Credit cards are helpful tools in building credit and managing money. Being aware of how credit cards work is important and helps people to learn to make good financial choices. The credit card tips that follow are meant to help consumers make smart choices when they choose to use plastic.
Always make payments on your credit cards bills each month by the due date. If your payment is late even once, you may find your card company will raise your interest rate. Missed payments, as well as late payments, will cause your credit score to drop. Think about adding auto payments to your payment plan so that you don’t have to worry about late payments later.
If you cannot make your scheduled payments, you can damage your credit rating. If that happens, it will be difficult to finance a car, rent a place to live, receive insurance, or even get a job in some cases.
Always make sure that the company you give your account number to, online or by phone, it a trustworthy company. Be weary if you’re receiving unsolicited offers that require you to give out your credit card number. Scams and frauds abound and they will be more than happy to get their hands on the numbers associated with your credit cards. Be diligent and protect yourself.
Make sure you investigate all fees and charges instead of simply looking at annual fees and interest rates. There may be applications fees, cash advance fees and other service charges that make the card not worth getting.
There are many credit cards that offer rewards programs for your spending. If you buy on credit often, you should look for a loyalty program which will be useful to you. This can actually provide a lot of benefits, if you use it wisely.
Go over your monthly bill very carefully. Make sure of the charges are legitimate, that any credits have been added to your account, and look out for fraudulent charges. If there is an error, the credit company will be able to correct it easier if you inform them of it quickly and before you pay the bill.
Every credit card has a limit of how much money you can spend. Be careful not to go past this limit, and try to avoid using your card unless it is an emergency. Pushing your credit cards to their limits will limit your financial future and may threaten your ability to pay. You also won’t have the credit if you need it.
Never put your credit card details in a fax to someone, ever. A fax can be left in an office for a long time while anyone can get the card number. Any one of those people could unknowingly be a thief. This could open your credit card to fraudulent activity.
If you want to avoid losing a credit card, you will have to use it on a regular basis. If you don’t use your account, that makes the company no profit, so they may just shut down the account and barely warn you about it. Try to use cards to purchase things you can afford already, and after that pay off the card immediately.
Cut a deal on the interest rate you pay. You can talk to the company that issues the card and attempt to get a rate that is lower. If you’ve made consistent payments and are a responsible customer, you will probably get a reduced annual percentage rate if you are willing to ask for one.
Do not use credit cards to purchase items that are much more than you can possibly afford. While it’s fine to use your card to purchase an item you can pay for later, it is not a good idea to purchase something you will have trouble paying down the line.
Know your financial standing before applying for credit cards. Get copies of your credit reports and histories so that you have accurate data to project what your possibilities are. Always dispute information that is false or incorrect. You should also look to see if you are able to rectify any of your negative marks on your credit report.
Do not buy anything with your credit card on a public computer. Sometimes, your information gets stored on a public computer like the ones you find in libraries. Using your cards on these types of computers is a recipe for disaster. Only use your own computer to buy things online.
Pay your monthly bill with at least the smallest required payment. Any lack of payment will result in a mark against your credit report, and affect future credit requests. Credit card companies also charge substantial late fees if you miss a payment.
Use credit cards only when you don’t have other options available. Use your debit card when you can. For large purchases, it may be necessary to use a credit card. But, if you are just buying food or gas, use the debit card whenever possible. You will save a lot of money this way.
Do not bother with retail credit cards unless you have a serious intent to shop at a given store on a regular basis. Every credit inquiry impacts your credit score, even if you do not end up getting the card after all. A lot of inquiries from stores can lower your credit rating.
Use all of your credit cards in a wise way. Don’t buy anything that you know you can’t afford. Before committing to a purchase on your card, ask yourself if you can pay the charges off when you get your statement, or will you be paying for a long time to come? If you carry a balance, your debt will grow and the total balance will be harder to pay off.
Now it is probably clear that credit card usage can help people as they work on building up their credit history and taking control of their money. Understanding individual cards is important, because this helps you in making educated choices. Having a good understanding about how credit card companies operate can be very advantageous for consumers.