Protect your credit card usage: If you want to get your first credit card, but you aren’t sure which one to get, don’t panic. Credit cards aren’t nearly as complicated to understand as you might think. The tips in this article can help you to figure out what you need to know, in order to sign up for a credit card.
10 Top Tips to Protect your credit card usage
1. Do not use your credit card to make purchases or everyday items like milk, eggs, gas and chewing gum. Doing this can quickly become a habit and you can end up racking your debts up quite quickly. The best thing to do is to use your debit card and save the credit card for larger purchases.
2. If possible, pay your credit cards in full, every month. Use them for normal expenses, such as, gasoline and groceries and then, proceed to pay off the balance at the end of the month. This will build your credit and help you to gain rewards from your card, without accruing interest or sending you into debt.
3. When you are getting your first credit card, or any card for that matter, make sure you pay close attention to the payment schedule, interest rate, and all terms and conditions. Many people neglect to read this information, but it is definitely to your benefit if you take the time to read through it.
4. Do not accept the first credit card offer that you receive, regardless of how good it sounds. While you may be tempted to jump on an offer, you do not want to take any chances that you will end up signing up for a card and then, seeing a better deal shortly after from another company.
5. If you find that you have spent more on your credit cards than you can repay, seek help to manage your credit card debt. It is easy to get carried away, especially around the holidays, and spend more than you intended. There are many credit card consumer organizations, that can help get you back on track.
6. If you have trouble getting a credit card on your own, try to find someone who will co-sign for you. A co-signer can be a parent, sibling, trusted friend or anyone else who has already established credit. They must agree to pay the balance if you are unable to. This is a good method for improving and building your credit.
7. Create a budget plan that you are able to follow. You don’t need to max out your credit card just because you can. Be aware of what you are capable of paying and stay within that limit for healthier finances and to avoid high interest payments.
8. Always use credit cards in a smart way. Limit your purchases to things you know you can afford. Before using credit cards to get something, you need to know if you’re able to pay it off right when you get a statement. If you carry balances, you are more likely to get caught in a cycle of debt that is difficult to escape.
9. Keep an eye on mailings from your credit card company. While some might be junk mail offering to sell you additional services, or products, some mail is important. Credit card companies must send a mailing, if they are changing the terms on your credit card. Sometimes a change in terms can cost you money. Make sure to read mailings carefully, so you always understand the terms that are governing your credit card use.
10. If you do a lot of traveling, use one card for all of your travel expenses. If it is for work, this allows you to easily keep track of deductible expenses, and if it is for personal use, you can quickly add up points towards airline travel, hotel stays or even restaurant bills.
11. Make sure to get your credit report once per year to see if it is correct. Make sure that any information on your report syncs with what is on your statements.
12. Prepaid cards should be avoided when you are seeking a secured credit card. These are not actually reported to the big credit bureaus and are really just debit cards in disguise. In addition, a number of them also charge additional fees, and they are really only another checking account. Make a deposit and obtain an actual secured credit card. These report to the credit bureaus and will help you build your credit rating.
13. It is easy to underestimate how much you owe on your credit card if you use it frequently at restaurants and grocery stores. This is because those charges can take longer to appear on your credit card statement, and so you think you have spent less than you actually have. You could then overspend, as you will think that your credit card’s balance is lower that what it actually is.
14. Be aware that you can still have a credit card, even if your credit is not up to par. There are basically two choices to pick from. You could either get yourself a secured card or sign up to be an authorized user on the credit card of a family member or partner.
15. Read all the fine print before applying for a credit card, to avoid getting hooked into paying excessively high interest rates. Many introductory offers are just ploys to get consumers to bite and later, the company will show their true colors and start charging interest rates that you never would have signed up for, had you known about them!
16. Even if you cannot make your minimum monthly payment on a credit card, you should pay something. No matter how modest the amount, this will tell your credit card company that you are trying to deal fairly with them. If your problems continue, you will find your company more inclined to work with you if you have been making at least some payments.
17. Credit cards are a lot simpler than you thought, aren’t they? Now that you’ve learned the basics of getting a credit card, you’re ready to sign up for your first card. Have fun making responsible purchases and watching your credit score begin to soar! Remember that you can always reread this article if you need extra help figuring out which credit card to get. Now you can go and get your card.