Do you use a credit card? Do you know how much credit you have total? Do you know how much additional credit you have available to you? If you are unable to answer these second two questions, then you are probably not using credit responsibly, and it is time to learn more!

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.

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.

If you make credit card purchases online, do not do so from a public computer. Computers in public areas such as libraries and coffee shops will store your information. By placing your information on public computers, you are inviting trouble into your life. You should only shop online from a computer that you own.

Try setting up a monthly, automatic payment for your credit cards, in order to avoid late fees. The amount you need for your payment can be automatically withdrawn from your bank account and it will take the worry out of getting your monthly payment in on time. It can also save money on stamps!

Never give out a credit card number over the phone if someone else initiates the request. Scammers commonly use this ploy. Only provide your number to businesses you trust, along with your card company if you call about your account. People who contact you cannot be trusted with your numbers. It does not who they say they are, you still are not fully aware of who might be on the other end.

We have all gone through it. These solicitations often arrive in your mailbox offering you a credit card with their company. Although sometimes the timing is right, more often you’re not looking for another credit card when this happens. Tear up or shred credit card offers before disposing of them. Do not simply toss it away, as many of these letters contain your personal information.

If you have poor credit, consider getting one of the secured credit cards. Secured credit cards require you to deposit money in advance to cover the charges you will make. The reality is that you are using money that is yours and paying interest on it. Although this arrangement is less than ideal, it can help you repair your credit. Choose reputable companies when you sign up for secured cards. Once you’ve resolved your credit issues to an extent, you may be able to get an unsecured card with the same company.

Sometimes, when people use their credit cards, they forget that the charges on these cards are just like taking out a loan. You will have to pay back the money that was fronted to you by the the financial institution that gave you the credit card. It is important not to run up credit card bills that are so large that it is impossible for you to pay them back.

Try to reduce your interest rate. Call your credit card company, and request that this be done. Before you call, be sure you know how long you have had the credit card, your overall payment record, and your credit score. If all of these show positively on you as a good customer, then use them as leverage to get that rate lowered.

Stay away from high interest credit cards. Many people see no harm in getting a credit card with a high interest rate, as they are sure that they will always pay the balance off in full each month. Unfortunately, there are bound to be some months when paying the full bill is not possible.

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.

When getting a credit card, a good rule to follow is to charge only what you know you can pay back. Yes, many companies will require you to pay only a certain minimum amount every month. However, by only paying the minimum amount, the amount you owe will keep adding up.

If your credit card is charging you a high rate of interest on your balance, consider transferring it to a lower interest rate card. This can save you a lot while you are working to pay down that balance. The key is to not charge any more on the old card once you have transferred your balance, or you will end up in a worse financial situation.

Try not to use credit cards for everyday purchases such as groceries, gas, and clothing. These are things you will most likely need again, before you can pay the balance off. You will end up with a pile of credit card debt that will keep on growing. When you need these types of items, leave your credit cards at home.

Now, you should be better prepared to use a consumer credit card in the proper way. When used correctly, credit cards can be a great way to simplify your life, however, when you are irresponsible with credit cards, then they can quickly get out of hand and make your life very complicated.