If you’re like many Americans, you’ve developed a bad habit of whipping out your credit card to pay for purchases and figuring out how to pay the bill later. This is not the right way to use credit. The good news is that with a little education, you can change the way you use your credit cards. Read on to find out what to do.
Do not lend your credit card to anyone. Credit cards are as valuable as cash, and lending them out can get you into trouble. If you lend them out, the person might overspend, making you responsible for a large bill at the end of the month. Even if the person is worthy of your trust, it is better to keep your credit cards to yourself.
Never spend more than can be repaid when you are using your credit cards. It does not take much to let your spending get out of control, so commit to recording your spending in a spreadsheet or on paper.
Be aware of any interest rates you are being charged. It is extremely important before you sign on to getting that credit card that you must know the interest rate. Without a clear understanding of the interest charges, your bills could rise unexpectedly. If the rate is higher, you may find that you can’t pay the card off every month.
If you have a credit card with high interest you should consider transferring the balance. Many credit card companies offer special rates, including 0% interest, when you transfer your balance to their credit card. Do the math to figure out if this is beneficial to you before you make the decision to transfer balances.
In order to keep a good credit rating, be sure to pay your bills on time. Avoid interest charges by picking a card that has a grace period. Then you can pay the entire balance that is due each month. If you cannot pay the full amount, pick a card that has the lowest interest rate available.
It is very important to read all correspondence from your credit card company, including emails. Credit card providers can make changes to their fees and interest rates provided that they give you a written notice of their changes. If you don’t like the change, you may cancel your account.
If you are determined to stop using credit cards, cutting them up is not necessarily the best way to do it. Just because the card is gone doesn’t mean the account is no longer open. If you get desperate, you may ask for a new card to use on that account, and get trapped in the same cycle of charging you wanted to get out of in the first place!
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.
Be careful if you buy things online with your credit card. Prior to entering any card information, ensure the site that you are utilizing is a secure one. You can set your browser to notify the security settings for each website you visit. Be sure to ignore emails asking for card information as these are attempts at getting your personal information.
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.
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.
Make your credit card payments on time and in full, each and every month. Most credit card companies will charge an expensive late fee if you are even a day late. If you pay your bill 30 days late or more, creditors report this late payment to the credit bureaus.
Shred old credit card receipts and statements. You can easily purchase an inexpensive home office shredder to handle this task. Those receipts and statements, often contain your credit card number, and if a dumpster diver happened to get hold of that number, they could use your card without your knowledge.
Pay your entire balance every month. If you leave a balance on your card, you’ll have to pay finance charges, and interest that you wouldn’t pay if you pay everything in full each month. In addition, you won’t feel pressured to try to wipe out a big credit card bill, if you charge only a small amount each month.
Bring two credit cards when you travel, especially overseas. It is best to have at least two cards, from different institutions, so you have choices. If one card doesn’t work, you can try using one from another bank instead. If you have two different companies for each card, you will be able to solve more problems.
Try to refrain from making minimum payments on your credit cards. The minimum payment barely covers the finance charges and at that rate, it can take years to pay off the balance. When making your monthly payment, pay as much as you can so as to lower the principal balance as well.
Now that you’ve read this article, you know there’s a lot more to responsible credit card use, than just abstaining from using credit altogether. Reform your credit card habits, using the tips you have just read, so that your use of credit cards can help improve your credit scores, instead of interfering with you having good credit.