What kinds of feelings come to mind when you hear the words “credit cards?” If you are like many other Americans, you probably feel anxious and nervous when you hear these two words put together. This fear and anxiety will pass, however, as soon as you arm yourself with proper information.
If you notice a fraudulent charge on your credit card, report it immediately. This allows the credit card issuer the best opportunity to find the offender. This will also allow you to be sure that you aren’t responsible for the charges they made. All it takes is a quick email or phone call to notify the issuer of your credit card and keep yourself protected.
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 find that you have spent more on your credit cards than you can repay, seek help to manage your credit card debt. It is easy to get carried away, especially around the holidays, and spend more than you intended. There are many credit card consumer organizations, that can help get you back on track.
It is important for people not to purchase items that they cannot afford with credit cards. Just because an item is within your credit card limit, does not mean you can afford it. Make sure anything you buy with your card can be paid off by the end of the month.
If you are determined to stop using credit cards, cutting them up is not necessarily the best way to do it. Just because the card is gone doesn’t mean the account is no longer open. If you get desperate, you may ask for a new card to use on that account, and get trapped in the same cycle of charging you wanted to get out of in the first place!
It may seem unnecessary to many people, but be sure to save receipts for the purchases that you make on your credit card. Take the time each month to be sure that the receipts match up to your credit card statement. It will help you manage your charges, as well as, help you catch unjust charges.
You need to pay more than the minimum payment each month. If you aren’t paying more than the minimum payment you will never be able to pay down your credit card debt. If you have an emergency, then you could end up using all your available credit. So, each month try to send in a little extra money in order to pay down the debt.
Don’t open too many credit card accounts. A single person only needs two or three in his or her name, in order to get a good credit established. More credit cards than this, could actually do more damage than good to your score. Also, having multiple accounts is harder to keep track of and harder to remember to pay on time.
If you are shopping around for secured cards, stay away from prepaid cards. These are actually debit cards, and they do not report to the major credit bureaus. It’s common for them to charge additional fees even though they aren’t anything more than an extra checking account. Make a deposit to get a secured credit card which reports to credit bureaus and can improve your credit rating.
To avoid interest charges, don’t treat your credit card as you would an ATM card. Don’t get in the habit of charging every single item that you buy. Doing so, will only pile on charges to your bill, you may get an unpleasant surprise, when you receive that monthly credit card bill.
Check with your credit card company, to learn if you can set up, and automatic payment each month. Many companies will allow you to automatically pay the full amount, minimum payment, or set amount out of your checking account each month. This will ensure that your payment is always made on time.
In recent years, there have been several new credit card laws enacted, and the wise consumer will familiarize himself with them. Creditors are not allowed to raise rates retroactively. They are also never allowed to double-cycle their billing practices. Familiarize yourself with the laws. Two primary changes that have occurred in recent years involve the Fair Credit Billing Act and the CARD Act.
How do you feel about credit cards now? Do you feel more confident on how to use them? If so, then great, but if not, that simply means you need to continue educating yourself. By learning all that you can about credit cards, you will feel better about using them.