Credit cards can be a wonderful financial tool that enables us to make online purchases or buy things that we wouldn’t otherwise have the cash on hand for. Smart consumers know how to best use credit cards without getting in too deep, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and that’s really easy to do with credit cards. Keep reading for some solid advice on how to best use your credit cards.
Be safe when giving out your credit card information. If you like to order things online with it, then you have to be sure the website is secure. If you notice charges that you didn’t make, call the customer service number for the credit card company. They can help deactivate your card and make it unusable, until they mail you a new one with a new account number.
Ensure you don’t overspend by carefully tracking your spending habits. Noting down your credit card expenditures on paper or a spreadsheet will make you less likely to start spending money you cannot afford to repay.
Avoid being the victim of credit card fraud by keeping your credit card safe at all times. Pay special attention to your card when you are using it at a store. Double check to make sure you have returned your card to your wallet or purse, when the purchase is finished.
Never give out your credit card number to anyone, unless you are the person that has initiated the transaction. If someone calls you on the phone asking for your card number in order to pay for anything, you should ask them to give you a way to contact them, so that you can arrange the payment at a better 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.
Every time you decide to apply for a new credit card, your credit report is checked and an “inquiry” is made. This stays on your credit report for up to two years and too many inquiries, brings your credit score down. Therefore, before you start wildly applying for different cards, research the market first and choose a few select options.
Do not use your credit cards to make emergency purchases. Many people believe that this is the best use of credit cards, but the best use is actually for things that you purchase on a regular basis, like groceries. The key is, to only charge things that you will be able to pay back in a timely manner.
It is important for people not to purchase items that they cannot afford with credit cards. Just because an item is within your credit card limit, does not mean you can afford it. Make sure anything you buy with your card can be paid off by the end of the month.
Make sure that you do not order any credit cards in the mail if you do not have a lock on your mailbox. It is common for thieves to steal credit cards from unlocked mailboxes. To prevent this, make sure your credit cards are mailed only to secured mail boxes.
You should try and limit the number of credit cards that are in your name. Too many credit cards is not good for your credit score. Having several different cards can also make it more difficult to keep track of your finances from month to month. Try and keep your credit card count between two and four.
Many people, especially when they are younger, feel like credit cards are a type of free money. The fact is, they are exactly the opposite, paid money. Remember, every time you use your credit card, you are basically taking out a micro-loan with incredibly high interest. Never forget that you must repay this loan.
With your credit cards bills, it is important that you make payment no later than your monthly due date. If you pay your credit card bill late, you may be assessed a late payment fee. Paying your bill late can also cause the percentage of interest to be raised on your unpaid balance. These actions will negatively affect your credit score.
Compare the features of each credit card before you choose one. Some credit cards offer cash back on purchases and others, have great rewards programs. For example, if you travel a great deal, you may want a credit card that gives you points for each purchase towards airline miles or hotel discounts.
As stated previously, credit cards can be quite useful, but they can also hurt us when we don’t use them right. Hopefully, this article has given you some sensible advice and useful tips on the best way to use your credit cards and manage your financial future, with as few mistakes as possible!