Some people view credit cards suspiciously, as if these pieces of plastic can magically destroy their finances without their consent. The truth is, however, credit cards are only dangerous if you don’t know how to use them properly. Read on to learn how to protect your credit if you are using credit cards.
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.
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.
When making purchases with your credit cards you should stick to buying items that you need instead of buying those that you want. Buying luxury items with credit cards is one of the easiest ways to get into debt. If it is something that you can live without you should avoid charging it.
Most people don’t handle credit cards the right way. Debt is not always avoidable, but many people overcharge, which results in payments that they cannot afford. You should always pay your full balance each month. This will help you establish credit and improve your credit rating.
Paying annual fees on a credit card can be a mistake; make sure to understand if your card requires these. Some exclusive credit cards require you to pay between $100 and $1,000 per year to keep the card, depending on exactly how exclusive the card is. If you have no need for such an exclusive card, you may wish to avoid the fees associated with them.
Create a budget plan that you are able to follow. Just because you have a limit on your credit card that the company has given you does not mean that you have to max it out. Be aware of what you are capable of paying and stay within that limit for healthier finances and to avoid high interest payments.
Always read and understand all of the terms of your credit card offer before accepting it. You might find the annual fee, interest rate or other details are more costly than you originally thought. Read each word in the fine print so that you completely understand their policy.
Instead of just blindly applying for cards, hoping for approval, and letting credit card companies decide your terms for you, know what you are in for. One way to effectively do this is, to get a free copy of your credit report. This will help you know a ballpark idea of what cards you might be approved for, and what your terms might look like.
If you are going to make purchases over the Internet you need to make all of them with the same credit card. You do not want to use all of your cards to make online purchases because that will increase the chances of you becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
Look into whether a balance transfer will benefit you. Yes, balance transfers can be very tempting. The rates and deferred interest often offered by credit card companies are typically substantial. But if it is a large sum of money you are considering transferring, then the high interest rate normally tacked onto the back end of the transfer may mean that you actually pay more over time than if you had kept your balance where it was. Do the math before jumping in.
Never apply for more credit cards than you actually need. It’s true that you need a few credit cards to help build your credit, but there is a point at which the amount of credit cards you have is actually detrimental to your credit score. Be mindful to find that happy medium.
You should ask the people at your bank if you can have an extra checkbook register, so that you can keep track of all of the purchases that you make with your credit card. Many people lose track and they assume their monthly statements are right and there is a huge chance that there may have been errors.
As you can see, credit cards don’t have any special power to harm your finances, and in fact, using them appropriately can help your credit score. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of how to use credit cards appropriately. If you need a refresher, reread this article to remind yourself of the good credit card habits that you want to develop.