No one knows more about your own patterns and spending habits than you do. How credit cards affect you is a very personal thing. This article will try to shine a light on credit cards and how you can make the best decisions for yourself, when it comes to using them.
When it is time to make monthly payments on your credit cards, be sure that you pay more than the minimum amount that you are required to pay. If you only pay the small amount required, it will take you longer to pay your debts off and the interest will be steadily increasing.
When you are unable to pay off one of your credit cards, then the best policy is to contact the credit card company. Letting it just go to collections is bad for your credit score. You will find that most companies will let you pay it off in smaller amounts, as long as you don’t keep avoiding them.
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.
Don’t fall for the introductory rates on credit cards when opening a new one. Be sure to ask the creditor what the rate will go up to after, the introductory rate expires. Sometimes, the APR can go up to 20-30% on some cards, an interest rate you definitely don’t want to be paying once your introductory rate goes away.
When you first receive your credit cards, be sure to sign them right away. People who avoid this step leave themselves open to identity theft if the cards should be stolen. Most merchants require that your signature matches your I.D. This can help to ensure no one uses your card unauthorized.
Take advantage of the freebies offered by your credit card company. Many companies have some sort of cash back or points system that is attached to the card you own. When you use these things, you can receive cash or merchandise, just for using your card. If your card does not offer an incentive like this, call your credit card company and ask if it can be added.
Don’t open too many credit card accounts. A single person only needs two or three in his or her name, in order to get a good credit established. More credit cards than this, could actually do more damage than good to your score. Also, having multiple accounts is harder to keep track of and harder to remember to pay on time.
Watch rewards programs. These programs are quite popular with credit cards. You can earn things like cash back, airline miles, or other incentives just for using your credit card. A reward is a nice addition if you’re already planning on using the card, but it may tempt you into charging more than you usually would just to get those bigger rewards.
It is wise to refrain from giving a credit card to a child. It is best to let children wait to get credit cards until they reach the age of 18, or when they can get their own. Instead, consider opening them a checking account and giving them an allowance. This will help them learn to manage a small amount of money so that they will be ready to manage a credit card when the time comes.
Sometimes, when people use their credit cards, they forget that the charges on these cards are just like taking out a loan. You will have to pay back the money that was fronted to you by the the financial institution that gave you the credit card. It is important not to run up credit card bills that are so large that it is impossible for you to pay them back.
Always try to find a credit card that does not charge an annual fee. Some credit cards that charge annual fees try to entice users with bonus offers or cash back incentives. While these types of rewards might be tempting, really think about whether or not they are worth the annual fee you will be forced to pay. In many cases, they are not.
Try to use your credit cards regularly in order to avoid having your account closed down. If credit companies see that you do not use an account, they can close it with very little warning. Just make sure to only charge things that you have the cash to pay, so you can pay balances in full at the end of the billing cycle.
If you are new to the world of personal finance, or you’ve been in it a while, but haven’t managed to get it right yet, this article has given you some great advice. If you apply the information you read here, you should be well on your way to making smarter decisions in the future.