- Personal Finance
Tips for Maximizing Credit Card Usage and Minimizing what you owe.
Being Careful with Credit Cards
Many people would agree that credit cards often seem to be a rip off. The more you learn about them, the more you realize how much you can be hurt by them. Some people realize only after nearly drowning in debt and having to either almost go bankrupt or actually go bankrupt. Thing is, we need credit cards for so much in this world now. I can't imagine traveling without one. The odds seem to stacked against people when they sign up for a credit card, and they don't often even realize it. Some call it outright unethical. The key is to make them work for you, and not allow them to hurt you financially. If you are not armed with knowledge about them, they likely will cause you to end up paying for all the things you are buying with them, than you originally thought. That is a very depressing thought.
The high interest rates have not only not budged in years, but sometimes they have gone up and the astronomical fees have increased even more! Yet people continue to sign up for credit cards thinking they will solve problems or at least make life a little easier. Sometimes, you can even find new fees that you didn't even know to ask about before. In the mean time, people are going bankrupt left and right. Its so sad to see people losing their homes and other things, and be so deep in debt it brings problems to their personal lives. Banks are sure getting away with a lot, and its time people become armed with knowledge on how to make credit cards work for you, and not against you.
Some great tips to keep in mind
To help get out of debt, or just not as deep into debt, you want to arm yourself with some helpful tips. These are just some, and by applying what you know you can really help matters and have a good experience with credit cards.
1. Pay your balance, or as much as you can against your balance ASAP. Do not pay a bill late, and even try to pay it very early, like as soon as you get it in the mail. The late fees can be expensive and the extra really builds up as well.
2. Consider joining a Credit Union and taking advantage of the lower interest rates that often come with them. If you must take out a loan, this is a great way to do it as well.
3. Figure out how to manage your debt and know your credit limit. This is based on your income, amount of current debt and the history of your credit as well.
4. Keep in mind that having negative marks on your credit record can plague you for years to come. Its amazing how quickly things can go downhill just by being a bit careless with credit cards. Its not a road you want to go down. Avoid going into debt as much as is possible. There are many people that if they could do things over, would change this!
5. If you have a dispute on your card, or if you can't pay it for whatever reason, contact the card issuer as soon as possible. Put it in writing, and keep records of everything. You might be very glad you did.
6. Its easy to be fooled when your minimum payments stay so low or go lower. Do NOT be fooled by this. The credit card issuer is often doing this to get more money out of you in the long run. They are willing to be very patient to get as many dollars from you as they can! Never pay just the minimum amount. You are paying way more for your purchases than you think this way and they are benefiting and you are being hurt.
7. If you need help in knowing what to do should things get out of control, contact a personal credit counseling organization. Consumer Credit Counseling Services is a great one. Their number is 1-888-388-CCCS.
8. Try to own no more than two credit cards.
9. Don't apply for more than one card at a time, ever.
10. Know that if you are wise with your credit cards, you are helping your credit score. By not making wise decisions, you are really hurting your credit score.
*Bad credit card habits have been the cause for many a bankruptcy, or divorce, and depression and anxiety for many people. It can destroy lives. Don't become one of the statistics.