Managing Your Credit Cards with Help from the Federal Reserve

I bet you didn't know that the Federal Reserve can help you manage and understand your credit cards. For most people the Federal Reserve was one of those institutions that they vaguely understand has a great deal to do with money but they're not sure exactly how. In fact the Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of our country and defines its role as to conduct the nation's monetary policy, supervise and regulate banking institutions, maintain the stability of the financial system and provide financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions. One of the ways it does that is by helping the consumer by acting as a resource. To that effect the Federal Reserve has created an interactive website, a consumer's guide to credit cards to help you: http://www.federalreserve.gov/creditcard/#

Federal Reserve seal
Federal Reserve seal

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The website contains helpful interactive tools and features. One tool can help you decipher the terms and fees of any credit card offers that you receive to determine whether the credit card offer is something you are willing to accept. Another tool also helps you to understand the monthly statement that you get from your credit card account. I have found their Credit Card Repayment Calculator a wonderful planning tool. Just plug in your total credit card balance and your interest rate and it'll tell you what your minimum payment would be and how long it would take you to pay off your balance at that rate. If you want to pay it off sooner, the calculator will tell you what your monthly payments should be; and if you want to pay a specific amount each month, the calculator will tell you the time-frame that you will settle your debt.

The website also has a section that will give you some great information on the types of credit cards available, annual percentage rates (APR), the different types of credit card fees, what to do in the case of billing errors, lost or stolen cards, or filing complaints against your credit card company. In addition the website has a glossary for all those financial terms that you find in your offers or account statements. There's a section on credit protection laws as well that can be a helpful guide if you think your credit card company has done something shady. More importantly, bookmark this website as some major changes to credit card rules come into effect in the future so that you will have the details to understand how the changes will affect you and your decision to keep a credit card. Overall this website is a great resource for consumers who need help with their personal finances and managing credit card debt.

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