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.
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 possible, pay your credit cards in full, every month. Use them for normal expenses, such as, gasoline and groceries and then, proceed to pay off the balance at the end of the month. This will build your credit and help you to gain rewards from your card, without accruing interest or sending you into debt.
For your credit to remain in good standing, you have to pay all your credit card bills on time. If you are late, you might have to pay high fees. Lateness also messes up your credit score. If you set up an auto-pay schedule with your bank or card lender, you will save yourself money and time.
If you have credit cards be sure to check your monthly statements thoroughly for errors. Everyone makes errors, and this applies to credit card companies as well. To prevent from paying for something you did not purchase you should save your receipts through the month and then compare them to your statement.
If you have multiple cards that have a balance on them, you should avoid getting new cards. Even if you are paying everything back on time, there is no reason for you to take the chance of getting another card and making your financial situation any more strained than it already is.
When you first receive your credit cards, be sure to sign them right away. People who avoid this step leave themselves open to identity theft if the cards should be stolen. Lots of venders will require a signature verification when purchasing from them.
Never use a password or pin code for your credit card that is really easy for people to figure out. Using your birth date, middle name or your child’s name can be problematic, as it is not difficult for others to find out that information.
If you have a credit card, add it into your monthly budget. Budget a specific amount that you are financially able to put on the card each month, and then pay that amount off at the end of the month. Try not to let your credit card balance ever get above that amount. This is a great way to always pay your credit cards off in full, allowing you to build a great credit score.
Many companies advertise that you can transfer balances over to them and carry a lower interest rate. This sounds appealing, but you need to carefully consider your options. Think about it. If a company consolidates a higher amount of money onto one card and then the interest rate spikes, you are going to have a hard time making that payment. Know all the terms and conditions, and be careful.
A great tip for saving on today’s high gas prices is to get a reward card from the grocery store where you do business. These days, many stores have gas stations, as well and offer discounted gas prices, if you sign up to use their customer reward cards. Sometimes, you can save up to twenty cents per gallon.
Watch rewards programs. These programs are quite popular with credit cards. You can earn things like cash back, airline miles, or other incentives just for using your credit card. A reward is a nice addition if you’re already planning on using the card, but it may tempt you into charging more than you usually would just to get those bigger rewards.
If you ever have a charge on your card that is an error on the credit card company’s behalf, you can get the charges taken off. The way you do this is by sending them the date of the bill and what the charge is. You are protected from these things by the Fair Credit Billing Act.
It is wise to refrain from giving a credit card to a child. It is best to let children wait to get credit cards until they reach the age of 18, or when they can get their own. Instead, consider opening them a checking account and giving them an allowance. This will help them learn to manage a small amount of money so that they will be ready to manage a credit card when the time comes.
It goes without saying, perhaps, but always pay your credit cards on time. To be able to follow this simple rule, do not charge more than you afford to pay in cash. Credit card debt can quickly balloon out of control, especially, if the card carries a high interest rate. Otherwise, you will find that you cannot follow the simple rule of paying on time.
Interest rates can be negotiated. Work with your credit card companies to lower your interest rates. With a good payment history to the company and good standing in your account, they will easily consider a rate change.
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.