There can be no doubt that credit cards have the potential to be either useful financial vehicles or dangerous temptations that undermine your financial future. In order to make credit cards work for you, it is important to understand how to use them intelligently. Keep these tips in mind, and a solid financial future can be yours.
Consumers should shop around for credit cards before settling on one. Many different credit cards are available, each offering a different interest rate, annual fee, and some, even offering bonus features. By shopping around, an individual can find one that best meets their needs. They can also get the best deal when it comes to using their credit card.
Be sure to limit the number of credit cards you hold. Having too many credit cards with balances can do a lot of harm to your credit. Many people think they would only be given the amount of credit that is based on their earnings, but this is not true.
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.
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.
Take a look at the fine print. If you have a pre-approved credit offer, or if someone claims they can assist you in getting a card, gather all the details first. Know the percent of your interest rate, as well as the length of time you will have to pay for it. You should also ensure you have a complete understanding of any fees as well as grace periods associated with the credit card.
If you have credit cards be sure to check your monthly statements thoroughly for errors. Everyone makes errors, and this applies to credit card companies as well. To prevent from paying for something you did not purchase you should save your receipts through the month and then compare them to your statement.
When getting a premium card you should verify whether or not there are annual fees attached to it, since they can be pretty pricey. Annual fees for platinum or black cards could be in the range of $100 to $1,000 depending on the exclusivity of the card. If you do not need the perks associated with these cards, don’t pay the annual fee.
If you find that you have spent more on your credit cards than you can repay, seek help to manage your credit card debt. It is easy to get carried away, especially around the holidays, and spend more than you intended. There are many credit card consumer organizations, that can help get you back on track.
If you have poor credit and want to repair it, consider a pre-paid credit card. This type of credit card can usually be found at your local bank. You can only use the money that you have loaded onto the card, but it is used as a real credit card, with payments and statements. By making regular payments, you will be repairing your credit and raising your credit score.
Be careful when you use a credit card on the Internet. When applying or doing anything with credit cards online, always verify that the website you are on is secure. Secure sites protect your card information from being stolen. Also, ignore emails that ask for credit card information, these are attempt to get your information.
If you do a lot of traveling, use one card for all of your travel expenses. If it is for work, this allows you to easily keep track of deductible expenses, and if it is for personal use, you can quickly add up points towards airline travel, hotel stays or even restaurant bills.
Never send credit card numbers via fax. Faxes are sometimes not picked up as soon as they are received, which gives many people ample opportunity to get at the information. If any of those people is a thief, you are in trouble. This opens you up to fraudulent activity and all of the problems that come with it.
Credit cards can offer convenience, flexibility and control when used appropriately. If you want to understand the role credit cards can play in a smart financial plan, you need to take the time to research the topic thoroughly. The advice in this piece offers a great starting point for building a secure financial profile.