Owning a credit card is something that can be a very positive thing… as long as it is used responsibly. There are many ways for people to use credit cards to their advantage, but there are also ways for credit cards to get people into financial trouble. By following a few simple tips related to managing credit card usage, a credit card can be a very beneficial piece of plastic to own.
For anyone who has never before owned any sort of credit card and has never been loaned money, there will probably be very little information (neither good nor bad) on their credit report. Without a credit history, it’s difficult for credit card companies to determine whether or not to offer a line of credit to a person. In this situation, the credit card companies tend to err on the side of caution and not offer a card.
However, if there is one credit card company out there willing to offer a credit card with a very small line of credit to someone with no credit history, that card should be immediately obtained. It should be used very wisely to purchase a few low-priced items, and the monthly payments for that credit card should be made on time every month.
As time goes on, this sort of spending and monthly payment behavior will allow a credit report to grow with nothing but good marks. A person’s credit score can continue to grow higher and higher when they can show the ability to handle and pay for their credit card purchases.
Over time, a person’s positive credit report will allow him or her to obtain either additional credit cards or credit cards which offer great interest rates and other types of benefits.
Don’t Charge Too Much
Just because a credit card has been obtained does not mean it should be over used or abused. If a new credit card has a credit limit of about $1,500, it’s smart to keep the balance on that card significantly lower than the maximum allowed to be charged. So, charging no more than $1,000 – at the most – is reasonable.
A credit card company issues a credit limit based on how much they believe a person can afford. And, higher balances means a significant amount of interest must be paid on the balance, which can create an amount due that is unaffordable.
If the credit card is used to charge more than the available credit limit, the credit card company will issue an over-charge fee and the user will not be able to use the card again until some of the balance has been paid.
Don’t Pay Payments Late
When it’s time to make a minimum payment on a credit card balance, PAY IT! Payments should NEVER be late. Late payments can negatively affect a person’s credit report, and in turn, lower a person’s credit score. Making payments on time, conversely, can help a person build a good credit history and earn a better credit score.
Knowing that a credit card bill will be received in the mail on approximately the same date each month, prepare ahead of time and make sure there is enough money in the bank to send AT LEAST the minimum amount due.
Keep Credit Cards Safe
In today’s world of being able to easily purchase items via telephone or the internet, it’s important to keep credit cards and credit card numbers in a safe spot. If anyone non-trustworthy person were to get their hands on another person’s credit card, charges could be made to that card which were not authorized by the card owner. While most credit card companies do not hold card holders responsible for unauthorized charges, it does not look good if this sort of situation happens more than once (at the most!) during a person’s lifetime.