Wise usage of charge cards can build perks and points, which can be applied to vacation expenses and reduce financial stress. Other people who don’t use their cards wisely charge their vacation expenses to their charge cards and come home having a stressful bill. If you prefer the perks involved with wise credit card use, keep reading for some great tips on getting the most out of your credit cards.
If you see any suspicious charges to your credit card, call your credit card company right away. This way, they will be more likely to discover the culprit. This will also limit the risk of you being held accountable for their charges. A simple phone call is usually all it takes to report fraudulent charges or put a hold on a stolen card.
Be vigilant of all purchases, so you can make sure not to overspend. Unless you commit to a spreadsheet or notebook, it can be easy to lose track of where your money went.
Try to avoid any credit card fees—late payment fees, annual fees, and exceeded limit fees. The fees are both high, and not only do they cost your wallet, but they also affect your credit score negatively. Watch carefully, and do not go over your credit limit.
When looking to open a credit card, start by eliminating any with annual fees or high interest rates. It wastes money to have to pay annual fees when there are lots of credit card companies that don’t charge these fees.
Be wary when making online purchases with your credit card. When applying or doing anything with charge cards online, always verify that the website you are on is secure. You can set your browser to notify the security settings for each website you visit. Also never respond to an email that asks you for a credit card number as this is likely fraudulent.
Make sure to get your credit report once per year to see if it is correct. Make sure your statements match what your credit report says.
Carefully review all statements you get from your credit card company. In addition to unexpected account changes or charges you don’t remember making, check to make sure that all of the charges listed are for the correct amounts. Let the credit card company know right away if something is not correct. This can stop you from paying more than you really owe and it is possible that it might help your credit score.
Secured cards are an excellent way for credit companies to weigh your credit worthiness. This type of account will usually lead to an unsecured credit account if you are diligent with your payments. You may also see an increase in offers coming through the mail at this time. It is then that you have to decide what to do.
Stay away from cards that have annual fees. Usually, cards that don’t have annual fees are offered to people that have good credit scores. Annual fees can negate any advantages the card has. Sit down and figure out the math for the long term. Most companies do not readily show annual fees; instead, they are listed in the small print of the contract. Find your reading glasses. Make sure that you clearly understand the fees, and how they compare to any benefits that the card offers. Usually they aren’t worth it.
Read the fine print if you’re thinking about a credit card with an introductory rate or a balance transfer. Fully understand what happens when the introductory period ends. In general, after the introductory period has ended, these credit card providers will start to charge you extortionate interest rates and administration fees. Understand what the details before opening the account.
While it might be tempting to use your credit card to pay for everything, when it comes to small purchases, it’s better to leave the plastic in your wallet. Many vendors require a minimum purchase in order to use credit cards, and you could be looking for last minute things to buy to fulfill that requirement. Only use credit for purchases of more than $10.
Thoroughly read the small print before signing a secured credit card application. You may only have to make a small deposit, but if the company charges a lot of fees, you won’t have the credit limit you expect after you pay the deposit.
In order to keep an eye on your financial management skills, check your credit report regularly. This will also help you understand how everyone is managing your accounts. Be on the lookout for reporting errors. If you find errors, notify your credit card company and ask the credit bureaus to remove the errors also.
Fully pay off your monthly credit card charges when you receive the bill. Unless you have no interest, there will be interest added to your balance unless it is paid off each month. When only paying the minimums, you can increase the time to repay the debt by months, if not years, depending on the limits and compounding finance charges.
Even a straightforward credit card with no reward system attached can be beneficial to you, provided it is used right. People who don’t use their cards properly may be gratified in the short term but suffer long-term stress over bills. Use what you have learned from the tips above to help you to become a happy credit card owner.