Having credit cards requires discipline. When used mindlessly, you can run up huge bills on nonessential expenses, in the blink of an eye. However, properly managed, credit cards can mean good credit scores and rewards. Read on for some ideas on how to pick up some good habits, so that you can make sure that you use your cards and they do not use you.
Don’t fall for the introductory rates on credit cards when opening a new one. Be sure to ask the creditor what the rate will go up to after, the introductory rate expires. Sometimes, the APR can go up to 20-30% on some cards, an interest rate you definitely don’t want to be paying once your introductory rate goes away.
Be sure that you only use your credit card on a secure server, when making purchases online to keep your credit safe. When you input your credit card information on servers that are not secure, you are allowing any hacker to access your information. To be safe, be sure that the website starts with the “https” in its url.
It is good to keep in mind that credit card companies are not your friends when you look at minimum monthly payments. They set minimum payments in order to maximize the amount of interest you pay them. Never pay just the minimum payment. By doing this, you can prevent large interest fees in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t buy things that you can’t pay for on a credit card. Just because your credit limit is high enough to cover that flat-screen television you eyed at the store, does not mean it is within your budget. Remember that the charge will result in the necessary payment of interest, and it might even result in late fees being added to your account when you cannot afford to make an appropriate payment. Leave before buying anything, think it through and then return if you want to buy it. If you are still set on buying it, you are probably eligible for the store’s financing program that will save you money in interest over the credit card company.
Learn how to manage your credit card online. Most credit card companies now have online resources where you can oversee your daily credit actions. These resources give you more power than you have ever had before over your credit, including, knowing very quickly, whether your identity has been compromised.
While it may be tempting for credit card users to make payments immediately after using their card, it isn’t always the best option. Instead, wait until the card statement comes; then pay off the whole balance. This helps your credit score and gives you a better payment history.
If you pay your credit card bill with a check each month, make sure you send that check out as soon as you get your bill so that you avoid any finance charges or late payment fees. This is good practice and will help you create a good payment history too.
To avoid excessive fees, always read the fine print of any credit card offer you are considering. Many offers come with a low introductory APR and can be quite enticing. However, further review of the fine print may reveal that that low rate will be increased to a less than appealing rate in as little as 6 months or a year.
Keep multiple credit card accounts open. Having multiple credit cards will keep your credit score healthy, as long as you pay on them consistently. The key to keeping a healthy credit score with multiple credit cards is to use them responsibly. If you do not, you could end up hurting your credit score.
Even if you cannot make your minimum monthly payment on a credit card, you should pay something. No matter how modest the amount, this will tell your credit card company that you are trying to deal fairly with them. If your problems continue, you will find your company more inclined to work with you if you have been making at least some payments.
If you feel like your credit card balances are getting out of control then get before you get to far in debt. There are many helpful services which can help such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service. CCCS is a non-profit organization that provides cost effective services to consumers who need a plan to repay their debts and get their credit score higher.
Having the right habits and proper behaviors, takes the risk and stress out of credit cards. If you apply what you have learned from this article, you can use them as tools towards a better life. Otherwise, they can be a temptation that you will eventually succumb to and then regret it.