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.
It is a smart idea to have a couple of credit cards. This can build up a credit score, and this is especially true if you’re able to pay them monthly. You should have no more than three open credit cards. If you have more than three credit cards, it may be more difficult to qualify for a loan.
Read the fine print. We have all been pre-approved for one card or another, but it’s important to understand all of the specifics about that card before accepting it. Know what the real interest rate is, if it goes up after the first year and how much time they allow for payment of it. You should be aware of any and all fees, and be aware of grace periods.
Make sure that you pore over your credit card statement each and every month, to make sure that every single charge on your bill has been authorized by you. Many people fail to do this and it is much harder to fight fraudulent charges after a lot of time has passed.
Emergency, business or travel purposes, is all that a credit card should really be used for. You want to keep credit open for the times when you need it most, not when purchasing luxury items. You never know when an emergency will crop up, so it is best that you are prepared.
If you are not satisfied with the high interest rate on your credit card, but aren’t interested in transferring the balance somewhere else, try negotiating with the issuing bank. You can sometimes get a lower interest rate if you tell the issuing bank that you are considering transferring your balances to a different credit card that offers low-interest transfers. They may lower your rate in order to keep your business!
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.
Stay current on changes to your user terms or conditions. Now days, many credit card companies will change their terms with short notice. The statements that most apply to you are typically hidden within confusing words and phrases. Make sure you read everything so you know what to expect as far as rates and fees are concerned.
If you are having a problem getting a credit card, consider a secured account. A secured credit card will require you to open a savings account before a card is issued. If you ever default on a payment, the money from that account will be used to pay off the card and any late fees. This is a good way to begin establishing credit, so that you have opportunities to get better cards in the future.
It is good practice to check your credit card transactions with your online account to make sure they match up correctly. You do not want to be charged for something you didn’t buy. This is also a great way to check for identity theft or if your card is being used without your knowledge.
Make sure that any websites that you use to make purchases with your credit card are secure. Sites that are secure will have “https” heading the URL instead of “http.” If you do not see that, then you should avoid purchasing anything from that site and try to find another place to buy from.
A great way to save money on credit cards is to spend the time necessary to comparison shop for cards that offer the most advantageous terms. If you have a decent credit history, it is highly likely that you can obtain cards with no annual fee, low interest rates and perhaps, even incentives such as airline miles.
A credit card that is secured with your funds can be a serious help in restoring a damaged credit record. Cards like these need a collateral. Essentially, you’re borrowing your money and then paying interest on the privilege itself. It is probably not the most appealing option in the world but sometimes you have to do this to repair a poor credit score. If you are applying for this type of card, remain with a reputable company. This is because they might offer you the opportunity to get an unsecured one later, which would increase your credit rating.
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.