Credit cards are a ubiquitous part of most people’s financial picture. While they can certainly be extremely useful, they can also pose serious risk, if not used properly. Let the ideas in this article play a major role in your daily financial decisions, and you will be on your way to building a strong financial foundation.
Be wary of late payment charges. Many of the credit companies out there now charge high fees for making late payments. Most of them will also increase your interest rate to the highest legal interest rate. Before you choose a credit card company, be sure that you are fully aware of their policy regarding late payments.
Don’t use cards to buy items you could never afford. While it is alright to use them to pay for something you can afford at a later date, you should not buy a big-ticket item that you will have a problem paying for.
In order to keep your spending under control, make a record of the purchases that you make with your credit card. It is easy to loose track of the money you spend when you use your card unless you make a commitment to keep track in a note book or spreadsheet.
Always make sure there is not a yearly fee attached to any credit card that offers rewards or perks. Premium credit cards can have annual fees anywhere from the $100’s to the $1000’s. If you don’t have to have a card that’s exclusive, avoid fees and keep that in mind.
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.
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 have any credit cards that you have not used in the past six months, then it would probably be a good idea to close out those accounts. If a thief gets his hands on them, you may not notice for a while, because you are not likely to go looking at the balance to those credit cards.
Remember that you must pay back what you have charged on your credit cards. This is only a loan, and in many cases, it is a high interest loan. Carefully consider your purchases prior to charging them, to be sure that you will have the money to pay them off.
If you are going to make purchases over the Internet you need to make all of them with the same credit card. You do not want to use all of your cards to make online purchases because that will increase the chances of you becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
Do not sign up for store cards in order to save money on a purchase. Often times, the amount you will pay for annual fees, interest or other charges, will easily be more than any savings you will get at the register that day. Avoid the trap, by just saying no in the first place.
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.
An important thing to remember when using credit cards is to do whatever is necessary to avoid going over your specified credit limit. By making certain that you always remain within your allowable credit, you can avoid costly fees that card issuers frequently assess and guarantee that your account always remains in good standing.
If you can’t pay your credit card balance in full each month, be sure to make at least double the minimum payment until it is paid off. Paying only the minimum will keep you trapped in escalating interest payments for years. Doubling down on the minimum will help to ensure you get out from the debt as soon as possible. Most importantly, stop using your credit cards for anything but emergencies until the existing debt is paid off.
Shop different credit cards before applying to find out the perks each offers. Some offer roadside assistance, while others offer airline perks, like free baggage check. Some will also offer buyer protections, above and beyond what a store offers. Depending on your buying habits, one credit card may offer perks that fit you best.
It is best to try to negotiate the best interest rate with your credit card company. Contact the company that issues your credit card, you may be able to get them to lower your rate. This tactic works especially well for consumers who always make on-time payments, keep their balances low and do other things to prove that they are reliable customers.
Just about everyone has used a credit card at some point in their life. The impact that this fact has had on an individual’s overall financial picture, likely depends on the manner in which they utilized this financial tool. By using the tips in this piece, it is possible to maximize the positive that credit cards represent and minimize their danger.