Credit cards are a great way to build a solid personal credit history, but they can also cause significant turmoil and heartache when used unwisely. Knowledge is key, in terms of building a smart financial strategy that incorporates credit cards. Continue reading, in order to understand how best to utilize credit cards and secure financial well-being for the long term.
If you are in the market for a secured credit card, it is very important that you pay close attention to the fees that are associated with the account, as well as, whether they report to the major credit bureaus. If they do not report, then it is no use having that specific card.
Pay 100% of your credit card bill each month if you can afford it. In a perfect world, you shouldn’t carry a balance on your credit card, using it only for purchases that will be paid off in full monthly. Your credit score will improve by using the credit card, and paying the entire amount owed will keep you from paying any finance charges.
Keep an eye on your credit cards even if you don’t use them very often. If your identity is stolen, and you do not regularly monitor your credit card balances, you may not be aware of this. Check your balances at least once a month. If you see any unauthorized uses, report them to your card issuer immediately.
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!
Live by a zero balance goal, or if you can’t reach zero balance monthly, then maintain the lowest balances you can. Credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control, so go into your credit relationship with the goal to always pay off your bill every month. This is especially important if your cards have high interest rates that can really rack up over time.
Department store cards are tempting, but when trying to improve your credit and keep a great score, you need to keep in mind that you don’t want a credit card for everything. Department store cards can only be used at that specific store. It is their way of getting you to spend more money at that specific location. Get a card that you can use anywhere.
Always pay your credit card bill on time. Paying credit card bills late, can result in addition charges on your next bill, such as late fees and interest charges. In addition to this, late payments can adversely affect your credit score. This can negatively affect your ability to make purchases, and receive loans in the future.
If you can’t pay your credit card balance in full each month, be sure to make at least double the minimum payment until it is paid off. Paying only the minimum will keep you trapped in escalating interest payments for years. Doubling down on the minimum will help to ensure you get out from the debt as soon as possible. Most importantly, stop using your credit cards for anything but emergencies until the existing debt is paid off.
Shop different credit cards before applying to find out the perks each offers. Some offer roadside assistance, while others offer airline perks, like free baggage check. Some will also offer buyer protections, above and beyond what a store offers. Depending on your buying habits, one credit card may offer perks that fit you best.
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 are getting rid of an old credit card, cut up the credit card through the account number. This is especially important, if you are cutting up an expired card and your replacement card has the same account number. As an added security step, consider throwing away the pieces in different trash bags, so that thieves can’t piece the card back together as easily.
It is an excellent idea to open one credit card account that you do not use. Tuck this credit card away for emergency expenses. Exercise discipline in this matter. Your emergency credit card should only be used in real “last resort” situations. If you ever have to use it, pay it off as quickly as possible after the emergency has passed.
Just about everyone has some experience with credit cards, though not every experience is positive. In order to ensure that you are using credit cards in a financially strategic manner, education is critical. Use the ideas and concepts in this piece to make certain that your financial future is bright.