All posts by TheDSEF

Credit Cards: Understanding Your Rights

Credit Cards: Understanding Your Rights

Credit cards. They can be a real convenience. Yet they can also help unwary consumers drive up debt that is hard to escape. If you are a credit card user, it’s important to use your credit card wisely, and also understand your rights, in order to protect your credit rating and live the lifestyle you choose.

Using Credit Cards Wisely

When choosing a credit card, it’s important to check the interest rate that will be charged. When you do not pay the full amount of your bill within the billing cycle (around 30 days), you are charged a percentage of that amount on top of the amount owed. This can really add up each month, so be sure that you understand how much more you will pay for the same purchase.

For example, if you are purchasing a $1000 item with your credit card, and only pay $10 towards that amount each month, and your card charges 10% interest each month, you will pay $1159 extra in interest, and it will take you 18 years to pay off that item. Is it really worth it? You might be better off just putting money aside each month until you have enough to purchase the item outright.

You can check out your own purchases using a credit card calculator online, such as this one.

Understanding Your Rights

Credit card companies also have obligations when it comes to lending through credit cards. Some things you should know:

  • Your credit card company must inform you, in writing, 45 days before raising your interest rate. They must also tell you how to cancel your card as part of that notification.
  • You must receive your statement at least 21 days before the payment is due.
  • Interest rates cannot be increased during the first 12 months that you have a credit card.
  • Promotional rates must last 6 months.
  • Your bank can increase your interest rate if your payment is more than 30 days late.

These and other rights are included in this PowerPoint that you can download titled “Credit Card Act of 2009 and You.

Know Your Credit Score

Your ability to get a credit card with a low interest rate is determined by your credit score.  It’s important to review your credit report regularly, to ensure that everything on it is accurate. This will help you make better decisions.

How do you protect your credit score? How do you teach your kids to use credit wisely? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Why Supporting the DSEF Matters: Guest Post by Jen Fong

Why Supporting the DSEF Matters: Guest Post by Jen Fong

When I served as president of a direct selling company, my first introduction to the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) was at a DSA Annual Meeting. Doris Christopher, founder of The Pampered Chef, unveiled the Ethics videos they’d just produced, and asked us to support the DSEF. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what the DSEF did, but, heck, Doris Christopher is kind of an icon for me, and I wrote my check.

And I really didn’t think about the DSEF much beyond that. I wrote my check each year at the DSA Annual Meeting after a moving presentation, and that was it.

And then this year, the DSEF approached me about helping with their social media strategy. And I got a chance to participate in some of their events with outside stakeholders, meet the passionate staff, interview some of their partners at colleges, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Women’s Business Centers, and more.

The stories I heard were remarkable. Stories about giving women a chance to make it because they learned about direct selling through DSEF’s partnerships with Women’s Business Centers. About students who never understood direct selling before, but after attending a Girl’s Night Out or Campus Days event realized that they might one day want to own their own business. About women who got free financial information as a result of the programs that the DSEF supported, which helped them make wiser decisions about their money. And it made me even more passionate about telling the DSEF story through social media.

Because you see, the DSEF has quietly, behind the scenes, been serving the public for nearly 40 years. They’ve been advocates for women’s empowerment. They’ve defended the rights of consumers. They’ve helped college students learn about why direct selling is a great entrepreneurial option. And throughout this work, they’ve also produced some remarkable resources that direct sellers can use to build their businesses in an ethical way.

Here are just some of the resources they’ve shared to date:

Pretty remarkable, right? The work they’ve done on behalf of the industry is enormous. And they’re not even CLOSE to done.

So this year, I encourage every direct selling company to be generous in their support of the DSEF. Tell your salesforce to go get the amazing resources they’re sharing through their FacebookTwitter, and YouTube accounts. They need your support to continue showing the world that direct selling is an ethical, legitimate option. They need your support to stand up for consumer protection, ethics education, women’s empowerment, and more.

They make you look good. They help the public understand that you’re NOT a pyramid scheme, but instead a legitimate business opportunity. They provide 3rd party resources that help your salespeople show how ethical you really are.

Companies can support the DSEF. And so can individuals. I encourage you to support the DSEF right now. Click here to donate.

It matters.

Jennifer Fong is a corporate consultant and speaker who teaches direct selling companies and individual direct sellers how to use social media effectively as a business building tool. She is also the author of the blog, Direct Sales and Social Media, which is read by thousands of people in direct sales from around the world.