Do you use a credit card? Do you know how much credit you have total? Do you know how much additional credit you have available to you? If you are unable to answer these second two questions, then you are probably not using credit responsibly, and it is time to learn more!
You should contact your creditor, if you know that you will not be able to pay your monthly bill on time. Many people do not let their credit card company know and end up paying very large fees. Some creditors will work with you, if you let them know the situation ahead of time and they may even end up waiving any late fees.
Make it your goal to never pay late or over the limit fees. Both fees can be very pricey, both to your wallet and your credit report. Carefully watch that you do not exceed your credit limit.
Take advantage of the fact that you can get a free credit report yearly from three separate agencies. Make sure to get all three of them, so that you can be sure there is nothing going on with your credit cards that you may have missed. There may be something reflected on one that was not on the others.
Be careful when using credit cards. Don’t buy anything that you know you can’t afford. Before any purchase, make sure you have the money to pay back what you’re going to owe; this is a good mindset to have. If you carry a balance, your debt will grow and the total balance will be harder to pay off.
There are many cards that offer rewards just for getting a credit card with them. While this should not solely make your decision for you, do pay attention to these types of offers. I’m sure you would much rather have a card that gives you cash back than a card that doesn’t if all other terms are close to being the same.
Pay off as much of your balance as you can each month. The more you owe the credit card company each month, the more you will pay in interest. If you pay even a small amount in addition to the minimum payment each month, you can save yourself a great deal of interest each year.
Remember not to have credit cards sent to your mail if you don’t have locks on your mailbox. It is a known fact that criminals will target mailboxes that are not locked to steal credit cards.
Make sure you are consistently using your card. You do not have to use it frequently, but you should at least be using it once a month. While the goal is to keep the balance low, it only helps your credit report if you keep the balance low, while using it consistently at the same time.
Make sure that any websites that you use to make purchases with your credit card are secure. Sites that are secure will have “https” heading the URL instead of “http.” If you do not see that, then you should avoid purchasing anything from that site and try to find another place to buy from.
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.
It goes without saying, perhaps, but always pay your credit cards on time. To be able to follow this simple rule, do not charge more than you afford to pay in cash. Credit card debt can quickly balloon out of control, especially, if the card carries a high interest rate. Otherwise, you will find that you cannot follow the simple rule of paying on time.
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.
Do not give your card information over the phone unless you know and trust the company involved. The same goes for using credit online. If you’re receiving requests for your card number, be cautious. Many scammers exist who want your card number. Protect yourself by being diligent.
Don’t lie about your income when applying for credit cards. The company may actually give you the credit card and not check your information. However, the credit limit may be too high for your income level, saddling you with debt you cannot afford to pay.
If you are getting rid of an old credit card, cut up the credit card through the account number. This is especially important, if you are cutting up an expired card and your replacement card has the same account number. As an added security step, consider throwing away the pieces in different trash bags, so that thieves can’t piece the card back together as easily.
Keep your credit card spending to a small percentage of your total credit limit. Usually 30 percent is about right. If you spend too much, it’ll be harder to pay off, and won’t look good on your credit report. In contrast, using your credit card lightly lessens your stress, and can help improve your credit score.
All credit cards come with a spending limit. Don’t pass this limit and only use credit in emergencies. If you max out your cards, that will be a disadvantage over time because you won’t have the money available when you need it.
Now, you should be better prepared to use a consumer credit card in the proper way. When used correctly, credit cards can be a great way to simplify your life, however, when you are irresponsible with credit cards, then they can quickly get out of hand and make your life very complicated.