There is no denying the fact that credit cards can indeed, be part of a smart financial strategy. The important thing to remember is that they must be used wisely and deliberately. By using the ideas in this piece, you will arm yourself with the information necessary to make the types of decisions that will pave the way to a secure financial future for you and your loved ones.
Keep track of how much money you are spending when using a credit card. Small, incidental purchases can add up quickly, and it is important to know how much you have spend on them, so you can understand how much you owe. You can keep track with a check register, spreadsheet program, or even with an online option offered by many credit card companies.
Be safe when giving out your credit card information. If you like to order things online with it, then you have to be sure the website is secure. If you notice charges that you didn’t make, call the customer service number for the credit card company. They can help deactivate your card and make it unusable, until they mail you a new one with a new account number.
Make the minimum monthly payment in the very least on all of your credit cards. Not making the minimum payment on time can cost you a great deal of money over time. It can also cause harm to your credit rating. To protect both your expenses, and your credit rating be sure to make minimum payments on time each month.
It can not be stressed enough how important it is to pay for your credit card bills no later than the invoice deadline. Credit card balances all have a due date and if you ignore it, you run the risk of being charged some hefty fees. Card companies will give you a higher interest rate as well, increasing the cost of purchases made in the future.
Make sure you thoroughly understand the terms before signing up for a new credit card. Certain credit card companies have hidden fees and special requirements that must be met before benefits apply. Make sure you fully understand things like the interest rate, the late payment fees and any annual charges the card carries.
Only take cash advances from your credit card when you absolutely have to. The finance charges for cash advances are very high, and very difficult to pay off. Only use them for situations in which you have no other option. But you must truly feel that you will be able to make considerable payments on your credit card, soon after.
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 you sign credit card receipts, never leave any spaces empty. This includes putting lines or crosses on tip lines or other blank areas. Always verify the fact that your purchases agree with what you statement says.
Avoid using public computers for any credit card purchases. Your credit information may be stored in these computers. Public computers are often found in coffee shops and public libraries. Putting your credit information on these computers is just asking for trouble. Restrict your purchases to your own personal computer.
If you are determined to stop using credit cards, cutting them up is not necessarily the best way to do it. Just because the card is gone doesn’t mean the account is no longer open. If you get desperate, you may ask for a new card to use on that account, and get trapped in the same cycle of charging you wanted to get out of in the first place!
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.
Make sure each month you pay off your credit cards when they are due, and most importantly, in full when possible. If you do not pay them in full each month, you will end up having to have pay finance charges on the unpaid balance, which will end up taking you a long time to pay off the credit cards.
It can be tempting to use credit cards to purchase things that you cannot, in reality, afford. That is not to say, however, that credit cards do not have legitimate uses in the broader scheme of a personal finance plan. Take the tips in this article seriously, and you stand a good chance of building an impressive financial foundation.