Your credit card can become an important tool in maintaining your financial health, when used wisely.
Many people don’t know this basic rule of credit card use. A credit card isn’t a way to pay for items you don’t have enough cash to cover. Rather, it is a tool in your financial toolkit; useful for building your credit history, making online purchases conveniently, placing deposits on large purchases, or taking advantage of rewards programs. The simplest and most important rule of credit card use is not to use it for purchases you couldn’t otherwise afford. If you do, late fees, charges, and interest build up. Your credit score can quickly plummet as a result.
Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates - typically between 10 and 20% - meaning interest charges can add up fast. Your minimum payment is likely a small fraction of your total bill. If you only pay off the minimum you will accumulate interest charges. But, if you pay off your entire bill every month, you’ll never pay interest on your purchases and you’ll be improving your credit score at the same time!
Carefully read through your statement every month and make sure that the charges listed are valid. If you spot an error, you can contest the charge and avoid overpaying on your bill.
Regularly running a balance too close to your credit limit can negatively affect your credit score. Try to keep your outstanding balance around half or less of your total available credit.
To avoid being held partially responsible for purchases made on a lost or stolen credit card, report the lost card as soon as possible. You won’t be responsible for any charges that happen after the card is reported missing. As soon as you notice your car as missing, call 1-855-341-4643 to report it.