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Consumer Rights and Debt


Getting a Credit Card

You must be 19 years old to get a credit card in BC. Credit cards are convenient, but they can lead to money problems if you don’t use them cautiously. Credit cards are NOT free money. They simply provide temporary credit that must be paid back – the sooner, the better.

There are a lot of credit cards out there. To find the right one for you, consider:

  • the interest rates, service fees, cost of the card and minimum monthly payments
  • what your credit limit will be
  • whether the card offers any bonus features like rewards points or car purchase insurance
  • how often you expect to use the card
  • whether or not you really need the card

Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions in the credit card contract. Before you sign the agreement, you should know the interest rate, if there are annual fees and if there are minimum monthly payments. Here are some additional tips to help you manage credit cards:

  • Keep track of what you purchase with your credit card and where and check your monthly billing statements to make sure that all the charges on it are for purchases that you made. This will help you monitor your spending and avoid fraud.
  • Pay the full balance on your credit card when you receive your bill or make your minimum payments on time to avoid credit problems.
  • Only use your credit card if you are sure that you will be able to repay the balance.

Used wisely, your credit card will help you build a good credit history that will help you when you apply for a mortgage or a loan. On the other hand, if you are late or miss your monthly payments, this can hurt your future access to credit.

If you lose a credit card or if you suspect that someone else is using it for unauthorized purchases, call the credit card company immediately. Cancel the credit card.