10 Tips on how to help you use your credit card wisely.
1. When you sign up for a credit card, know what you’re getting into. When you sign up for a credit card you are entering a legally binding contract. Be sure to read the terms, conditions, & fees associated with the card carefully to understand how they apply to what your responsibilities are.
2. Continue to live within your means and your budget. Having a credit card doesn't increase the amount of money you have available to spend.
3. Carrying a balance on a credit card means that everything you charged to your credit card is actually costing you more than the purchase price, because you are also paying interest. Your goal should be to pay off your credit card balance in full by the due date each month. If you're unable to pay the balance in full make sure you're at least making your minimum credit card payment to maintain good credit. The longer you carry a balance on your credit card, the higher the cost.
4. If you're unable to pay your credit card balance in full and the outstanding balanace on your credit card is growing, you are spending more than you can afford and putting yourself further into debt. If you find yourself in this situation stop using your credit card until you get your finances under control.
5. If you don't have the money in your bank account, avoid impulse buys. Ask yourself if you really need to make that purchase right away (or at all), or if it can wait until you've saved the money to pay for it.
6. Don't increase your spending or buy things you don't need just to get credit card points or rewards.
7. Make sure to avoid taking cash advances on your credit card. Cash advances on a credit card have no interest-free grace period. Therefor, you are charged interest from the day you take the cash advance until the day you repay the entire advance amount.
8. If you're in a situation where you need money for unexpected expenses, talk to your financial institution first. There may be alternatives to using your credit card that will cost less in interest, such as a personal loan or line of credit.
9. Make regular payments, or at least your minimum payment by the due date to help build a good credit history. Paying your credit card balance in full each month will show other lenders that you are a responsible borrower and this will help you build your credit history,
10. Make sure you are aware of all the fees associated with your credit card. All federally regulated financial institutions are required to include an information box in the credit card application, or the credit card agreement. The information box has to highlight key information such as fees, grace-periods, and the interest rate on the card.