Costa Mesa, Calif., April 3, 2017 — Multiple studies have shown that consumers lack the confidence in their personal finance knowledge they need to make effective, fiscally wise decisions. Experian® supports financial education all year round, but during the month of April, we are joining the Jump$tart Coalition® to celebrate Financial Literacy Month (#FLM2017). The theme for this year’s initiative is “Creating a Financially Literate Future.” Throughout the month, Experian is providing free credit education and offering tips for consumers to better manage their credit profile.
“As technology rapidly evolves the financial industry, consumers are faced with more financial decisions than ever before,” said Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. “We play an active role in changing the dynamics of lending, so we take the responsibility of educating people very seriously. We want to help them feel confident in their decision-making. The only way to accomplish that is to ensure that effective financial education is provided throughout a person’s life.”
Here is a list of activities consumers, small-business owners and educators can participate in during the month of April:
• Experian hosts a daily #CreditChat live chat on Periscope at 3 p.m. Eastern time to answer questions about credit and money.
• Follow @Experian_US on Snapchat for daily credit tips and a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Experian.
Conferences and events
• At the Annual Conference on Financial Education in Chicago, Rod Griffin shared a glimpse of Experian’s forthcoming lesson plan on credit reports and credit scores. The teaching resources will be provided free to teachers to help them educate students about the importance of building good credit and how to do so.
• On April 6, Alex Lintner, Experian’s president of Consumer Information Services, will discuss the future of financial services and how Experian is innovating for the consumer at the Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy’s annual partner meeting.
• Griffin will travel abroad April 19 to 22 with the Heroes at Home organization to teach American airmen and their families about managing, building and protecting their credit during events at key European Air Force bases.
• Closing out Financial Literacy Month, Griffin will present the “Credit Reporting Roadmap,” explaining unique credit and credit reporting issues faced by U.S. consumers abroad, during the Americans Working Around the Globe Annual volunteer conference, April 23 to 28 in Germany.
“Helping families across the country improve their financial literacy is a big task, but we’ve made — and will continue to make — great strides by working collaboratively with our many and diverse partners, like Experian, this April and throughout the year,” said Laura Levine, president and CEO, Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.
Here are some tried and true tips from Rod Griffin to help consumers improve their credit history:
• Review your credit report regularly — Your personal credit report is an easy-to-read record of your credit accounts and total indebtedness. Be sure to obtain a copy of your credit report once every 12 months (and especially before major purchases) and dispute any information you believe is inaccurate. You can request a copy of your report directly from Experian or once every year from Annual Credit Report.
• Check your credit score — Credit scores can play an important role in your financial journey. They translate the information in your credit report into a number reflecting the risk of doing business with you. To check your risk, request a credit score when you order your credit report. You will receive an explanation of what the score means and which details from your credit report are most affecting it.
• Keep your utilization rate low — Your utilization rate, or balance-to-limit ratio, should never exceed 30 percent of the credit limit. Your total credit card balances should never be more than 30 percent of your total credit card limits, and you don’t want any one card to have a balance of more than 30 percent of its limit. Both can hurt you. Remember, 30 percent isn’t a goal; it’s the maximum your balances should ever be. The lower your utilization rate, the better.
• If you have missed payments, get current and stay current — Late payments, called delinquencies, may have a major negative impact on credit scores. To see the fastest improvement in your scores, catch up on late payments and pay down your balances. Late payments are the most important indicator of credit risk, so they have the greatest and longest-lasting impact. The more recently the missed payment occurred, the greater that impact will be, and the more missed payments you have, the longer it will take to recover. If you fall behind on your payments, contact your lenders to see if they can improve the terms of your debts.
Throughout April, the Financial Literacy Month campaign will encourage individuals to take the time to think and talk about their own money matters and to take full advantage of resources designed to improve their financial literacy and well-being.
Experian Public Relations
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Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers — we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
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