Get Smart About Credit

At American Trust we feel we have a responsibility to make sure you are informed about our banking products so you can make the best decisions regarding your finances. Here's a little refresher on understanding and using credit. When you're considering credit, feel free to contact any of our experienced lenders. They are happy to help you determine which type of loan best fits your needs.

  • Installment loans give you a lump sum of money up front which is repayable in steady monthly payments at predetermined repayment terms such as a fixed rate of interest. Car loans and mortgages are installment loans.
  • Lines of credit allow you to borrow money up to a certain amount any time you want and usually offer flexible repayment terms. Credit cards offer a line of credit. With these types of credit the maximum amount you can borrow, or credit limit, is based upon your credit score, income, and other factors which determine your ability to repay.
  • Secured credit is backed by property you own and the creditor has the right to take that property in lieu of payment if you fail to repay as promised. Secured credit is usually less expensive than unsecured credit. Home equity loans are secured credit loans.
  • Unsecured credit, such as credit cards, usually cost more, but at the same time do not put your personal property at risk.

Borrowing money in any way is a serious undertaking that comes with important responsibilities.

Understand your responsibilities and the consequences you face if you fail to meet what's required of you. Even one or two missed payments can affect your credit rating, making it harder to get loans in the future and can make them more expensive for you.

If you are ever having difficulty repaying your loans you should act right away. The first place to turn is your American Trust banker. We'll be happy to help you sort out your options and chart a path to financial security.