Credit cards are a ubiquitous part of most people’s financial picture. While they can certainly be extremely useful, they can also pose serious risk, if not used properly. Let the ideas in this article play a major role in your daily financial decisions, and you will be on your way to building a strong financial foundation.
Consumers should shop around for credit cards before settling on one. Many different credit cards are available, each offering a different interest rate, annual fee, and some, even offering bonus features. By shopping around, an individual can find one that best meets their needs. They can also get the best deal when it comes to using their credit card.
Always pay credit payments before they are due. This increases your credit score. Late payments involve fees and damage your credit. It can be very helpful to set up some kind of automatic payment schedule through your bank or credit card company.
Always pay off your entire credit card balance each month if possible. You should view credit cards as a convenience form of payment, and budget the full payoff each month. Avoid finance charges by paying the balance in full and improve your credit rating at the same time.
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.
If you have a credit card account and do not want it to be shut down, make sure to use it. Credit card companies are closing credit card accounts for non-usage at an increasing rate. This is because they view those accounts to be lacking in profit, and therefore, not worth retaining. If you don’t want your account to be closed, use it for small purchases, at least once every three months.
Be sure to get assistance, if you’re in over your head with your credit cards. Try contacting Consumer Credit Counseling Service. This nonprofit organization offers many low, or no cost services, to those who need a repayment plan in place to take care of their debt, and improve their overall credit.
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.
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.
Don’t make any credit purchases with suspicious vendors. Check to see if the company has posted a physical address on the site for their operations. You might also want to call phone numbers listed on the website to verify they are still active.
Keep track of what you are purchasing with your card, much like you would keep a checkbook register of the checks that you write. It is far too easy to spend spend spend, and not realize just how much you have racked up over a short period of time.
Never apply for more credit cards than you actually need. It’s true that you need a few credit cards to help build your credit, but there is a point at which the amount of credit cards you have is actually detrimental to your credit score. Be mindful to find that happy medium.
Prepaid cards should be avoided when you are seeking a secured credit card. Prepaid cards are essentially debit cards, so your activity with them does not improve your credit. Oftentimes, there are extra fees charges for this. Place a deposit and get a proper secured credit card which will report to all major credit bureaus and raise your credit score.
When you close out a credit card, make certain to destroy any cards. It isn’t a good idea to toss it in a drawer or allow your child to use it as a toy, even if the account is closed. Someone could still glean information about you from the card, open another account in your name, and start racking up debt.
Just about everyone has used a credit card at some point in their life. The impact that this fact has had on an individual’s overall financial picture, likely depends on the manner in which they utilized this financial tool. By using the tips in this piece, it is possible to maximize the positive that credit cards represent and minimize their danger.