With two-in-five Americans living paycheck to paycheck, financial education is more important than ever

Wells Fargo provides free tools to help establish healthy financial habits

SAN FRANCISCO - October 18, 2011

In support of the American Bankers Association Education Foundation’s 9th annual National Get Smart About Credit day on Oct. 20, 2011, Wells Fargo will launch a month-long campaign to reach out to communities across the country to discuss the importance of credit and how to use it responsibly. Throughout the month, hundreds of Wells Fargo professionals will volunteer in schools and community centers to show teens and adults the role that making sensible decisions about credit plays in achieving their long-term financial goals.

"As our customers rebuild their finances coming out of the recession, we want to share credit and money management tactics that can help them succeed financially," said Angel Zapata national manager for the Wells Fargo Foundation’s Office of Financial Education. “This includes strategies to rebuild their access to credit and to plan for their financial futures.”

Statistics reflect consumer sentiment about how challenging it can be to make credit and financial management decisions:

  • 42 percent of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck
    • Source: CareerBuilder, 2011 Survey
  • 60 percent of Americans do not have a “rainy day” fund to cover three months of unanticipated financial emergencies
    • Source: FINRA Foundation State-by-State Financial Capability Survey (2011)
  • 39 percent of homeowners grade themselves a C, D, or F when it comes to their understanding of personal finances and credit management, and 86 percent of homeowners have not checked their credit score or credit report in the past year
    • Source: Wells Fargo Homeowner Survey (2011)

As consumers move through different life stages – like using credit for the first time, paying for education, buying a home and having children – Wells Fargo provides free tools and tips to educate borrowers about which credit option may be right for them – and how to use credit sensibly.

Credit tools for life’s stages
Thinking about how to teach children about credit? Hands on Banking®/El futuro en tus manos® shares the essentials of money management and the responsible use of credit in this fun, free program.
Using credit for the first time? Wells Fargo’s Smarter CreditTM Center contains information and resources about how to use credit sensibly to achieve financial goals.
Thinking about college? Learn about the loan process, and use free scholarship and college search tools through Wells Fargo’s Student Planning & Calculators site.
Using a Visa card for the first time? Log on to the Practical Money Skills site and, using a reference code received with a new Wells Fargo Visa card, take a series of online credit education lessons. Upon completion of the lessons, customers receive a reward – currently free movie tickets.
Buying a home? Download a free guide with tips on the home buying process.
And if you’re looking for a site that can help tie together credit education with information about banking basics and investing, visit the Wells Fargo Financial Education Center.

Wells Fargo also make these tips available to help borrowers develop and maintain good credit:
Credit Report: Be proactive and check your credit report on a regular basis. Order a credit report once a year through http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
Budget: Create a budget. Know your needs and wants, and the difference between the two.
Debt: Reduce your outstanding debt, keep credit card balances low and don’t take on more debt than you can handle.
Pay on time: Ask your credit card issuer if it offers automatic payment options or e-mail alerts to remind you when a payment is due. If available, sign up for a bill pay service to help keep you on track.
Credit Limits: Know your credit limits and don’t exceed them.
Fraud: Keep close tabs on the activity in your account. Shred documents containing personal or financial information before discarding. If you notice suspicious activity, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
Credit Cards: Save credit card receipts and check them against your statements.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. We want to help all of our customers succeed financially and create long-term economic growth and quality of life for everyone in our communities. In 2010, the Company invested a record $219 million in grants in 19,000 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.3 million volunteer hours around the country. For more information, please visit: www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., is an equal Housing Lender.

Media
Natalie Brown
775-689-6123
natalie.m.brown@wellsfargo.com

Media
Jessica Beavers
415-396-0560
jessica.f.beavers@wellsfargo.com