As of October 2012, the average household had £5,934 in outstanding debt, excluding mortgages (Including mortgages, the figure rises to £53,912.), much of it from credit cards, according to the money education charity CreditAction. For most people, that amount of debt will require a plan to repay that will cover a period of years.
An important resource to begin getting debt under control is the credit card statement you receive every month. At a glance, you will be able to see how much you owe, how much interest you're being charged and any fees that may apply, important information that can spur you to begin lowering your debt and better manage your credit accounts.
Improved Credit Card Statements
The UK Cards Association and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the leading trade association for the card payments industry, recently developed new annual statements. In addition to being able to review their account activity every month, cardholders will now be able to examine a 12-month report on the anniversary of the account opening that will include every transaction made with the card including point-of-sale purchases, cash advances and interest, fees and other charges incurred for each type of transaction.
An Easier Way to Manage Multiple Accounts
While the effort and time it takes to review a monthly and annual report on one account is a simple task, most people juggle multiple accounts. Establishing a budget could help alleviate the confusion that can arise when various types of accounts need to be paid by a specific date with a limited amount of income. But a more convenient way to manage multiple accounts is by using financial management software that offers all the tools you need to better manage your money like that provided by Money Dashboard.
Money Dashboard is designed for individuals who want better control of their finances by being able to access their account information from a single secure place where they can be easily maintained and updated. Being able to see every account at a glance will put you in an excellent position to make important financial decisions and plan a detailed, realistic budget. Money Dashboard offers the opportunity to analyze comprehensive, easy to understand graphs created with your personal data that can help you to:
- Review all accounts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Establish, monitor and revise your budget, whenever you wish
- Track spending; pinpoint poor spending habits
- Identify activities that incur penalty fees
- See current balances and transactions, refreshed daily
- Distinguish spending categories, i.e. business, personal, taxes, etc.
- Examine other types of transactions, like foreign purchases, balance transfers, cash advances, etc.
The Importance of Review Credit Reports
The opportunity to discover problems will more likely come from reviewing your monthly statements and credit reports. Everyone who borrows money, regardless of the form, be it from a bank loan, mortgage, auto loan, credit card, etc., has a report compiled by a credit reference agency. How bills have been managed will be reflected in the reports; the better you manage the task, the higher your credit rating will be; the higher your credit rating the more opportunities you'll have to borrow in the future. Pay an obligation more than 30 days late and it will end up on your credit reports and possibly have a negative effect on your ability to be approved for additional credit. Every citizen has the legal right to view his or her credit reports annually for free. Visit Experian and/or Equifax and request your copies today.
A thorough exam of your credit reports, monthly and annual statements, in addition to having all the other benefits of a Money Dashboard account and you will have a vast array of information to assist you in becoming debt free and developing better money management habits. While the new 12-month reports are a nice addition to the standard, Money Dashboard has provided these types of reports and more long before the association put them in place. If you're looking to stay ahead of the curve, they are the ones you want to be connected to. It's always best to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to fighting identity theft and fraud. These tools and methods provide some of the best possible protections to do just that.
About The Author: Noreen Ruth is a regular contributor to ASAPCreditCard.com and a variety of financial-related blogs and websites. Click the link for additional information on credit reports and monitoring, or follow her additional posts on the ASAP Credit Card Blog. Get updates on the latest credit card news and find useful tips to help you build, improve and maintain good credit.