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Cost of Credit

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A calculator next to a stack of envelopes and some change.

Most people don’t have the money on hand to buy a home, car, or other major purchase, so many of us borrow it. Credit is a convenience, and it usually costs something to use it.

The cost of credit depends on:

  • Your credit history
    Your credit history shows your ability and willingness to repay a debt. It is determined by how prompt and reliable you have been in making past credit payments. A good credit history may help you get credit at a lower cost.

  • From whom you borrow
    Credit costs will vary from lender to lender. Before you borrow, compare the costs at several places. Don’t forget to look at the cost of annual fees, late payment fees and over-limit fees. Your credit union is a source of low-cost loans.
  • How much you borrow
    At any interest rate, borrowing a smaller amount of money will result in a lower overall credit cost to you. So, a larger down payment lowers the total amount you will have to pay in finance charges.
  • How long you take to repay it 
    The longer you take to repay your debt, the more interest you will pay. Try to take the shortest repayment period you are able, and make the highest monthly payments you can safely afford.

As you decide to use credit, be aware of the real cost of an item. It may be a combination of the actual price, any interest charges you pay on the purchase over time, and any fees that may be associated with the transaction.

When you use credit, it’s important to manage your debt responsibly. It may help lower the cost of your credit in the future and protect your credit rating.

  • Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.
  • Keep track of your charges and don't exceed your credit limit to avoid over-limit fees.
  • Make payments that are more than the minimum amount due.
  • Report any change of address prior to moving so you receive bills promptly.

Savings services from VACU can help you prepare for your long-term plans — or an unexpected expense.