Everyone knows just how powerful and dangerous credit cards can be. The temptation of massive and instant gratification is always lurking in your wallet, and it only takes one afternoon of not paying attention to slide down that slope. On the other hand, sound strategies, practiced with regularity, become an effortless habit and can protect you. Read on to learn more about some of these ideas.
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.
Be smart with how you use your credit. Many people are in debt, due to taking on more credit than they can manage, or else, they haven’t used their credit responsibly. Do not apply for any more cards unless you need to and do not charge any more than you can afford.
When you are using your credit card at an ATM make sure that you swipe it and return it to a safe place as quickly as possible. There are many people that will look over your shoulder to try to see the information on the card and use it for fraudulent purposes.
When using your credit card online, you should always keep a sales receipt copy. Keep that receipt until the credit card bill comes in the mail and verify that all figures match up. If it differs, file a dispute of charges with the company as soon as possible. This will ensure you don’t get overcharged for your purchases.
Be aware that there are credit card scams out there as well. Many of those predatory companies prey on people that have less than stellar credit. Some fraudulent companies for example will offer credit cards for a fee. When you send in the money, they send you applications to fill out instead of a new credit card.
If you have made the poor decision of taking out a cash loan on your credit card, be sure to pay it off as soon as possible. Making a minimum payment on this kind of loan is a big mistake. Pay the minimum on other cards, if it means you can pay this debt off faster.
An important thing to remember when using credit cards is to do whatever is necessary to avoid going over your specified credit limit. By making certain that you always remain within your allowable credit, you can avoid costly fees that card issuers frequently assess and guarantee that your account always remains in good standing.
There are many people who choose not to take on credit cards simply to make it look like they have zero debt. It is important to have one card or more in order to build credit. Use the card for a few purchases that you can afford to pay off quickly. If you have no credit, your score is lower and lenders will not know whether you can manage credit.
Ask the credit card company if they would consider lowering your interest rate. Sometimes, especially if you have a long and positive history as a customer, companies are willing to reduce their interest rates. Not only does it not cost you a single penny to ask, it can also yield significant savings in your interest charges if they lower your rate.
Do your research on the best rewards cards. Whether you are interested in cashback, gifts, or airline miles, there is a rewards card that can really benefit you. There are many out there, but there is a lot of information available online to help you find the right one. Be careful to not carry a balance on these rewards cards, as the interest you are paying can negate the effect of the positive reward!
Department store cards are tempting, but when trying to improve your credit and keep a great score, you need to keep in mind that you don’t want a credit card for everything. Department store cards can only be used at that specific store. It is their way of getting you to spend more money at that specific location. Get a card that you can use anywhere.
Do not go on a spending spree just because you have a new card with a zero balance available to you. This is not free money, it is money that you will eventually have to pay back, and going overboard with your purchases will only end up hurting you in the long run.
Keep the total number of credit cards you use to an absolute minimum. Carrying balances on multiple credit cards can complicate your life needlessly. Shift your debt onto the card with the lowest interest. You will be able to keep better track of your debts and pay them off faster if you stick with a single credit card.
If you open a credit card that is secured, you may find it easier to get a credit card that is unsecured once you have proven your ability to handle credit well. Offers will also begin to appear in the mail. This is the time when you have decisions to make so that you can re-evaluate the situation.
If you have really good credit, consider calling to ask if your card company will lower your APR. They will in some instances do that. You will save each month in which you have a balance.
Check your credit card statement every month, to monitor it for possible fraud or identity theft. Many times, fraud goes unnoticed until it really starts to add up or a huge expense is listed that you are not familiar with. Regular monitoring of your paperwork will keep you ahead of the game and able to stop illicit activity early on.
As was mentioned earlier, many folks understand just how problematic credit cards can become with one simple lapse of attention. However, the solution to this is developing sound habits that become automatic protective behaviors. Apply what you have learned from this article, to make habits of protective behaviors that will help you.