6 Easily Made Credit Card Mistakes That Could Land You in Financial Trouble
Credit cards offer unbeatable convenience when it comes to making payments, both online and offline, and for quickly accessing extra funds when you’re short of cash. However, it’s also possible to get into financial difficulty extremely quickly if you use your card in the wrong way. Here are six mistakes to avoid if you want to enjoy your credit card’s convenience without risking its dangers.
Making Late Payments
The cardinal rule of credit card use is to always pay your bill on time. A late payment will result in a costly penalty fee, but the consequences can be much more serious than that. If you regularly make late payments, you may find your credit limit is severely limited, making your card account less useful. Worse, you may find that your account’s APR is hiked upwards, making servicing your debt more costly. Finally, you could find your account frozen entirely, meaning you are unable to use the card in future, while still being fully responsible for clearing any outstanding balance at a punitive interest rate.
Only Making Minimum Payments
Paying on time is only the first step towards safe card use. If you set up an automatic payment for the minimum amount demanded on each statement, you’ll avoid any of the dangers of late payments, but you’ll also wind up paying excessive amounts of interest. With most cards, the minimum payment barely covers the interest charges on the account balance, leaving the principal debt largely intact. The result is that your debt will last almost indefinitely, with nearly all of your repayments swallowed up by interest, month after month. Paying even a little extra whenever you can will shift the balance in your favor, making inroads into your debt as well as covering the interest charges.
Although using a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM is useful in an emergency, it should definitely not become a regular means of accessing cash. The interest rate charged on cash withdrawals (and credit card ‘convenience’ checks, for that matter) is usually a lot higher than the more attractive headline rate applied to purchases. What’s more, cash withdrawals aren’t always subject to the interest-free grace period that’s standard for purchases, and so even if you clear the debt in full every month, you’ll still have to pay interest on the amount you’ve withdrawn.
Mixing Balance Transfers and Spending
A 0% deal on balance transfers can save you a welcome sum of money if you have a large debt on another card. However, to make the most of this feature, it’s essential to avoid using the same card for purchases. Not only will your monthly payment not be as effective in reducing your debt within the interest-free period, but with many card accounts your least expensive debt is cleared first. This means that all your payments go towards reducing the 0% balance transfer total, while your purchase debt continues to attract full interest month after month.
Sometimes, credit cards make paying for purchases far too simple. Handing over a card or typing your details into a website feels very different from using real money, and it’s easy to buy something on impulse, only to regret the cost when your statement arrives. Avoid temptation by not keeping your card with you at all times, so that using it requires at least a small pause for thought.
Paying for Essentials
Credit of any kind is a poor way of handling life’s essential expenses, and is a clear sign of a broken budget if it becomes a habit. If your credit card has a cash back or rewards feature, then by all means move as much routine spending as possible onto it to take full advantage, but make sure you clear your balance in full every month, or the interest charges will wipe out any gains. Otherwise, consider using a debit or charge card for day-to-day transactions, so there’s no risk of running up a debt.
Credit cards are an undoubted financial success story, with a majority of adults now using them regularly. However, to fully enjoy their benefits, you need to use them wisely, or you may find you’re paying a heavy price for the privilege of plastic.
25 Tips on Credit Card Use for Students
First-time credit card owners are often unaware of the dangers of spending beyond their limits. When you spend recklessly and are unable pay back your credit card debt, a long and unpleasant sequence of events unfolds.? In the worst case, the fallout can last for years and adversely impact your credit history and keep you from qualifying for loans and mortgages as well as making any debt more expensive.
The effects of such behavior will be painful over the long term. Loans and mortgages are offered at higher interest rates than others with good credit history can enjoy. Even home owners and utilities may demand a higher security deposit for renting out homes and offering their services because you are now deemed to be less credit worthy thanks to your credit card debt.
That is why it is so important for youngsters to learn how to manage credit cards wisely to avoid these problems.
1. Student credit cards are issued to full-time college students. You can apply for one as soon as you join college.
2. College and university students should apply for cards specifically designed for them.
are a few examples of such student credit cards.
3. As a student, you probably don’t need more than one card. So apply only for as many as you actually need rather than accepting every offer that’s sent to you.
4. Sign the card as soon as your receive it and keep your PIN safe. Change it at the nearest ATM or use phone banking and pick a number that you can remember easily.? Do not write it down on the card or store it anywhere along with it, where others can access and maybe misuse your card.
5. Use your credit card only to make necessary purchases. Stay within your credit limit when shopping and avoid the temptation to add everything you dream about to your card.
6. Use your credit card only to make purchases which you can comfortably afford to pay for using the money in your account.? If you don’t see how you’ll be able to pay for it, don’t buy it with your card!
7. Pay the amount due on your card every month in full.? Doing this will avoid the exorbitant interest charged by providers on outstanding dues.
8. Following these steps consistently will help build your credit history. A good credit history can lead to a better credit score which will help you secure loans and mortgages at attractive rates of interest.
9. Wait until you get a job or other steady source of income before you make big purchases. Your new car can wait until then.
10. Flat owners and utilities charge lower security deposits for people with a good credit history.? Building up that history takes discipline and consistency.
11. Do not carry a balance forward on your credit cards. Pay off all bills in full by the due date.? Leaving unpaid balances on your card is bad for your credit history.
12. The interest rate on credit cards are calculated differently by providers and is based on many factors. Inform yourself about these matters. Some banks charge interest on the whole amount due for the month, even if you have paid a major portion of the balance.
13. Don’t transfer your balance to another account to take advantage of low-interest rates at this stage of your life. Save balance transfer games for later.
14. Don’t jump at every new credit card offer just because you get 100 dollars in free credit or a freebie.
15. It takes time to build a good credit score and credit history. It is determined by many factors like the time-period of your credit history, your loan/credit to bank balance ratio, how promptly you pay your bills, and the types of credit – loans, mortgages, utility bills, credit card bills – that you use.
16. Credit scores of all individuals are maintained by credit rating agencies which supply them to banks and other credit agencies on request.? Make sure that you do everything you can to keep this record spotless and clean.
17. Do not foul up your credit history. It is very difficult and time-consuming to build back credit history once you mess it up.
18. Educate yourself on how credit history and credit scores work. This will help you for the rest of your life. By using this information you will save money in the long run.
19. Keep account details, credit card numbers and PIN numbers along with your bank helpline phone number in a safe location which you can access quickly in case your card is stolen.
20. Check the amount on all transactions before you sign the charge slip and also match it against your monthly statement. Report fraudulent transactions to your card company as soon as you notice them.
21. Cut your expired credit cards into four or more pieces before throwing them away.
22. Do not store your PIN number along with your card.? That way, even if it gets lost, you are at lesser risk of the card being misused.
23.Do not share your credit card PIN number with anyone else.? It is meant to ensure that the card is never used without your permission.? Take advantage of the protection that offers you.
24. Don’t leave your card lying around where others can misuse it.
25. Do not lend your credit card to anyone.? If you must pay for someone else, make the payment yourself instead of handing over your card for them to use.