Today’s smart consumer knows how beneficial the use of credit cards can be, but is also aware of the pitfalls associated with excessive use. Even the most frugal of people use their credit cards sometimes, and we all have lessons to learn from them! Keep reading for valuable advice on using credit cards wisely.
It is too easy for many people to improperly use their credit cards. Debt is not always avoidable, but many people overcharge, which results in payments that they cannot afford. The very best thing that you can do is pay off the balance every single month. That way, you can improve your credit score and lower your balance simultaneously.
If you have a credit card account and do not want it to be shut down, make sure to use it. Credit card companies are closing credit card accounts for non-usage at an increasing rate. This is because they view those accounts to be lacking in profit, and therefore, not worth retaining. If you don’t want your account to be closed, use it for small purchases, at least once every three months.
If you are about to start a search for a new credit card, be sure to check your credit record first. Make sure your credit report accurately reflects your debts and obligations. Contact the credit reporting agency to remove old or inaccurate information. A little time spent upfront will net you the best credit limit and lowest interest rates that you may be eligible for.
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.
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.
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.
It is best to stay away from charging holiday gifts and other holiday-related expenditures. If you can’t afford it, either save to buy what you want or just buy less-expensive gifts. Your best friends and relatives will understand that you are on a budget. You can always ask ahead of time for a limit on gift amounts or draw names. The bonus is that you won’t be spending the next year paying for this year’s Christmas!
As noted earlier, you have to think on your feet to make really good use of the services that credit cards provide, without getting into debt or hooked by high interest rates. Hopefully, this article has taught you a lot about the best ways to use your credit cards and the best ways not to!