While many consider what consumer credit will get them, few consider the responsibilities of consumer credit. With the credit card default rate at more than 13 percent as of April 2010, according to Entrust California, consumers would do well to consider their responsibilities as well as their purchasing possibilities. This will help you avoid some of the worst consequences of consumer credit -- crippling debt and a poor credit rating.
First and foremost, you have a responsibility to repay any money you borrow or charge. Failure to do so has far-ranging consequences. Your credit report may be damaged for up to seven years after you default on your consumer credit. As a result, you may be denied further credit, rental applications or even job placement in some circumstances.
Your bills will mount as interest charges as well as late and over-limit fees accumulate. Creditors also have the prerogative to sue you in court. In the event you have a judgment levied against you, your creditors have the option to pursue a writ of garnishment. This results in your bills directly deducted from your wages.
You have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about your credit. Before using any consumer credit you have access to, you should be aware of the terms and conditions of your credit. Once you have consumer credit, you should be aware of your credit rating and any activity on your credit report. This will help you to catch any identity theft before it becomes a bigger problem. While there are protections for people against identity thieves who misuse your credit and trash your credit report, it is often times far easier to deal with unauthorized credit activity at an early stage. While your credit card company may inform you of any misuse of your account, ultimately the responsibility is on you.
Consumer credit comes with limits. This is true if you have just taken out a bank loan or if you are getting a credit card. Chances are, however, that you do not want to come close to your limits, let alone reach them. You can set your own limits by calling your credit card company and asking them to lower your limits. You can also self-impose limits by not using the credit card for anything that you cannot pay off in a certain number of months, with the exception of emergency spending. No one can ultimately control your spending but you.