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.
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.
Before you decide on a new credit card, be careful to read the fine print. Credit card companies have been in business for many years now, and know of ways to make more money at your expense. Be sure to read the contract in full, before signing to be sure that you are not agreeing to something that will harm you in the future.
If you have several credit cards with balances on each, consider transferring all of your balances to one, lower-interest credit card. Almost everyone gets mail from various banks offering low or even zero balance credit cards if you transfer your current balances. These lower interest rates usually last for 6 months or a year. You can save a lot of interest and have one lower payment each month!
It is important that you have a good credit score if you desire a good credit card. The credit card issuing agents use your credit score to determine the interest rates and incentives they will offer you in a card. In order to get accepted for credit cards that have low interest rates, lucrative reward schemes and low fees, you need to have a stellar credit score.
Each month when you receive your statement, take the time to look over it. Check all the information for accuracy. A merchant may have accidentally charged a different amount or may have submitted a double payment. You may also find that someone accessed your card and went on a shopping spree. Immediately report any inaccuracies to the credit card company.
An important tip for saving money on gas is to never carry a balance on a gas credit card or when charging gas on another credit card. Plan to pay it off each month, otherwise, you will not only pay today’s outrageous gas prices, but interest on the gas, as well.
If anyone calls and asks for your card number, tell them no. This is used by scammers all the time. Only give you credit card information out to trusted companies you have contacted. Never provide this number to someone who calls you. Regardless of who they say they are, you cannot be sure.
You may want to consider using layaway, instead of credit cards during the holiday season. Credit cards traditionally, will cause you to incur a higher expense than layaway fees. This way, you will only spend what you can actually afford during the holidays. Making interest payments over a year on your holiday shopping will end up costing you far more than you may realize.
Never close the account. Although you may think this will improve your credit, it could actually hurt your credit score. When you close an account, the amount of overall credit you have is lowered, and this could make your current lending ratio percentage higher.
Find out if the interest rate on a new card is the regular rate, or if it is offered as part of a promotion. Many people do not realize that the rate that they see at first is promotional, and that the real interest rate may be a significant amount more than that.
Use a credit card that offers rewards. Not every credit card company offers rewards, so you need to choose wisely. Reward points can be earned on every purchase, or for making purchases in certain categories. There are many different rewards including air miles, cash back or merchandise. Be wary though because some of these cards charge a fee.
There are so many cards available that you should avoid signing up with any company that charges you a monthly fee just for having the card. This will end up being very costly and might end up making you owe much more money to the company, than you can comfortably afford.
Never make the mistake of not paying credit card payments, because you can’t afford them. Any payment is better than nothing, that shows you truly want to make good on your debt. Not to mention that delinquent debt can end up in collections, where you will incur extra finance charges. This can also ruin your credit for years to come!
If have a missing or stolen credit card, report it as soon as possible to the card issuers. Several companies have a 24-hour service and toll free number on their statement for this reason. To protect yourself, after calling, write a letter to every issuer. The letter should provide your card’s number, the date it went missing, and the date it was reported.
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.