There can be no doubt that credit cards have the potential to be either useful financial vehicles or dangerous temptations that undermine your financial future. In order to make credit cards work for you, it is important to understand how to use them intelligently. Keep these tips in mind, and a solid financial future can be yours.
When it is time to make monthly payments on your credit cards, be sure that you pay more than the minimum amount that you are required to pay. If you only pay the small amount required, it will take you longer to pay your debts off and the interest will be steadily increasing.
Don’t pay any fees upfront when you are getting a credit card. The legitimate card issuers will not ask for any money up front, unless you’re getting a secured credit card. When you are applying for a secured card, be sure to find out how the deposit is going to be used.
If you have poor credit and want to repair it, consider a pre-paid credit card. This type of credit card can usually be found at your local bank. You can only use the money that you have loaded onto the card, but it is used as a real credit card, with payments and statements. By making regular payments, you will be repairing your credit and raising your credit score.
Alert your credit card issuer the moment you are having financial difficulty. If you think you may miss a payment, your credit card company will often work with you and set up an adjusted payment plan. This communication may keep the company from filing a late payment report with creditreporting agencies.
If you are having trouble with overspending on your credit card, there are several ways to save it only for emergencies. One of the best ways to do this is to leave the card with a trusted friend. They will only give you the card, if you can convince them you really need it.
If your credit is damaged, consider applying for a secured credit card. A secured card will ensure that you do not spend above your limit. Functioning in many ways like a debit, your money stands as insurance that you won’t go crazy and max your cards out. Although this arrangement is less than ideal, it can help you repair your credit. Always using a known company for secured credit. They will be in a position to offer you a regular, unsecured credit card in the future, and you can further improve your credit by using it responsibly.
Make your credit card payments on time and in full, each and every month. Most credit card companies will charge an expensive late fee if you are even a day late. If you pay your bill 30 days late or more, creditors report this late payment to the credit bureaus.
Use a credit card that offers rewards. Not every credit card company offers rewards, so you need to choose wisely. Reward points can be earned on every purchase, or for making purchases in certain categories. There are many different rewards including air miles, cash back or merchandise. Be wary though because some of these cards charge a fee.
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.
Don’t place your credit card number on anything that is visible to the public. This includes on the backs of postcards, on the outside of envelopes, and on publicly visible (and unsecure) areas of social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Sharing your information on mail or on social media can lead to serious credit theft.
Credit cards can offer convenience, flexibility and control when used appropriately. If you want to understand the role credit cards can play in a smart financial plan, you need to take the time to research the topic thoroughly. The advice in this piece offers a great starting point for building a secure financial profile.