Smart management of credit cards is an integral part of any sound personal finance plan. The key to accomplishing this critical goal is arming yourself with knowledge. Put the tips in the article that follows to work today, and you will be off to a great start in building a strong future.
Many people wonder if it is better to have one credit card or many. For most people, it is best to have two or three credit cards open. That works to build a stable credit history, particularly if you repay balances in full each month. But, if you have over three cards open, creditors may look upon that fact unfavorably.
By keeping track of all your credit card purchases, this will help you from spending more money than you can actually afford. Unless you track your purchases, it’s easy to spend way too much.
When you are getting your first credit card, or any card for that matter, make sure you pay close attention to the payment schedule, interest rate, and all terms and conditions. Many people neglect to read this information, but it is definitely to your benefit if you take the time to read through it.
A lot of companies offer large bonuses for new customers. Pay close attention to the fine print so that you actually qualify for the promised bonus. One of the most common terms is that you spend a set amount of money in a set period.
If you have credit cards be sure to check your monthly statements thoroughly for errors. Everyone makes errors, and this applies to credit card companies as well. To prevent from paying for something you did not purchase you should save your receipts through the month and then compare them to your statement.
An important aspect of smart credit card usage is to pay the entire outstanding balance, each and every month, whenever possible. By keeping your usage percentage low, you will help keep your overall credit score high, as well as, keep a substantial amount of available credit open for use in case of emergencies.
Pay your minimum payment on time each month, to avoid more fees. If you can afford to, pay more than the minimum payment so that you can reduce the interest fees. Just be sure to pay the minimum amount before the due date.
Be sure to study your credit card terms closely prior to making your first purchase. When you make your first purchase on a new credit card, the credit card company will usually consider your purchase as your acceptance to their terms. It may be fine print, but it is still very important.
If you have a credit card, add it into your monthly budget. Budget a specific amount that you are financially able to put on the card each month, and then pay that amount off at the end of the month. Try not to let your credit card balance ever get above that amount. This is a great way to always pay your credit cards off in full, allowing you to build a great credit score.
Don’t use your credit cards to purchase items that you can’t afford. You might want a flat-screen television, but that doesn’t mean that you should use your credit card to buy it. You will pay a lot of interest and monthly payments that you could not pay for. Make a habit of waiting 48 hours before making any large purchases on your card. If you still want the item, see if the store offers in house financing with better rates.
There should not be any blank spaces left when you putting a signature on a credit slip in stores. If your receipt includes a space for indicating a tip, it’s a good idea for you to zero it out or line through it so that an unauthorized amount does not appear on your final bill. Additionally, it’s a good idea to verify the information from all receipts with your monthly statement.
If you can’t get a credit card because of a spotty credit record, then take heart. There are still some options that may be quite workable for you. A secured credit card is much easier to get and may help you rebuild your credit record very effectively. With a secured card, you deposit a set amount into a savings account with a bank or lending institution – often about $500. That amount becomes your collateral for the account, which makes the bank willing to work with you. You use the card as a normal credit card, keeping expenses under that limit. As you pay your monthly bills responsibly, the bank may decide to raise your limit and eventually convert the account to a traditional credit card.
Using credit cards wisely is an essential aspect of being a smart consumer. It is necessary to educate yourself thoroughly in the ways credit cards work and how they can become useful tools. By using the guidelines in this piece, you can have what it takes to seize control of your own financial fortunes.