a College
    • Youth is Not an Excuse for Defaulting on a Loan
  • Financing a Small Business: Saving Money to Help Your Company Grow
    • Borrow with a Business Loan
    • Consider an SBA-Guaranteed Loan
    • Research Local Small Business Loan Programs
    • Shop Around for Good Deals
    • Develop a Relationship with a Banker
    • Keep Your Own Credit Record in Good Shape
    • Learn Tips on Saving Money From Experts

FDIC Consumer News is published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDIC Consumer News is produced quarterly by the FDIC Office of Public Affairs in cooperation with other Divisions and Offices. It is intended to present information in a nontechnical way and is not intended to be a legal interpretation of FDIC or other government regulations and policies. Mention of a product, service or company does not constitute an endorsement.

Find current and past issues of FDIC Consumer News at http://www.fdic.gov/consumernews. Refer to this same index to locate the issues that are specially formatted for being reprinted in any quantity.

To receive an e-mail notice about each new issue of FDIC Consumer News posted on the FDIC Web site, with links to stories, follow instructions posted at www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.

Related Consumer Finance Programs – The following lists of companies and financial service providers offer services to assist you with handling your debts. Combine debt with a consolidation loan or use a credit counseling or debt relief program for help with lowering your payments and getting your credit card bills and other obligations under control.

  • Debt Management Credit Counseling – Too many credit bills for you to handle with your budget? Compare different programs and find the one that is the right match for your individual situation.
  • Debt Settlement Service – If you have too many credit cards and other small debts and are unable to make your payments, this form of debt negotiation may be right for you.
  • Personal Loan Financing – This type of lending is most often structured as an unsecured debt. This means your personal property or house will not used as collateral. Your approval (or denial) will usually be based upon your payment / credit history and your ability to repay the loan. This type of credit is also often called a signature loan.

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