Credit cards can definitely be a huge help, but you will need to make a point of learning all you can about them and how to use them. The more of this information you get, the better your chances will be of avoiding debt going forward. Millions of people get into credit card debt each year because they simply didn’t know enough about credit cards to begin with.
1. Avoid signing up for too many cards
The last thing you want to do is to sign up for every credit card that comes your way, because doing so it could affect your credit negatively. Those who have a lot of cards put themselves at additional risk for credit card debt, so you will need to keep that in mind as well. The first thing that you will want to ask yourself is if you really need a new credit card at all before signing up for one.
2. Maintain an Outstanding Balance of Zero Dollars
One of the best things that you can do when it comes to using a credit card is to keep your outstanding balance down to $0 as much as possible. You will have a few days to pay off the balance of your card without worrying about interest, but if you go beyond that then you will end up spending a lot more.
3. Avoid the habit of Making Minimum Payments
You will definitely need to avoid getting into the habit of making minimum monthly payments on your credit cards. This is an effective way to accumulate interest really quick, so you will want to pay as much as you possibly can. Even if you think you may have off a certain amount of your credit card balance, you will only have paid off just a portion.
4. Don’t Miss any Payment Deadlines
It is important that you do not miss any payment deadlines with your credit cards. Missing even one payment deadline can spell serious trouble for you, so it’s therefore crucial that you make a point to pay your bills on time every single time. If you have a lot of credit cards, you may want to set a monthly alarm on your phone to keep track of all the different deadlines.
5. Double Check your Statement
You should always make a point of checking and double checking your credit card statements, because you want to make sure there aren’t any transactions that shouldn’t be on there. Sometimes mistakes happen, so you will therefore need to make sure that you look out for this. By taking a close look at your credit card statement each month, you will be able to stay on top of all your expenses.
6. Always Report lost or Misused Credit Cards Right Away
You don’t want to wait to report any lost or stolen credit cards, because doing so could result in a lot of charges that you didn’t authorize. If you cannot find any of your credit cards after a couple hours of looking around and making phone calls, don’t hesitate to cancel them. In the end you will be very glad you decided to do this.
7. Do not Withdraw Cash from your Credit Card
You should also avoid withdrawing cash from your credit card, because your credit card company will most likely charge you quite a bit for an advance. You will be charged either 2% or 4% for a withdrawal cash advance fee, which you definitely won’t want to pay.
8. Refrain from using your card just to get rewards
While it may be tempting to charge your credit card whenever possible so you can earn free airline miles and other things, it’s not necessarily a good idea. The fact is that you have to spend a lot of money with your cards to really earn a reasonable amount of points. The interest that you’ll end up paying on your card might not be worth it in the end.
9. Negotiate with your Credit Card Company
If you have a history of being a good customer with your credit card company, you will definitely want to think about negotiating with them for a lower interest rate. Most credit card companies are very willing to do this, but you will need to come to them first. In the end you will definitely be glad you decided to do this because of how beneficial it can be.
10. Call in Advance if you are struggling to pay off a card
You do not want to wait until you are already deep in debt to make the call to your credit card company. If you don’t think you will be able to pay off the balance on your card, make sure that you call the company ahead of time. They will appreciate you doing this and will probably be willing to work with you to help get it paid off.