There can be no doubt that credit cards have the potential to be either useful financial vehicles or dangerous temptations that undermine your financial future. In order to make credit cards work for you, it is important to understand how to use them intelligently. Keep these tips in mind, and a solid financial future can be yours.
Don't fall for the introductory rates on credit cards when opening a new one. Be sure to ask the creditor what the rate will go up to after, the introductory rate expires. Sometimes, the APR can go up to 20-30% on some cards, an interest rate you definitely don't want to be paying once your introductory rate goes away.
Make sure that you make your payments on time when you have a credit card. The extra fees are where the credit card companies get you. It is very important to make sure you pay on time to avoid those costly fees. This will also reflect positively on your credit report.
A minimum payment is there in order for the company to milk money from you for a greater length of time. Every dollar over your minimum payment goes to pay off your balance, so always pay a higher amount than the credit card company asks you to pay. Paying off your balance faster helps you avoid expensive finance charges over the life of your debt.
Avoid being the victim of credit card fraud by keeping your credit card safe at all times. Pay special attention to your card when you are using it at a store. Double check to make sure you have returned your card to your wallet or purse, when the purchase is finished.
Never use passwords or pin codes on credit cards that are easy to figure out. When you use something such as when you were born or what your middle name is then people can easily get that information.
Never use a credit card to buy things you can't afford. Just because you desire to have a new TV, it does not mean that buying using your credit card is a good option. High monthly payments, along with months or years of finance charges, can cost you dearly. Just leave this store, think about it for a couple of days, and then make a decision. If you still wish to make the purchase, check to see if in-house financing through the store offers a better interest rate than charging it to your card.
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.
If you are having a problem getting a credit card, consider a secured account. A secured credit card will require you to open a savings account before a card is issued. If you ever default on a payment, the money from that account will be used to pay off the card and any late fees. This is a good way to begin establishing credit, so that you have opportunities to get better cards in the future.
Credit cards can offer convenience, flexibility and control when used appropriately. If you want to understand the role credit cards can play in a smart financial plan, you need to take the time to research the topic thoroughly. The advice in this piece offers a great starting point for building a secure financial profile.
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