Today’s smart consumer knows how beneficial the use of credit cards can be, but is also aware of the pitfalls associated with excessive use. Even the most frugal of people use their credit cards sometimes, and we all have lessons to learn from them! Keep reading for valuable advice on using credit cards wisely.
Before you choose a credit card company, be sure that you compare interest rates. There is no standard when it comes to interest rates, even when it is based on your credit. Every company uses a different formula to figure what interest rate to charge. Be sure that you compare rates, to ensure that you get the best deal possible.
Do not use your credit cards to make emergency purchases. Many people believe that this is the best use of credit cards, but the best use is actually for things that you purchase on a regular basis, like groceries. The key is, to only charge things that you will be able to pay back in a timely manner.
When making purchases with your credit cards you should stick to buying items that you need instead of buying those that you want. Buying luxury items with credit cards is one of the easiest ways to get into debt. If it is something that you can live without you should avoid charging it.
Read the small print. We have all been pre-approved for one card or another, but it’s important to understand all of the specifics about that card before accepting it. Know the details about interest, like the rate and dates. Remember to check out any grace periods and finance charges involved, too.
Try your best to stay within 30 percent of the credit limit that is set on your card. Part of your credit score is made up of assessing the amount of debt that you have. By staying far under your limit, you will help your rating and make sure it does not start to dip.
When you are looking over all of the rate and fee information for your credit card make sure that you know which ones are permanent and which ones may be part of a promotion. You do not want to make the mistake of going for a card with very low rates and then they balloon shortly after.
Instead of just blindly applying for cards, hoping for approval, and letting credit card companies decide your terms for you, know what you are in for. One way to effectively do this is, to get a free copy of your credit report. This will help you know a ballpark idea of what cards you might be approved for, and what your terms might look like.
If you are having trouble with overspending on your credit card, there are several ways to save it only for emergencies. One of the best ways to do this is to leave the card with a trusted friend. They will only give you the card, if you can convince them you really need it.
If you are having a problem getting a credit card, consider a secured account. A secured credit card will require you to open a savings account before a card is issued. If you ever default on a payment, the money from that account will be used to pay off the card and any late fees. This is a good way to begin establishing credit, so that you have opportunities to get better cards in the future.
The credit card that you use to make purchases is very important and you should try to use one that has a very small limit. This is good because it will limit the amount of funds that a thief will have access to.
Avoid the temptation to take out loans on your credit cards. It may seem to be the only way to get something paid for, but you must look into other options. Many financial advisers will tell you this and there is a reason for it. It could cost you your credit ratings later.
Make sure each month you pay off your credit cards when they are due, and most importantly, in full when possible. If you do not pay them in full each month, you will end up having to have pay finance charges on the unpaid balance, which will end up taking you a long time to pay off the credit cards.
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.
Make sure you save your statements. Before you file them away, pay close attention to what is on them as well. If you see a charge that shouldn’t be on there, dispute the charge. All credit card companies have dispute procedures in place to assist you with fraudulent charges that may occur.
To avoid interest charges, don’t treat your credit card as you would an ATM card. Don’t get in the habit of charging every single item that you buy. Doing so, will only pile on charges to your bill, you may get an unpleasant surprise, when you receive that monthly credit card bill.
Don’t use your credit card for more than you can pay off. If you can’t make your payments, you risk damaging your credit score. This can make it difficult to rent accommodation, get insurance or even become employed.
As noted earlier, you have to think on your feet to make really good use of the services that credit cards provide, without getting into debt or hooked by high interest rates. Hopefully, this article has taught you a lot about the best ways to use your credit cards and the best ways not to!