In this “consumer beware” world that we all live in, any sound financial advice you can get is helpful. Especially, when it comes to using credit cards. The following article will offer you that sound advice on using credit cards wisely, and avoiding costly mistakes that will have you paying for a long time to come!
Keep track of how much money you are spending when using a credit card. Small, incidental purchases can add up quickly, and it is important to know how much you have spend on them, so you can understand how much you owe. You can keep track with a check register, spreadsheet program, or even with an online option offered by many credit card companies.
If you can’t get a credit card because of a spotty credit record, then take heart. There are still some options that may be quite workable for you. A secured credit card is much easier to get and may help you rebuild your credit record very effectively. With a secured card, you deposit a set amount into a savings account with a bank or lending institution – often about $500. That amount becomes your collateral for the account, which makes the bank willing to work with you. You use the card as a normal credit card, keeping expenses under that limit. As you pay your monthly bills responsibly, the bank may decide to raise your limit and eventually convert the account to a traditional credit card.
Never apply for more credit cards than you actually need. It’s true that you need a few credit cards to help build your credit, but there is a point at which the amount of credit cards you have is actually detrimental to your credit score. Be mindful to find that happy medium.
Do not make a payment to your credit card right after you charge an item. Instead, hold off until your statement arrives so you can pay off the full amount. This helps your credit score and gives you a better payment history.
Keep one low-limit card in your wallet for emergency expenses only. All other cards should be kept at home, to avoid impulse buys that you can’t really afford. If you need a card for a large purchase, you will have to knowingly get it from your home and take it with you. This will give you extra time to think about what you are buying.
Use a credit card that offers rewards. Not every credit card company offers rewards, so you need to choose wisely. Reward points can be earned on every purchase, or for making purchases in certain categories. There are many different rewards including air miles, cash back or merchandise. Be wary though because some of these cards charge a fee.
Pay close attention to all of the interest rates on your credit cards. Many cards charge you different rates depending on the type of transaction you execute. Cash advances and balance transfers commonly command a higher rate than ordinary purchases. You must keep this in mind before you begin shifting money on and off various cards.
Be careful when you are signing up with secured credit card companies because a lot of them charge high fees in exchange for issuing you a card. If you have to get this type of card, then you should shop around to make sure that you are paying the lowest fees.
Pick one credit card with the best rewards program, and designate it to regular use. This card can be used to pay for gas, groceries, dining out, and shopping. Be sure to pay it off each month. Designate another card for charges like, vacations for the family to be sure you do not overdo it on the other card.
Be sure your kids take responsibility for their own credit cards. Though it’s certainly difficult to tell them no, waiting until a level of maturity is established can be the best way to help your child avoid a financially devistating situation.
If your credit card is charging you a high rate of interest on your balance, consider transferring it to a lower interest rate card. This can save you a lot while you are working to pay down that balance. The key is to not charge any more on the old card once you have transferred your balance, or you will end up in a worse financial situation.
Use your cards regularly if you do not want to chance losing them. If you don’t use your account, that makes the company no profit, so they may just shut down the account and barely warn you about it. Try to use your card to pay for what you can afford so that you can pay that off immediately.
A great way to solve your credit card payments is to actually pay it down with an additional credit card. Just make sure that the other card has better rates. Even if the cards have similar interest rates, the newer card might offer a better rewards program or other perks and benefits, such as free flight tickets. Just be sure that you’re doing the math on these rates first.
Bigger, more established credit card providers usually offer the best deals for your new credit card. These companies usually have good, solid business practices as well as great benefits. It’s worth having a major card company backing you when you swipe your card. After all, this does affect your credit score and history.
Use one particular credit card for internet purchases, so you can protect your other finances in case there is ever a problem where your information is compromised. If you use several different cards online, you will be unable to efficiently manage your exposure to hackers and other dangers.
Hopefully the above article has given you the information necessary to avoid getting in to trouble with your credit cards! It can be so easy to let our finances slip away from us, and then we face serious consequences. Keep the advice you have read here in mind, the next time you go to charge it!