There can be no doubt that credit cards have the potential to be either useful financial vehicles or dangerous temptations that undermine your financial future. In order to make credit cards work for you, it is important to understand how to use them intelligently. Keep these tips in mind, and a solid financial future can be yours.
When you are unable to pay off one of your credit cards, then the best policy is to contact the credit card company. Letting it just go to collections is bad for your credit score. You will find that most companies will let you pay it off in smaller amounts, as long as you don’t keep avoiding them.
Immediately report any fraudulent charges on a credit card. If you do so, it will be more likely that the thief is caught. Also, by notifying the credit card company immediately, you can ensure that you aren’t in any way responsible for the charges. The minute you notice a charge that could be fraud, an email or phone call to the credit card provider can commence the dispute process.
Never let anyone else use a credit card that is in your name. Even if a close friend needs to use one, don’t do it. This can lead to overcharges and unauthorized spending.
Look into whether a balance transfer will benefit you. Yes, balance transfers can be very tempting. The rates and deferred interest often offered by credit card companies are typically substantial. But if it is a large sum of money you are considering transferring, then the high interest rate normally tacked onto the back end of the transfer may mean that you actually pay more over time than if you had kept your balance where it was. Do the math before jumping in.
Avoid prepaid cards if you are looking to get a secured credit card. This is nothing more than a debit card and won’t affect your credit rating. Prepaid debit cards do little for you besides provide you with an additional checking account, and many prepaid debit companies charge high fees. Put down a deposit and get yourself an actual secured credit card so that it reports to the credit bureaus, improving your score.
Having outstanding balances that exceed your ability to pay may ultimately result in harm to your credit record. Should this occur, you will have great difficulty when you apply for an apartment, insurance or anything else, including quite possibly a job.
When deciding which credit card is best for you, be sure to take its reward program into consideration. For example, some companies may offer travel assistance or roadside protection, which could come in handy at some point. Inquire about the details of the reward program prior to committing to a card.
Be aware that you can still have a credit card, even if your credit is not up to par. There are basically two choices to pick from. You could either get yourself a secured card or sign up to be an authorized user on the credit card of a family member or partner.
If you choose that you no longer want to use a particular credit card, be sure to pay it off, and cancel it. You should close the account so you can no longer be tempted to charge anything on it. It will help you to lower your amount of available debt. This is helpful in the situation, that you are applying for any kind of a loan.
Credit cards can offer convenience, flexibility and control when used appropriately. If you want to understand the role credit cards can play in a smart financial plan, you need to take the time to research the topic thoroughly. The advice in this piece offers a great starting point for building a secure financial profile.