Don’t be fooled by those who tell you that it is okay to buy something, if you just put it on a credit card. Credit cards have lead us to have monumental amounts of personal debt, the likes of which have rarely been seen before. Get yourself out of this way of thinking by reading this article and seeing how credit cards affect you.
When you are unable to pay off one of your credit cards, then the best policy is to contact the credit card company. Letting it just go to collections is bad for your credit score. You will find that most companies will let you pay it off in smaller amounts, as long as you don’t keep avoiding them.
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.
If a fraudulent charge appears on the credit card, let the company know straightaway. This allows the credit card issuer the best opportunity to find the offender. This also helps absolve you of responsibility when it comes to the charges. To report any unauthorized charges to your card, either call or email your credit card issuer.
An important aspect of smart credit card usage is to pay the entire outstanding balance, each and every month, whenever possible. By keeping your usage percentage low, you will help keep your overall credit score high, as well as, keep a substantial amount of available credit open for use in case of emergencies.
Keep an eye on mailings from your credit card company. While some might be junk mail offering to sell you additional services, or products, some mail is important. Credit card companies must send a mailing, if they are changing the terms on your credit card. Sometimes a change in terms can cost you money. Make sure to read mailings carefully, so you always understand the terms that are governing your credit card use.
If you are about to start a search for a new credit card, be sure to check your credit record first. Make sure your credit report accurately reflects your debts and obligations. Contact the credit reporting agency to remove old or inaccurate information. A little time spent upfront will net you the best credit limit and lowest interest rates that you may be eligible for.
If you are not satisfied with the high interest rate on your credit card, but aren’t interested in transferring the balance somewhere else, try negotiating with the issuing bank. You can sometimes get a lower interest rate if you tell the issuing bank that you are considering transferring your balances to a different credit card that offers low-interest transfers. They may lower your rate in order to keep your business!
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.
Don’t open too many credit card accounts. A single person only needs two or three in his or her name, in order to get a good credit established. More credit cards than this, could actually do more damage than good to your score. Also, having multiple accounts is harder to keep track of and harder to remember to pay on time.
If you are not happy with your interest rate, ask your bank to change it. If the bank refuses after you talk with their retention team, you should search for better rates. Switch your balance to the lower rate card. This will save you a significant amount of money.
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.
Find out if the interest rate on a new card is the regular rate, or if it is offered as part of a promotion. Many people do not realize that the rate that they see at first is promotional, and that the real interest rate may be a significant amount more than that.
Keep your credit card spending to a small percentage of your total credit limit. Usually 30 percent is about right. If you spend too much, it’ll be harder to pay off, and won’t look good on your credit report. In contrast, using your credit card lightly lessens your stress, and can help improve your credit score.
Before you go on an international vacation, check the credit card situation in your destination country. Certain cards are more useful than others in different countries. Do not be afraid to open a new account or get a specialized traveler’s card for the duration of your trip. Using your card, without hassles overseas, is worth expending a little effort in planning, before you leave.
Knowing the impact that credit cards really have on your life, is a good first step towards using them more wisely in the future. Often times, they are a necessary building block for good credit. However, they are overused and often, misunderstood. This article has attempted to clear up some of those confusing ideas and set the record straight.