The fall issue of the quarterly Consumer News newsletter published by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) includes a money guide for young adults and teenage children. Topics include:
- Choosing and using an account for everyday banking;
- Mobile banking by smart phone;
- Avoiding mistakes with credit cards;
- Building a good credit record;
- Obtaining and repaying student loans;
- Getting a good deal on an auto loan;
- Recovering from debt or bill-payment problems;
- Saving money to meet specific goals, made easier with the help of automated services; and
- Guarding against fraud, including identity theft.
Congress created the FDIC in 1933. The agency insures deposits at the nation's 7,181 banks and savings associations. It ensures the soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks. The FDIC is funded by fees it charges to the banks its oversees.
The section of the guide about how to avoid costly mistakes with credit cards includes sound advice:
"1. Read the fine print. Before you apply for a credit card, read all the terms and conditions... 2. You can avoid fees by being aware of your card’s credit limit. If you want your credit card issuer to permit transactions over your credit limit to go through, you must notify your lender that you want that service in advance and will pay the resulting fees... 3. Try to pay the entire balance in full and on time every month. That way, you will avoid interest charges and save money... 4. Think twice before applying for more credit cards. Special promotions, such as low introductory rates or discounts on purchases, make it tempting to apply for additional credit cards. But every time you apply for a card, it appears on your credit report. Multiple applications (called “inquiries” on a credit report) or new cards opened within a short time period can lower your credit score... 5. Take advantage of automated alerts from your card issuer. Many lenders and other companies can send customers messages by cell phone or e-mail, such as payment reminders, balance notifications to let you know if you’re close to your credit limit..."
The section about online banking with your smart phone includes several valuable tips:
"1. Ask your bank about the mobile banking services it offers and how much they may cost... 2. Understand your potential liability for unauthorized transactions... 3. Also be aware that the funds you place on a prepaid card may or may not be protected by FDIC insurance if the bank that holds the money (for you and other customers) were to fail... 4. As with any activity conducted online, keep security in mind. Protect your mobile device with a password that is hard for others to guess. Don’t lend your smartphone to others... Quickly report any unauthorized transactions or other suspicious activity."