Credit card use can be a tricky thing, given high interest rates, hidden charges and changes in laws. As a consumer, you need to be educated and aware of the best practices when it comes to using your credit cards. Read on for some valuable tips on how to use your cards wisely.
When it is time to make monthly payments on your credit cards, be sure that you pay more than the minimum amount that you are required to pay. If you only pay the small amount required, it will take you longer to pay your debts off and the interest will be steadily increasing.
Avoid being the victim of credit card fraud by keeping your credit card safe at all times. Pay special attention to your card when you are using it at a store. Double check to make sure you have returned your card to your wallet or purse, when the purchase is finished.
If you wish to have credit cards but you have no established credit, get a co-signer. You can have a friend, parent, sibling or anyone else that is willing to help you and has an established line of credit. Your co-signer must sign a statement that makes them responsible for the balance if you default on the debt. This is one method that is effective in helping individuals to obtain their first card so that they can start building credit.
Make sure you thoroughly understand the terms before signing up for a new credit card. You might see that their payment schedule, fees, and interest rate are higher than what you thought. Make sure to read each word of your credit card policy.
There are many cards that offer rewards just for getting a credit card with them. While this should not solely make your decision for you, do pay attention to these types of offers. I’m sure you would much rather have a card that gives you cash back than a card that doesn’t if all other terms are close to being the same.
Do not make purchases with your credit card for things that you can not afford. Credit cards are for things that you purchase regularly or that fit into your budget. Making grandiose purchases with your credit card will make that item cost you a great deal more over time and will put you at risk for default.
Don’t ever let anyone borrow your credit card. Although you might be tempted to help out a good friend, lending out your credit cards is not a good idea. You could be struck with expensive over-limit charges by your credit card provider if your friend accidentally overspends.
If you are going to make purchases over the Internet you need to make all of them with the same credit card. You do not want to use all of your cards to make online purchases because that will increase the chances of you becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
Do not use your credit cards to pay for gas, clothes or groceries. You will find that some gas stations will charge more for the gas, if you choose to pay with a credit card. It’s also not a good idea to use cards for these items because these items are things you need often. Using your cards to pay for them can get you into a bad habit.
Many people, especially when they are younger, feel like credit cards are a type of free money. The fact is, they are exactly the opposite, paid money. Remember, every time you use your credit card, you are basically taking out a micro-loan with incredibly high interest. Never forget that you must repay this loan.
Check with your credit card company, to learn if you can set up, and automatic payment each month. Many companies will allow you to automatically pay the full amount, minimum payment, or set amount out of your checking account each month. This will ensure that your payment is always made on time.
If you cannot pay your entire credit card bill each month, you should definitely keep your available credit limit above 50% after each billing cycle. Having a good credit to debt ratio is an important part of your credit score. Make sure that your credit card is not constantly near its limit.
Stay away from high interest credit cards. Many people see no harm in getting a credit card with a high interest rate, as they are sure that they will always pay the balance off in full each month. Unfortunately, there are bound to be some months when paying the full bill is not possible.
Use cards that offer you a low interest rate with a balance transfer cautiously. In many cases, that rate is only available for a short period of time. When that time expires, the rate might jump to three or four times that amount. Make sure that you understand the terms and make an educated choice about choosing, and using, these cards.
Once you close one of your credit card accounts, make sure you destroy the physical card. If you decide to throw it into a drawer or give it to your child to play with, it could end up in someone’s hands, and they could use the information to reopen the account and charge up debt in your name.
A lot of banks no longer issue secured credit cards, but it is common to find them being offered through credit unions. If you would like to sign up for a secured credit card, you can open an account with a credit union and take advantage of whatever cards they offer.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some helpful guidance in the use of your credit cards. Getting into trouble with them is much easier than getting out of trouble, and the damage to your good credit standing can be devastating. Keep the wise advice of this article in mind, the next time you are asked if you are paying in cash or credit.