Getting Credit When You’re Retired
If you’re retired or over the age of 55, and wondering if you can apply for new credit, you certainly can! But first, make sure to read our tips and advice on getting credit in retirement and do your due diligence first.
Applying for Credit – Credit cannot be denied based on a person’s age, sex, race, marital status or ethnicity. Credit grantors determine credit based on an individual’s past credit history and the three C’s of credit – Character, Capital, and Capacity. Be sure to let the credit grantor know your full monthly income, this includes retirement funds, government assistance, support from children, alimony, etc.
Your Credit Rights – Everyone is guaranteed equal access to credit based solely on their past credit history. Credit grantors must clearly state any additional fees or charges in writing, while Credit Reporting Act protects credit card holders in credit disputes. If you are wrongly refused credit you should contact the Credit Bureau to find out what is on your file and have it corrected right away.
There are two types of accounts – individual and joint. An individual account is based on that particular person’s income and credit history. A joint account is based on typically you and your partner’s credit history and income.
A creditor cannot automatically close or change the conditions of your joint account when your spouse dies, instead they must ask you to reapply as an individual.
When Choosing Credit Cards
Get all terms and conditions in writing.
Understand pre-approved and low introductory offers. Some cards offer a “special low introductory offer.” Please note that often a credit card company will do this to get your initial business and then increase the interest rate within a few months.
Check the cards policies on privacy.
Shop around for the best terms available. Make sure to check on the annual percentage rate (APR), grace periods, deposits and any additional fees or charges.
Before you sign on the dotted line – Read the Fine Print
Before applying for a credit card, make sure to read the fine print.
When reading through your credit application, pay close attention to determine your annual fee and finance charges. Finance charges apply to late payments and/or exceeding your monthly balances – most cards have a minimum finance charge. Annual fees are a yearly amount that is charged to your card whether you use the card or not.
After doing all this, you may find you do not need or want that credit card!