If you have never owned a credit card before, you may not be aware of the advantages it contains. A credit card can be used as a alternative form of payment in many locations, even online. In addition to this, it can be used to build a person’s credit score. If these advantages appeal to you, then continue reading for more information on credit cards and how to use them.

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.

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.

Credit cards should always be kept below a specific amount. This total depends on the amount of income your family has, but most experts agree that you should not be using more than ten percent of your cards total at any time. This helps insure you don’t get in over your head.

Sign each credit card as soon as you receive it, as most people don’t do this, which makes stolen cards very easy to use. Many cashiers will check to make sure there are matching signatures before finalizing the sale.

Take advantage of the freebies offered by your credit card company. Many companies have some sort of cash back or points system that is attached to the card you own. When you use these things, you can receive cash or merchandise, just for using your card. If your card does not offer an incentive like this, call your credit card company and ask if it can be added.

You need to pay more than the minimum payment each month. If you aren’t paying more than the minimum payment you will never be able to pay down your credit card debt. If you have an emergency, then you could end up using all your available credit. So, each month try to send in a little extra money in order to pay down the debt.

If you have a credit card, do not pay for your purchases right after you make them. Instead, pay your entire balance when you recieve your statement. That will be a better reflection on your history of payment, and that will lead to an improved credit score.

When you are looking for secured cards to improve your credit standing, avoid prepaid cards. These are typically debit cards and don’t report to the credit bureaus. Most of them charge you with extra fees, and they only function as another checking account. Put a deposit down and get a secured card that reports to the credit bureaus and helps to improve your score.

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.

Always remember that interest rates are negotiable. You can negotiate with the company that owns your credit card and try to get a lower interest rate. As long as you have kept up with your monthly payments and used your credit card responsibly, a credit card provider is very likely to decrease your credit card’s APR when you ask them.

If you owe money to your credit card company and you cannot afford to pay it, contact your company. You may be able to set up a hardship plan until you are able to pay the money back. This way, you can avoid getting into debt and ruining your credit.

Check your credit card statement every month, to monitor it for possible fraud or identity theft. Many times, fraud goes unnoticed until it really starts to add up or a huge expense is listed that you are not familiar with. Regular monitoring of your paperwork will keep you ahead of the game and able to stop illicit activity early on.

If you are right at your due date and have forgotten to make a payment, call and see if payment by phone is an option. Most credit card companies offer this service for a fee. Though you will have to pay a little bit to use this service, it will certainly be less than the fee amount you will have to pay, if you make a late payment.

Whenever you charge an item or service, make sure that you retain your credit card receipts. When your bill arrives each month, compare your saved receipts with your monthly bill. If you notice any discrepancies between the charges you have made and those that appear on your bill, immediately report these issues to the company which issued your credit card. By doing this, you can help protect yourself from human error and credit card fraud.

Read, memorize and then, understand the terms and conditions of each and every credit card you have. Know what the interest rate is, as well as, what each fee is and have the payment and bill cycles marked on your calendar. Doing this means there will be no surprises when it comes to your card.

Now that you are aware of how beneficial a credit card can be, it’s time to start looking at some credit cards. Take the information from this article and put it to good use, so that you can apply for a credit card and start making purchases.