Everyone knows just how powerful and dangerous that credit cards can be. The temptation of massive and instant gratification is always lurking in your wallet, and it only takes one afternoon of not paying attention to slide down that slope. On the other hand, sound strategies, practiced with regularity, become an effortless habit and can protect you. Read on to learn more about some of these ideas.

To make the best decision regarding the best credit card for you, compare what the interest rate is amongst several credit card options. If a card has a high interest rate, it means that you will pay a higher interest expense on your card’s unpaid balance, which can be a real burden on your wallet.

Take advantage of the fact that you can get a free credit report yearly from three separate agencies. Make sure to get all three of them, so that you can be sure there is nothing going on with your credit cards that you may have missed. There may be something reflected on one that was not on the others.

If you have a credit card account and do not want it to be shut down, make sure to use it. Credit card companies are closing credit card accounts for non-usage at an increasing rate. This is because they view those accounts to be lacking in profit, and therefore, not worth retaining. If you don’t want your account to be closed, use it for small purchases, at least once every three months.

Instead of just blindly applying for cards, hoping for approval, and letting credit card companies decide your terms for you, know what you are in for. One way to effectively do this is, to get a free copy of your credit report. This will help you know a ballpark idea of what cards you might be approved for, and what your terms might look like.

Be sure to get assistance, if you’re in over your head with your credit cards. Try contacting Consumer Credit Counseling Service. This nonprofit organization offers many low, or no cost services, to those who need a repayment plan in place to take care of their debt, and improve their overall credit.

Do not use credit cards to buy items that you cannot afford. If you would like a new television, save up some cash for it rather than assume your credit card is the best option. If you cannot pay the charges off at the end of the month, you will pay a lot of interest and may run the risk of not being able to afford the monthly payments. Just leave this store, think about it for a couple of days, and then make a decision. If you are dead set on buying the item, ask the store if they can beat your credit card’s interest rate.

If you don’t have a secure mailbox, don’t order credit cards by mail. Many people that steal credit cards have admitted that they have stolen cards that were delivered and placed in mailboxes that did not have a lock on them.

Keep an eye on your credit report and score. Good credit is considered to be a credit score over 700. Try your best to reach and maintain that score. Keeping your score at 700 or better gives you the chance to take advantage of offers for the lowest interest rates.

Keep track of what you are purchasing with your card, much like you would keep a checkbook register of the checks that you write. It is far too easy to spend spend spend, and not realize just how much you have racked up over a short period of time.

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.

It is a good idea to avoid walking around with any credit cards on you that already have a balance. If the card balance is zero or very close to it, then that is a better idea. Walking around with a card with a large balance will only tempt you to use it and make things worse.

Many times charges for restaurants take longer to arrive on your credit card statement. It leads to spending larger amounts of money because you do not know the current balance and believe it to be lower.

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.

It is a good rule of thumb to have two major credit cards, long-standing, and with low balances reflected on your credit report. You do not want to have a wallet full of credit cards, no matter how good you may be keeping track of everything. While you may be handling yourself well, too many credit cards equals a lower credit score.

Once you close a credit card account, be sure to check your credit report. Make sure that the account that you have closed is registered as a closed account. While checking for that, be sure to look for marks that state late payments. or high balances. That could help you pinpoint identity theft.

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.

As was mentioned earlier, many folks understand just how problematic credit cards can become with one simple lapse of attention. However, the solution to this is developing sound habits that become automatic protective behaviors. Apply what you have learned from this article, to make habits of protective behaviors that will help you.