The following tips can help you manage your credit cards wisely:
Shop around and get the card best suited to your needs.
DonĄ¯t regard your credit card as cash in your pocket ¨C itĄ¯s certainly not the same thing!
Read the fine print ¨C additional fees can add up.
Opt for a low credit limit or try setting your own spending limits ¨C especially if you are new to credit cards.
Pay off your balance in full every month. If you can afford it, paying your full balance every month will help you stay out of debt while getting the convenience of using a credit card.
Pay more than the minimum. If you can't pay the full balance, pay half. If you can't pay half, pay somethingĄĒbut always more than the minimum. If you just pay the minimum, it may take a long time to pay off your debt, and you'll pay lots of interest. If you find that you can never pay off what you've charged, re-evaluate your budget.
Pay on time. To ensure you receive the promotional rate and payoff terms of your approved payment plan, it is important to pay your required minimum monthly payment on time. It's a good idea to send in your payment a week before it's due, or pay online to make certain your payment arrives at CareCredit before it's due date. If payments are late, you will be charged interest charges on the full amount of your plan.
Never miss a payment. Missing a payment is the worst thing you can do for your credit rating, and it means you'll pay the most fees and the highest interest. Missing payments can lead to more late fees and an increased interest rate.
Check your monthly statement. Make sure your statement reflects what you purchased. If something shows up that looks unfamiliar, call your credit card company immediately.
Maintain a low "Debt-to-Income Ratio." Make sure you only take on debt you know you can repay. If your level of debt gets too high, it can affect your credit rating. Lenders often look at the ratio of your overall debt to your income to see if you can pay your bills and still borrow.
Don't apply for too many credit cards at one time. Every time you apply for a credit card or loan, the fact that you applied will show up on your credit report. If you apply for too much credit at one time, it may look like you are in financial trouble and a lender may consider you a higher risk.
Be prepared to cut up your card if your spending gets out of control.
DonĄ¯t be flattered into accepting unsolicited offers for an extension of your cardĄ¯s credit limit.
Stick to a spending budget ¨C donĄ¯t let a credit card encourage impulse buying.
DonĄ¯t be tempted to let reward points influence your spending habits.