There is no denying the fact that credit cards can indeed, be part of a smart financial strategy. The important thing to remember is that they must be used wisely and deliberately. By using the ideas in this piece, you will arm yourself with the information necessary to make the types of decisions that will pave the way to a secure financial future for you and your loved ones.
Be wary of late payment charges. Many of the credit companies out there now charge high fees for making late payments. Most of them will also increase your interest rate to the highest legal interest rate. Before you choose a credit card company, be sure that you are fully aware of their policy regarding late payments.
Only if you regularly shop at a certain store should you think about applying for a store credit card. When a retail store inserts an inquiry onto your credit in order to qualify you for a card, this is recorded onto your credit report regardless of whether you actually open up the card. Repeated applications for credit could negatively affect your overall 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.
Sometimes cards are connected to all types of rewards accounts. If you use credit cards often, try to find a card with a great loyalty program. This can provide you with extra income, airfare, or other rewards, if you use the card wisely.
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!
Make sure that you watch your statements closely. If you see charges that should not be on there, or that you feel you were charged incorrectly for, call customer service. If you cannot get anywhere with customer service, ask politely to speak to the retention team, in order for you to get the assistance you need.
If you can’t get a credit card because of a spotty credit record, then take heart. There are still some options that may be quite workable for you. A secured credit card is much easier to get and may help you rebuild your credit record very effectively. With a secured card, you deposit a set amount into a savings account with a bank or lending institution – often about $500. That amount becomes your collateral for the account, which makes the bank willing to work with you. You use the card as a normal credit card, keeping expenses under that limit. As you pay your monthly bills responsibly, the bank may decide to raise your limit and eventually convert the account to a traditional credit card.
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.
Read the fine print to determine what conditions may affect your interest rate as they can change. The credit card industry is a competition, and all credit card companies have different interest rates that they can use. You can contact the band and request a lower interest rate, if you think it is too high.
Never close your accounts. You might think that by doing so you will help your overall credit score, but you might actually hurt it instead. This is because you are actually subtracting from the total amount of credit you have, which then lowers the ratio between that and what you owe.
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.
It can be tempting to use credit cards to purchase things that you cannot, in reality, afford. That is not to say, however, that credit cards do not have legitimate uses in the broader scheme of a personal finance plan. Take the tips in this article seriously, and you stand a good chance of building an impressive financial foundation.