Consumer Payment Card News

Practing Safe Credit

Credit. For consumers who don’t know how to use it safely, the risks can be great and the results financially deadly.

With consumer debt rising faster than income, and a steadily weakening economy in some parts of the country, more and more consumers are discovering the dangers involved in the game of credit. These factors, combined with the ease of obtaining credit in our society, make it more important than ever for credit professionals to educate the public on practicing safe credit and to recognize those who have avoided credit problems during these consumer-driven times.

That’s the purpose of Give Yourself Credit Week.

Sponsored by the American Collectors Association Inc., Give Yourself Credit Week is a national public service campaign running from Feb. 18-24, 1996. Throughout the week, ACA member agencies across the country will be hosting a number of community education projects designed to teach consumers about money management at a time when they need it the most — during the aftermath of holiday shopping. More past-due consumer accounts are placed with third-party debt collection businesses in March than in any other month of the year, according to ACA statistics.

Consumers who don’t want to become part of the statistic this year will receive budgeting assistance and financial guidance from debt collectors in their community during Give Yourself Credit Week. Some community events include public seminars, presentations to community groups and civic organizations, and educational activities lectures in conjunction with local high schools.

“By getting ahead of the game and teaching consumers how to maintain financial control through effective budgeting techniques and the wise use of credit, ACA agencies nationwide hope to help thousands of consumers get back on track financially, and stay there in the months to come,” ACA President Tom Haag said.

With nearly 3,700 members throughout the United States and 53 foreign countries, ACA is the world’s largest international organization of third-party debt collection businesses. ACA members employ roughly 65,000 people and serve nearly one million commercial and retail credit grantors in the United States alone.

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