Credit cards have gotten a very bad rap over the last few years. This article will show you how credit cards can be used to your advantage, how to keep from making mistakes that can cost you, and most importantly, how to get yourself out of trouble if you’ve already waded in too deep.

It’s useful credit practice to continuously keep two or three active credit cards. Having two or three cards will help you to improve your credit rating. However, if you open more than three, it may not look good to a lender when they pull your credit bureau report.

Try your best to stay within 30 percent of the credit limit that is set on your card. Part of your credit score is made up of assessing the amount of debt that you have. By staying far under your limit, you will help your rating and make sure it does not start to dip.

Credit card companies calculate their minimum payments so that you can pay a small amount and let them earn a large amount of interest from you over time. Every dollar over your minimum payment goes to pay off your balance, so always pay a higher amount than the credit card company asks you to pay. Over time, this will help you to avoid paying so much out in interest.

Make sure you know what your interest rate will be with a given credit card. It’s vital that you know what the interest rate is before signing up for a credit card. If you take a card with a high interest rate, you could pay two or three times the cost of your original purchase over time. If you are paying a high interest rate, you might not ever be able to pay the bill completely every month.

If you want a card but don’t have credit, you might need a co-signer. This can be anyone who trusts you, like a relative or close friend. It’s important to know that being a co-signer means that person is liable for the credit card bill in full if you don’t pay it. This is one of the best ways to land your first card and start building a good credit score.

If you are not satisfied with the high interest rate on your credit card, but aren’t interested in transferring the balance somewhere else, try negotiating with the issuing bank. You can sometimes get a lower interest rate if you tell the issuing bank that you are considering transferring your balances to a different credit card that offers low-interest transfers. They may lower your rate in order to keep your business!

As a general rule, you should avoid applying for any credit cards that come with any type of free offer. More often than not, anything that you get free with credit card applications will always come with some sort of catch or hidden costs that you are sure to regret later on down the road.

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.

Only spend what you could afford to pay for in cash. The benefit of using a card rather than cash, or a debit card, is that it establishes credit, which you will need to get a loan in the future. By only spending what you can afford to pay for in cash, you will never get into debt that you can’t get out of.

The credit card that you use to make purchases is very important and you should try to use one that has a very small limit. This is good because it will limit the amount of funds that a thief will have access to.

Don’t believe that interest rates they offer you are concrete and are staying that way. Since credit card companies compete with one another, they all have the option of changing your interest rate to another one of their standard rates to keep you satisfied. If you are not happy with your interest rate, call your bank and ask them to change it.

If you do a lot of traveling, use one card for all of your travel expenses. If it is for work, this allows you to easily keep track of deductible expenses, and if it is for personal use, you can quickly add up points towards airline travel, hotel stays or even restaurant bills.

If you find that you cannot pay your credit card balance in full, slow down on how often you use it. Though it’s a problem to get on the wrong track when it comes to your credit cards, the problem will only become worse if you allow it to. Try to stop using your cards for awhile, or at least slow down, so you can avoid owing thousands and falling into financial hardship.

When looking for a new card, it is very important to comparison shop and try to find a card that is offering great deals to new customers. Using a card that offers points or airline miles is great because you will be able to get a bit of an incentive, every time you use your card.

Always verify your charges and fees to make sure they are accurate instead of simply focusing on interest rates. There may be applications fees, cash advance fees and other service charges that make the card not worth getting.

Some people need help getting out of a jam that they have created, and others are trying to avoid the pitfalls that they know are out there. Regardless of which camp you came from, this article has shown you the best ways to use credit cards and avoid the deep debt that comes along with them.