There’s no denying that credit cards are a fantastic tool to help people manage their finances but for many, the same simple traps catch them out time and time again. By not making the most of their card, they end up paying high interest fees and penalty charges, all the while building up an otherwise avoidable debt. Here are some straightforward tips that will ensure you get the very best use of your card and avoid these kinds of problems.
Do Your Homework
Choosing a credit card isn’t something you should rush into. There are so many different kinds, each with their own unique rates and features. This means one that works for someone else may not necessarily work for you and so you should always research what credit card offers are available and how best to go about securing a deal you can rely on.
Be on The Lookout For Changes
Even if you secure a good initial deal, your provider can still make changes later down the line. You may receive notifications from your bank about alterations to your account that are often minor and will have no real effect on your everyday spending but you should still always read them very carefully as every now and then, they may announce new late fees, spending limits or other important features. Sometimes a bank won’t even tell you about changes to interest rates, as they are always printed on your monthly bill, so be sure to check them diligently as well to make sure the deal you are paying for is one that still works for you.
Know The Time And The Place
Once you have a credit card, there can be a temptation to use it whenever you please, as something of a substitute for cash. This is risky, as everything charged onto a card must be paid back and the worst thing you can do is build up debts you cannot afford. Use them sparingly when you know your bank balance will support the spending by the end of the month and you can avoid this predicament. However it is worth noting that purchases made using a credit card are often liable to your lender as much as they are you, meaning that you have a greater chance of compensation should a sale fall through than you would if paying cash, so they can be very handy for expensive items.
Know The Loop-Holes
While it is true that credit cards often offer certain protection in terms of buying, there are also risks. Not only is there the well-documented problem of fraud and identity theft but some lenders won’t reimburse lost or stolen money if your card was not reported missing before the fraudulent spending took place. It’s important to protect your card and account details as well as to know the specific rules for your card regarding protection, as this varies from country-to-country and lender-to-lender.
Be Open to Change
Credit card lenders do not necessarily reward you for loyalty. In fact, the longer you are with the same organisation, the more opportunities they have to up your interest fees. It is a harsh reality that new customers often get the best deals and this is why to ensure you always get the most from you credit card, you should always be on the hunt for better deals and be willing to make the jump when the time is right.