Credit cards are almost a necessity of modern life, but the easy credit that they offer can get many people in trouble. Knowing how to use credit cards responsibly is a key part of your financial education. The tips in this article will help make sure that you do not abuse your credit cards.
Card issuers designate minimum payments so that they stand a better chance of maximizing the profits they make on interest charges. Always pay as much as possible in excess of the minimum payment. Avoid paying interest fees for long periods of time.
Emergency, business or travel purposes, is all that a credit card should really be used for. You want to keep credit open for the times when you need it most, not when purchasing luxury items. You never know when an emergency will crop up, so it is best that you are prepared.
Don’t pay any fees upfront when you are getting a credit card. The legitimate card issuers will not ask for any money up front, unless you’re getting a secured credit card. When you are applying for a secured card, be sure to find out how the deposit is going to be used.
Credit cards should always be kept below a specific amount. This total depends on the amount of income your family has, but most experts agree that you should not be using more than ten percent of your cards total at any time. This helps insure you don’t get in over your head.
If you need to use credit cards, it is best to use one credit card with a larger balance, than 2, or 3 with lower balances. The more credit cards you own, the lower your credit score will be. Use one card, and pay the payments on time to keep your credit score healthy!
Take the time to play around with numbers. Before you go out and put a pair of fifty dollar shoes on your credit card, sit with a calculator and figure out the interest costs. It may make you second-think the idea of buying those shoes that you think you need.
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.
It is good credit card practice to pay your full balance at the end of each month. This will force you to charge only what you can afford, and reduces the amount of interest you carry from month to month which can add up to some major savings down the line.
There are many different kinds of credit cards that each come with their own pros and cons. Before you settle on a bank or specific credit card to use, be sure to understand all of the fine print and hidden fees related to the different credit cards you have available to you.
Make sure that you watch your statements closely. If you see charges that should not be on there, or that you feel you were charged incorrectly for, call customer service. If you cannot get anywhere with customer service, ask politely to speak to the retention team, in order for you to get the assistance you need.
A great tip for saving on today’s high gas prices is to get a reward card from the grocery store where you do business. These days, many stores have gas stations, as well and offer discounted gas prices, if you sign up to use their customer reward cards. Sometimes, you can save up to twenty cents per gallon.
Just because you made a purchase, does not mean you should immediately pay it off the moment you return home. Instead, wait until the card statement comes; then pay off the whole balance. Your payment history will look better, and your credit score will improve.
Make sure your balance is manageable. If you charge more without paying off your balance, you risk getting into major debt. Interest makes your balance grow, which can make it difficult to get it caught up. Just paying your minimum due means you will be paying off the cards for many months or years, depending on your balance.
If you use your credit cards to pay for gas, do not run too close to your spending limit if you have a purchase coming up. Many gas stations will put a $75 hold on your credit card for a few days, eating up your available space, meaning you can not charge other things.
Having access to credit makes it much easier to manage your finances, but as you have seen, you need to do so with care. It is all too easy to over-extend yourself with your credit cards. Keep the tips you have learned from this article in mind, so that you can be a responsible credit card user.