Using Your Credit Card Wisely

11-20-2015 10-16-30 AM

Looking at getting a credit card? There are many things besides the rewards that are offered when signing up that come along with having the card.

Before you can use that new credit card, you need to apply for it first. Keep in mind that credit cards are a legally binding contract and reading the fine print is a must before applying. There are many factors that will determine what kind of card is best for you.

  • What will you be using the card for?
  • What kind of card is it?
  • What are the fees associated with the card?
  • What is the credit limit?
  • What rewards are involved?

 

Those are a few of the questions that need to be answered that will help determine what kind of credit card you should be applying for. Another thing to keep in mind is your spending habits, because despite popular belief, a credit card doesn’t increase the amount of money you have to spend, you still have to budget to make sure you are not stretching your spending because of the credit limit given to you.

Once you have chosen the credit card that best suits you and are actively using it, the end of the month rolls around and it’s now time to pay the balance. Make sure you review the statement and are actively watching your account for any unknown charges that may occur. Your statement will show a minimum payment option, but try to not get into the habit of only making minimum payments as by doing this each month, the amount of time it will take to pay off this debt will increase. The amount of interest you will end of paying will also accumulate by only making minimum payments, so always try your best to pay off the balance in the full or as much as you can.

The worst thing you can do is not make your monthly payment, always let your creditor know if you are unable to make a payment as they will usually be able to help and to avoid late fees. You also don’t want to miss payments as this will affect your credit score.  You will also see on your statement how long it will take you to pay off your current balance if only making the minimum payment each month, but this is only accurate when not continually using the credit card. This is why we suggest staying within your means as it can take a long time to pay off a splurge.

Another way to use your credit card wisely is to recognize that if your monthly balance is continually growing and you are unable to make monthly payments in full, it is okay to stop using your credit card until you can properly manage your finances and look for ways to help get your budget back on track. A good tip from About Money is to keep your spending within 30% of your credit limit making payments easier to manage.

Looking for more resources on using your credit card wisely? The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada  gives great tips on Canadian credit cards and how to be smart with it. Do you have any credit card tips for us? Let us know in the comment section below.

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