Credit cards represent the best and worst in life. On the one hand, pulling them out of your wallet and sliding them at the store register means you get your hands on what you wanted to buy. On the other hand, you get to curse and swear at the bill that shows up in your mailbox a few weeks later. Read on the find out how to maximize the good while minimizing the bad.

To preserve a high credit score, pay all bills before the due date. Tardy payments hurt your credit record and result in expensive penalties. Setting up an automatic payment schedule with your credit card company or bank can save you time and money.

Shop around for a card. Interest rates and terms can vary widely. There are also various types of cards. There are secured cards, cards that double as telephone calling cards, cards that let you either charge and pay later or they take out that charge from your account, and cards used only for charging catalog merchandise. Carefully look at the offers and know what you need.

If you find that you have spent more on your credit cards than you can repay, seek help to manage your credit card debt. It is easy to get carried away, especially around the holidays, and spend more than you intended. There are many credit card consumer organizations, that can help get you back on track.

Make the minimum monthly payment in the very least on all of your credit cards. Not making the minimum payment on time can cost you a great deal of money over time. It can also cause harm to your credit rating. To protect both your expenses, and your credit rating be sure to make minimum payments on time each month.

Always know the amount of your current balance. Make sure that you know of any credit limits that have been imposed by your creditor. If you happen to charge an amount over your limit, you will face fees that are quite costly. Exceeding the limit also means taking more time to pay off your balance, increasing the total interest you pay.

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 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.

Don’t write down your password or pin number. Make sure you know your password so you ensure that only you have access to it. Writing down your PIN, especially if you store it with your card, can put your account in jeopardy if the information falls into the wrong hands.

Live by a zero balance goal, or if you can’t reach zero balance monthly, then maintain the lowest balances you can. Credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control, so go into your credit relationship with the goal to always pay off your bill every month. This is especially important if your cards have high interest rates that can really rack up over time.

Use a credit card to pay for a recurring monthly expense that you already have budgeted for. Then, pay that credit card off each and every month, as you pay the bill. Doing this will establish credit with the account, but you don’t have to pay any interest, if you pay the card off in full each month.

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.

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.

Once you’ve closed your account, destroy your card and related information. Do not just leave it lying around or let your children use it as a toy. If the card falls into the wrong hands, someone could reactivate the account and leave you responsible for unauthorized charges.

If you no longer plan to use a credit card, considering closing that account. Closing the account will protect you from identify theft and credit card fraud. In addition, closing an account that is no longer used will help improve your debt-to-income ratio, which is one of the factors that lenders look at, when determining whether or not to approve a loan application.

Keep a list of all your credit card information in a safe place. List all of your credit cards along with the credit card number, expiration date and phone number, for each of your cards. By doing this you will always have all of your credit card information in one place should you need it.

When applying for a credit card, be sure that you check out the schedule of fees that may apply to you. This is important because if you do find yourself in a situation where you miss a payment, you do not want to be faced with late payment fees that you cannot afford.

The credit cards in your life can swing both ways. While they can mean the instant gratification of that new item you wanted at the mall, they can also mean a headache in the mail a month later. This article has provided you with ideas on how to reap your rewards without sweating the downside much. Apply what you have learned to excel at both.