MasterCard offers consumers a way to kick start their new year's resolutions with a checklist of ten tips for financial stability. The credit card processor's global operations team has developed a new financial education program, called Smart Consumer. As part of the initiative, program managers posted their tips to a new global website: http://www.smartconsumer.ws.

  1. Know your expenses.
  2. Evaluate your finances.
  3. Establish your goals.
  4. Make a plan.
  5. Monitor your expenses.
  6. Pay off the highest bills first.
  7. Know your interest rates and late fee amounts.
  8. Pay more than the minimum payment.
  9. Prize success.
  10. Be patient.

According to company spokesperson Andres Ignacio Gonzalez, MasterCard's Smart Consumer financial education program can help families develop good money management habits that lead to a variety of long term benefits. In a statement to reporters, Gonzalez noted that effective credit card management can help ensure that families have enough extra cash to face emergencies and to prepare for retirement.