What kinds of feelings come to mind when you hear the words “credit cards?” If you are like many other Americans, you probably feel anxious and nervous when you hear these two words put together. This fear and anxiety will pass, however, as soon as you arm yourself with proper information.
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.
Know how closing a credit card will affect you before you do it. There are things that can happen that negatively affect your credit score when you close a credit card account. If your card has been around awhile, you should probably hold on to it as it is responsible for your credit history.
In terms of a retail store’s credit options, you should never get a card with them unless you’re a loyal, regular customer. Every time you apply for a retail credit card, an inquiry is noted on your credit report. Too many retail store inquiries will cause a hit to your credit score.
You should contact your creditor, if you know that you will not be able to pay your monthly bill on time. Many people do not let their credit card company know and end up paying very large fees. Some creditors will work with you, if you let them know the situation ahead of time and they may even end up waiving any late fees.
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.
Do not accept the first credit card offer that you receive, regardless of how good it sounds. While you may be tempted to jump on an offer, you do not want to take any chances that you will end up signing up for a card and then, seeing a better deal shortly after from another company.
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.
Never let anyone else use a credit card that is in your name. Even though a good friend might have a need, it is never a good decision to lend it to anyone. It can lead to over-limit charges if your friend should put more on the card than you had authorized them to.
Verify the legitimacy of an online seller before using your credit card on their site. Try out any telephone numbers they have listed, and if there is no address listed for the seller, treat this with suspicion.
Look into the rewards that credit card companies offer. Find one that is going to pay you for making purchases on their card. If you are trying to maximize the rewards, charge everything you can on the card, but be sure to put enough cash back to pay the card off each month, in order to avoid losing your rewards to interest fees.
If you go to make a purchase with your credit card and you are told that there will a surcharge for using that payment method, you can refuse to pay it and demand they accept your purchase. Many credit card companies do not allow merchants to impose fees, so you should check out the policies of your card company.
While secured cards can prove beneficial for boosting your credit, don’t use any prepaid cards. These are considered debit cards so they don’t report to any of the credit bureaus. Many prepaid card providers also charge extortionate fees for each transaction. Place a deposit and get a proper secured credit card which will report to all major credit bureaus and raise your credit score.
It is important to always review the charges, and credits that have posted to your credit card account. Whether you choose to verify your account activity online, by reading paper statements, or making certain that all charges and payments are reflected accurately, you can avoid costly errors or unnecessary battles with the card issuer.
How do you feel about credit cards now? Do you feel more confident on how to use them? If so, then great, but if not, that simply means you need to continue educating yourself. By learning all that you can about credit cards, you will feel better about using them.