How to use Credit Cards Wisely

A credit card can be many things. If you’re in a jam, it’s an emergency life-saver. If you’ve forgotten your wallet, it’s extra cash. If you see something you just have to have, it’s the instant purchase. This piece of plastic, however, has the tendency to stack up a lot of trouble if used incorrectly. Being careful, thoughtful, and frugal are the key elements to owning a credit card and keeping oneself out of debt.

The first thing one must consider when they are approved for credit are the terms. How much is the charge for going over your charge limit? What is the interest rate? Here’s a question every card user should also ask themselves-how will my charges effect my credit score? The credit score is the most important element of one’s credit. Good credit results in speedy purchases and approvals of items such as cars, businesses, loans, and residencies. Mediocre to poor credit may result in rejection. Very poor credit results in lots of rejection with no question. That is why it is very important for card users to take heed of a few very important lessons in using a credit card wisely.

My father is a fine example of a person who has learned the dos and do-not of use of credit cards. Like most in their youth, he went through the stages of trial and error. However, he did not continue these said errors. He took classes, asked questions, and read the fine print. That is a key step. Read all fine print. The credit card companies are legally bound to place the stats, requirements, and agreements on the back of each statement they send consumers. That way, there is no question as to what is fair or unfair. The fine print is in full view. Take the time, sometime, to read just what you are agreeing to adhere to. Secondly, (using my father again as example) mind the use of the credit card. Each purchase you make can either lift or bring your credit down. This rings especially true if you are always going over the halfway margin of monies available to you. The basic rule of thumb is to monitor your charges. If you can pay for something in cash, pay for it that way. if not, again, mind the charges. Every time you continuously go over the halfway mark of available credit, there is a chance it could go against your credit score. Besides, every time you charge, the minimum fee you have to pay goes up. If you cannot afford to pay, not only is there a late fee, but a lowering mark as well against the credit score. Beware.

As you determine the difference between needs and wants concerning your credit card, you must also consider safety. In the life of consumers and their credit, many hands come across their rectangular pieces of plastic. You never know what cashier has an instant flash memory. Be wary of flashing your credit card where prying eyes of other consumers may be watching. Keep your eyes on the store clerk as well. Identity theft runs rampart throughout the entire world. As a consumer, the potential for stolen credit information is a high priority. If your credit card company offers protection of any kind, weigh out which options you feel are best. Ask questions if you aren’t sure what is offered. Pick your protections wisely. Whatever fee they may charge could save your credit and prevent unauthorized charges. Finally, always check your credit score and information at least once per year. There are many government affiliated agencies that offer consumers a chance to check their scores for free. Use these resources, watch how you spend, and the wisdom of credit card use will not be a problem.