Dealing responsibly with credit cards is one of the challenges of modern life. Some people get in over their heads, while others avoid credit cards entirely. Learning to use credit wisely can improve your quality of life, but you should avoid the common pitfalls. Read on to learn ways to make credit cards work for you.
Do not use your credit card to make purchases or everyday items like milk, eggs, gas and chewing gum. Doing this can quickly become a habit and you can end up racking your debts up quite quickly. The best thing to do is to use your debit card and save the credit card for larger purchases.
Carefully read the terms. If there’s an offer for a pre-approved credit card or if a person says they can help you get a card, get all of the details beforehand. Know the details about interest, like the rate and dates. Additionally, you may wish to know about their fees and any applicable grace periods.
Be sure that you only use your credit card on a secure server, when making purchases online to keep your credit safe. When you input your credit card information on servers that are not secure, you are allowing any hacker to access your information. To be safe, be sure that the website starts with the “https” in its url.
Emergency, business or travel purposes, is all that a credit card should really be used for. You want to keep credit open for the times when you need it most, not when purchasing luxury items. You never know when an emergency will crop up, so it is best that you are prepared.
If you are searching for a new card, you should limit your search to the cards with low rates and with no annual fee. Given the sheer number of cards on the market that do not have annual fees, acquiring cards that do require such fees is unnecessary.
Every time you decide to apply for a new credit card, your credit report is checked and an “inquiry” is made. This stays on your credit report for up to two years and too many inquiries, brings your credit score down. Therefore, before you start wildly applying for different cards, research the market first and choose a few select options.
It is best to stay away from charging holiday gifts and other holiday-related expenditures. If you can’t afford it, either save to buy what you want or just buy less-expensive gifts. Your best friends and relatives will understand that you are on a budget. You can always ask ahead of time for a limit on gift amounts or draw names. The bonus is that you won’t be spending the next year paying for this year’s Christmas!
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.
If you are trying to rebuild damaged credit, using secured credit cards is a good idea. These cards require some kind of balance to be used as collateral. The reality is that you are using money that is yours and paying interest on it. This is not a perfect situation, but it can help rebuild damaged credit. When you are going to apply for one of these secured credit cards, make certain the company you choose is reputable. They may later offer an unsecured card to you, and that will boost your credit score even more.
If you are shopping around for secured cards, stay away from prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are not actually credit cards, they are debit cards, and their use isn’t reported to credit bureaus. Many of them charge extra fees as well, and all they are is another checking account. Make a deposit to get a secured credit card which reports to credit bureaus and can improve your credit rating.
Try to reduce your interest rate. Call your credit card company, and request that this be done. Before you call, be sure you know how long you have had the credit card, your overall payment record, and your credit score. If all of these show positively on you as a good customer, then use them as leverage to get that rate lowered.
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.
If you owe too much money, to a point you can’t pay it back, you will run risks of ruining your credit score. When your credit rating is damaged, certain tasks become more difficult, including renting an apartment, getting finance to buy an automobile, obtaining insurance and securing employment.
Stay away from high interest credit cards. Many people see no harm in getting a credit card with a high interest rate, as they are sure that they will always pay the balance off in full each month. Unfortunately, there are bound to be some months when paying the full bill is not possible.
To avoid excessive fees, always read the fine print of any credit card offer you are considering. Many offers come with a low introductory APR and can be quite enticing. However, further review of the fine print may reveal that that low rate will be increased to a less than appealing rate in as little as 6 months or a year.
By using the tips found here, you’ll likely avoid getting swamped with credit card debt. Having good credit is important, especially when it is time to make the big purchases in life. A key to maintaining good credit, is using using your credit cards responsibly. Keep your head and follow the tips you’ve learned here.