With the way the economy is these days, you really need to be smart about how you spend every penny. Credit cards are a great way to make purchases you may not otherwise be able to, but when not used properly, they can get you into financial trouble real quickly. Read on for some great tips for using your credit cards wisely.
Be safe when giving out your credit card information. If you like to order things online with it, then you have to be sure the website is secure. If you notice charges that you didn’t make, call the customer service number for the credit card company. They can help deactivate your card and make it unusable, until they mail you a new one with a new account number.
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.
Never give out your credit card number to anyone, unless you are the person that has initiated the transaction. If someone calls you on the phone asking for your card number in order to pay for anything, you should ask them to give you a way to contact them, so that you can arrange the payment at a better time.
Pay your minimum payment on time each month, to avoid more fees. If you can afford to, pay more than the minimum payment so that you can reduce the interest fees. Just be sure to pay the minimum amount before the due date.
Consider getting a co-signer if you wish to open a credit card without established credit. A parent or other relative may be willing to be a co-signer. Of course, they are putting themselves on the line, by becoming responsible for your credit. That can be a terrific method of acquiring a first card for credit building purposes.
Carefully consider those cards that offer you a zero percent interest rate. It may seem very alluring at first, but you may find later that you will have to pay sky high rates down the road. Learn how long that rate is going to last and what the go-to rate will be when it expires.
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 be hesitant to inquire about getting a lower interest rate. If you have a history with the credit card company and have been making payments on a timely basis, you might be able to ask for a better rate. You could achieve a better rate and save a significant amount of money with just a phone call.
If you have made the poor decision of taking out a cash loan on your credit card, be sure to pay it off as soon as possible. Making a minimum payment on this kind of loan is a big mistake. Pay the minimum on other cards, if it means you can pay this debt off faster.
Refrain from closing your credit accounts. Although it could seem like a smart thing to do for improving your credit score, closing accounts could actually harm your score. When you close an account, the amount of overall credit you have is lowered, and this could make your current lending ratio percentage higher.
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.
Make a spending plan. When carrying a credit card on you and shopping without a plan, you have a higher chance of impulse buying or overspending. To avoid this, try planning out your shopping trips. Make lists of what you plan to buy, then decide on a charging limit. This plan will keep on track and help you resist splurging.
Be aware of recent credit card laws. For example, credit card companies may not impose retroactive rate increases. It’s also against the law for them to bill more than once in a cycle. Read, and keep yourself up-to-date on all of the laws that apply to credit card companies. Two legislative changes have occurred that need to be noted, including the CARD Act.
Keep multiple credit card accounts open. Having multiple credit cards will keep your credit score healthy, as long as you pay on them consistently. The key to keeping a healthy credit score with multiple credit cards is to use them responsibly. If you do not, you could end up hurting your credit score.
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.
If you use your credit cards to pay for gas, do not run too close to your spending limit if you have a purchase coming up. Many gas stations will put a $75 hold on your credit card for a few days, eating up your available space, meaning you can not charge other things.
As stated previously, you really have no choice but to be a smart consumer who does his or her homework in this economy. Everything just seems so unpredictable and precarious that the slightest change could topple any person’s financial world. Hopefully, this article has you on the right path in terms of using credit cards the right way!