Everyone knows just how powerful and dangerous that credit cards can be. The temptation of massive and instant gratification is always lurking in your wallet, and it only takes one afternoon of not paying attention to slide down that slope. On the other hand, sound strategies, practiced with regularity, become an effortless habit and can protect you. Read on to learn more about some of these ideas.
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.
You should always try to negotiate the interest rates on your credit cards instead of agreeing to any amount that is always set. If you get a lot of offers in the mail from other companies, you can use them in your negotiations, to try to get a much better deal.
To help you get the maximum value from your credit card, choose a card which provides rewards based on the amount of money you spend. Many credit card rewards programs will give you up to two percent of your spending back as rewards which can make your purchases much more economical.
Pay for your credit card on time every month so that you can maintain a high credit score. Paying late will hurt your score and incur extra fees. Avoid this problem by setting up automatic payments to come out of your bank account on the due date or earlier.
Make sure that you pore over your credit card statement each and every month, to make sure that every single charge on your bill has been authorized by you. Many people fail to do this and it is much harder to fight fraudulent charges after a lot of time has passed.
Always monitor your balance. Know what your limit is and how much you’re spending, you don’t want any surprises. Exceeding your limit can result in significant unexpected fees. It will take longer for you to pay the balance down if you keep going over your limit.
Be sure to get assistance, if you’re in over your head with your credit cards. Try contacting Consumer Credit Counseling Service. This nonprofit organization offers many low, or no cost services, to those who need a repayment plan in place to take care of their debt, and improve their overall credit.
Anytime you apply for a credit card, you should always familiarize yourself with the terms of service that comes along with it. This will allow you to know what you can and cannot use your card for, as well as, any fees that you might possibly incur in different situations.
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.
If you go to make a purchase with your credit card and you are told that there will a surcharge for using that payment method, you can refuse to pay it and demand they accept your purchase. Many credit card companies do not allow merchants to impose fees, so you should check out the policies of your card company.
Skip using your credit card for food items as this can take longer to post on your bill than other debts, which will make keeping track of your finances more difficult. It is possible that this will cause you to spend more because you think that the balance is less than what it actually is.
Don’t use a fax machine to transmit your credit card information. Faxes sit in offices for hours on end, and an entire office full of people will have free access to all of your personal information. Anybody in the office is a potential thief. Once they have your information, they could steal your identity, make fraudulent charges, and ruin your credit.
Shop different credit cards before applying to find out the perks each offers. Some offer roadside assistance, while others offer airline perks, like free baggage check. Some will also offer buyer protections, above and beyond what a store offers. Depending on your buying habits, one credit card may offer perks that fit you best.
Close the account for any credit cards you know you will not be using. You risk identity theft if you keep them open. Also, a lot of companies just love tacking on those annual fees for individuals who haven’t closed their accounts.
While you may want to charge everything to your card, it isn’t always ideal for small purchases. You may find yourself adding items that you don’t really need to reach a minimum purchase requirement. Only use your credit card when making a purchase over $10.
Use cards regularly to avoid their deactivation. If you credit card account is inactive for long periods of time, some credit card providers will close your account and give you minimal warning about the closure. Consider using credit cards for your everyday spending and always pay your credit card bills in full each month.
Look out for cash back credit cards. These types of credit cards give you cash back on every purchase that you make with the credit card. Cash back rates can range from 1% to 5%, so over the course of a year, you could actually earn a lot of cash back.
As was mentioned earlier, many folks understand just how problematic credit cards can become with one simple lapse of attention. However, the solution to this is developing sound habits that become automatic protective behaviors. Apply what you have learned from this article, to make habits of protective behaviors that will help you.