No one knows more about your own patterns and spending habits than you do. How credit cards affect you is a very personal thing. This article will try to shine a light on credit cards and how you can make the best decisions for yourself, when it comes to using them.
Be wary of late payment charges. Many of the credit companies out there now charge high fees for making late payments. Most of them will also increase your interest rate to the highest legal interest rate. Before you choose a credit card company, be sure that you are fully aware of their policy regarding late payments.
When you are unable to pay off one of your credit cards, then the best policy is to contact the credit card company. Letting it just go to collections is bad for your credit score. You will find that most companies will let you pay it off in smaller amounts, as long as you don’t keep avoiding them.
Keep careful record of your charges to be sure that you can afford what you spend. Sometimes plastic makes it easy to lose track of your spending decisions, which can result in you owing more than you can afford to pay.
It is important for people not to purchase items that they cannot afford with credit cards. Just because an item is within your credit card limit, does not mean you can afford it. Make sure anything you buy with your card can be paid off by the end of the month.
One important tip for all credit card users is to make a budget. Having a budget is a great way to figure out whether or not you can afford to buy something. If you can’t afford it, charging something to your credit card is just a recipe for disaster.
Always know what your utilization ratio is on your credit cards. This is the amount of debt that is on the card versus your credit limit. For instance, if the limit on your card is $500 and you have a balance of $250, you are using 50% of your limit. It is recommended to keep your utilization ratio of around 30%, in order to keep your credit rating good.
Learn how to manage your credit card online. Most credit card companies now have online resources where you can oversee your daily credit actions. These resources give you more power than you have ever had before over your credit, including, knowing very quickly, whether your identity has been compromised.
As a general rule, you should avoid applying for any credit cards that come with any type of free offer. More often than not, anything that you get free with credit card applications will always come with some sort of catch or hidden costs that you are sure to regret later on down the road.
It should be obvious, but many people fail to follow the simple tip of paying your credit card bill on time each month. Late payments can reflect poorly on your credit report, you may also be charged hefty penalty fees, if you don’t pay your bill on time.
Each month when you receive your statement, take the time to look over it. Check all the information for accuracy. A merchant may have accidentally charged a different amount or may have submitted a double payment. You may also find that someone accessed your card and went on a shopping spree. Immediately report any inaccuracies to the credit card company.
If you are called and asked for the number of your credit card, refuse to divulge it. It is always a mistake to give out your confidential information to anyone over the telephone as they are probably scammers. Only give your credit card number to businesses that you trust. Never give this information to someone who has called you. No matter who they claim to be, you do not know who they are.
Check with your credit card company, to learn if you can set up, and automatic payment each month. Many companies will allow you to automatically pay the full amount, minimum payment, or set amount out of your checking account each month. This will ensure that your payment is always made on time.
If your credit score is not low, try to find a credit card that does not charge many origination fees, especially a costly annual fee. There are plenty of credit cards out there that do not charge an annual fee. Find one that you can get started with, in a credit relationship that you feel comfortable with the 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.
It is very important that you save your credit card receipts. You need to compare them with your monthly statement. Companies do make mistakes and sometimes, you get charged for things you did not purchase. So make sure you promptly report any discrepancies to the company that issued the card.
If you get into trouble, and cannot pay your credit card bill on time, the last thing you want to do is to just ignore it. Call your credit card company immediately, and explain the issue to them. They may be able to help put you on a repayment plan, delay your due date, or work with you in ways that won’t be as damaging to your credit.
If you are new to the world of personal finance, or you’ve been in it a while, but haven’t managed to get it right yet, this article has given you some great advice. If you apply the information you read here, you should be well on your way to making smarter decisions in the future.