Is it possible to use credit cards responsibly, or do you feel as though they are only for the fiscally brash? If you believe that it is impossible to use a credit card in a healthy manner, you are mistaken. This article has some great tips on responsible credit usage.
Exercise some caution before you start the process of applying for a credit card offered by a retail store. Whenever retail stores put inquiries on your own credit to see if you qualify for that card, it’s recorded on your report whether you get one or not. If you’re declined by a few retail chains, for example, you can actually hurt your credit rating in the long term.
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.
Always pay credit payments before they are due. This increases your credit score. Late payments can cost you a lot in fees. and in the hit to your credit score. You can save time and money by establishing automatic payments through your bank or credit card company.
Do not use one credit card to pay off the amount owed on another until you check and see which one has the lowest rate. While this is never considered the best thing to do financially, you can occasionally do this to make sure you are not risking getting further into debt.
If you are going to make purchases over the Internet you need to make all of them with the same credit card. You do not want to use all of your cards to make online purchases because that will increase the chances of you becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
If you do a lot of traveling, use one card for all of your travel expenses. If it is for work, this allows you to easily keep track of deductible expenses, and if it is for personal use, you can quickly add up points towards airline travel, hotel stays or even restaurant bills.
Take advantage of the fact that you can get a free credit report yearly from three separate agencies. Make sure to get all three of them, so that you can be sure there is nothing going on with your credit cards that you may have missed. There may be something reflected on one that was not on the others.
Credit cards are often essential for young people or couples. Even if you don’t feel comfortable holding a large amount of credit, it is important to actually have a credit account and have some activity running through it. Opening and using a credit account helps you to build your credit score.
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!
Make sure each month you pay off your credit cards when they are due, and most importantly, in full when possible. If you do not pay them in full each month, you will end up having to have pay finance charges on the unpaid balance, which will end up taking you a long time to pay off the credit cards.
If you find that you cannot pay your credit card balance in full, slow down on how often you use it. Though it’s a problem to get on the wrong track when it comes to your credit cards, the problem will only become worse if you allow it to. Try to stop using your cards for awhile, or at least slow down, so you can avoid owing thousands and falling into financial hardship.
If your credit score is not low, try to find a credit card that does not charge many origination fees, especially a costly annual fee. There are plenty of credit cards out there that do not charge an annual fee. Find one that you can get started with, in a credit relationship that you feel comfortable with the fee.
Don’t forget the things you learned in this article, and you are well on your way to having a healthier financial life which includes responsible credit use. Each of these tips are very useful on their own, but when used in conjunction, you will find your credit health improving significantly.