Credit cards have gotten a very bad rap over the last few years. This article will show you how credit cards can be used to your advantage, how to keep from making mistakes that can cost you, and most importantly, how to get yourself out of trouble if you’ve already waded in too deep.
Keep track of how much money you are spending when using a credit card. Small, incidental purchases can add up quickly, and it is important to know how much you have spend on them, so you can understand how much you owe. You can keep track with a check register, spreadsheet program, or even with an online option offered by many credit card companies.
Most people don’t know how to handle a credit card correctly. While it is understandable to go into debt under certain circumstances, many people abuse this privilege and get caught up in payments they can’t afford. What you want to do is pay off your balance every month. That way you can use credit, keep your balance low and improve your credit.
Always monitor your balance. Also be aware of what your credit card spending limit is and adhere to it. If you inadvertently go over your credit limit, you will either be heavily penalized or your credit card will be blocked. Exceeding your credit card limit can impede your ability to pay off your balance quickly.
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!
Do not write your password or your pin number down. Keep it stored in your head so that nobody else can access it. Writing your pin number down increases the chance that someone else uses it.
Live by a zero balance goal, or if you can’t reach zero balance monthly, then maintain the lowest balances you can. Credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control, so go into your credit relationship with the goal to always pay off your bill every month. This is especially important if your cards have high interest rates that can really rack up over time.
Each month when you receive your statement, take the time to look over it. Check all the information for accuracy. A merchant may have accidentally charged a different amount or may have submitted a double payment. You may also find that someone accessed your card and went on a shopping spree. Immediately report any inaccuracies to the credit card company.
Many companies advertise that you can transfer balances over to them and carry a lower interest rate. This sounds appealing, but you need to carefully consider your options. Think about it. If a company consolidates a higher amount of money onto one card and then the interest rate spikes, you are going to have a hard time making that payment. Know all the terms and conditions, and be careful.
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.
If you are searching for cards that are secured, steer clear of prepaid cards. These are, in fact, debit cards, and big credit bureaus take no notice of them. In actuality, these cards are really just high-interest checking accounts that are loaded with extra costs and fees. Get a proper secured credit card by parting with a few hundred bucks for the deposit. These proper secured credit cards will help you to improve your credit rating, as they are reported to the major credit bureaus.
If you cannot pay your entire credit card bill each month, you should definitely keep your available credit limit above 50% after each billing cycle. Having a good credit to debt ratio is an important part of your credit score. Make sure that your credit card is not constantly near its limit.
Prior to applying for a credit card, try to build your credit up at least six months in advance. Then, be sure to take a look at your credit report. By doing this, you are more likely to get approved for the credit card and get a higher credit limit, as well.
Some people need help getting out of a jam that they have created, and others are trying to avoid the pitfalls that they know are out there. Regardless of which camp you came from, this article has shown you the best ways to use credit cards and avoid the deep debt that comes along with them.