A credit card can be a terrific tool or a hideous hinderance depending on how you use it. If you want to ensure that your credit card is a good example of the former, rather than the latter, here are some simple tips to make your it work for you, not against you…
Pay the Balance in Full Every Month
The best way to ensure that your credit card is a great tool for you is to avoid ever paying any interest on your purchases, and the best way to do this is to pay off your balance in full at the end of every month. The best strategy for doing that? Only charging what you can afford to pay.
This might seem like a huge challenge, but it is the only way to use your credit card without it ever using you – it lets you benefit from the convenience and protection that credit cards afford without paying a single cent for the privilege.
Always Pay On Time
Credit card companies can charge you as much as $40 for a simple late payment, even if you’re only late by a day. Paying late can also affect your credit history, so make sure that you set up a reminder for a few days before your due date (to ensure payment clears in time) and always pay them. If you can set up an automatic payment with your bank, then even better.
Use a Cash back Credit Card
Cash back credit cards are a no-brainer for those of you who want your credit cards to work for you, rather than against you for what should be obvious reasons; when you use a cash back credit card, you get money back on the purchases you make, which means if you utilize my top tip and pay your card off in full at the end of the month and you only use your credit card to pay for stuff you’d be buying anyway, you could actually make money!
Keep an Account Open
Opening a credit account and keeping it open for a long-period of time could help to boost your credit score because having a credit history in the first place, and having a long history do contribute to your score positively.
Check Your Account Regularly
Paying for your purchases via credit card and checking your account on a regular basis is an excellent way of keeping track of your spending. Of course, you need to practice the above tips to ensure that you don’t end up overspending too, but it can help you to keep account of what you’re doing with your money.
Use it For Big Purchases Only
If you don’t want credit card debt to creep up on you and you want to ensure that it’s always manageable, just use it for the big purchases. It’s so easy to run up a huge bill when you’re spending $10 here and $20 there but much harder when you only use it for necessary big purchases.
Having a credit card isn’t all bad – as you can see it can be beneficial – but only if you use these tips to wield your plastic as a formidable tool!