Some individuals panic at the thought of credit cards and potential troubles. However, there is no reason for you to be scared about owning a credit card. After all, credit cards are extremely useful when you find yourself in a situation where you need to buy an item but you don’t have any cash on you. This article will show you some helpful tips to keep in mind when using or applying for credit cards.
Obtain a copy of your credit score, before you begin applying for a credit card. Credit card companies will determine your interest rate and conditions of credit by using your credit history, among other factors. Checking your credit score before you apply, will allow you to make sure you are getting the best rate possible.
Keep track of how much money you are spending when using a credit card. Small, incidental purchases can add up quickly, and it is important to know how much you have spend on them, so you can understand how much you owe. You can keep track with a check register, spreadsheet program, or even with an online option offered by many credit card companies.
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.
If possible, pay your credit cards in full, every month. Use them for normal expenses, such as, gasoline and groceries and then, proceed to pay off the balance at the end of the month. This will build your credit and help you to gain rewards from your card, without accruing interest or sending you into debt.
Check your credit report regularly. By law, you are allowed to check your credit score once a year from the three major credit agencies. This may be often enough, if you use credit sparingly and always pay on time. You may want to spend the extra money, and check more often if you carry a lot of credit card debt.
It should be obvious, but many people fail to follow the simple tip of paying your credit card bill on time each month. Late payments can reflect poorly on your credit report, you may also be charged hefty penalty fees, if you don’t pay your bill on time.
Try setting up a monthly, automatic payment for your credit cards, in order to avoid late fees. The amount you need for your payment can be automatically withdrawn from your bank account and it will take the worry out of getting your monthly payment in on time. It can also save money on stamps!
Compare rewards programs before you choose a credit card company. If you plan to use your credit card for a large percentage of your purchases, a rewards program can save you a great deal of money. Every rewards programs is different, it would be best, to research each one before you make a decision.
Keep the total number of credit cards you use to an absolute minimum. Carrying balances on multiple credit cards can complicate your life needlessly. Shift your debt onto the card with the lowest interest. You will be able to keep better track of your debts and pay them off faster if you stick with a single credit card.
Your oldest credit card is the one that affects your credit report the most. Do not close this account unless the cost of keeping it open is too high. If you are paying an annual fee, ridiculous interest rates, or something similar, then close the account. Otherwise, keep that one open, as it can be the most beneficial to your credit score.
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.
By following the advice in this article, you should be better prepared to use your credit card smartly. Credit cards are useful when used properly, so it is unnecessary to fear them. If you follow the advice that was in this article, using your credit card responsibly will be easy.