Credit cards can be seen as something of an essential financial tool that is capable of helping you manage your finances more effectively: if you use them responsibly. The fact is, that a lot of people get involved in credit card debt because they do not know the do’s and don’ts of using credit cards.
Here is a comprehensive guide to help you understand credit card use and the do’s and don’ts you should remember when using them.
Do’s of Using Credit Cards Responsibly
Given below are effective practices to help you maintain a healthy credit score.
- Remember to Pay Your Bills Timely
Credit scores are largely determined by your ability to pay your credit card bills on time and maintain a low balance. Late payments can have significant consequences, such as higher interest rates and lower credit scores.
- Check Your Credit Utilisation Ratio Often
It is important to keep your credit utilisation ratio as low as possible. In general, the credit utilisation ratio measures the amount of credit you use compared to your available credit. Credit utilisation ratios over 30% can make maintaining a good credit score challenging.
- Make Sure You Keep Track of Your Credit Card Statement
If there are any unauthorised transactions or errors on your credit card statement, you can check it at least once a month through your credit card statement. If you do this, you’ll be able to catch suspicious activity sooner rather than later, thereby avoiding any unnecessary charges.
- Use Your Credit Card during an Emergency
Credit card uses in times of an emergency can easily help you cope with a problematic situation. Once you feel your expenses are on track, it’s essential to pay off your pending bills or any unexpected expenses as soon as possible to avoid accruing high-interest charges.
- Benefit from Reward Programs
For purchases made with your credit card, you can earn points or cash back by taking advantage of the rewards programs offered by your card company. By taking advantage of these programs and knowing the best way to use a credit card, you can earn rewards and save money.
Don’ts of Using Credit Cards
Given below are things you should never do when using a credit card.
- Leave a Balance on Your Credit Card
Having a balance on your credit card can result in high-interest charges being incurred and also have a negative impact on your credit score as well. Paying off the balance quickly can also improve your credit score.
- Max Out Your Credit Cards
Using credit cards to their maximum capacity may also negatively affect your credit score and increase your debt levels. You should be well aware of the best way to use a credit card. Always leave some limit available and never fully exhaust the given limit.
- Use Credit Cards for Unnecessary Purchases
Credit card spending is very easy to get carried away with, but you should take care not to use your credit card to make unnecessary purchases you cannot afford.
- Apply for Multiple Credit Cards at Once
When you apply for multiple credit cards at the same time, your credit score is negatively impacted, making it harder for you to manage your finances effectively. Credit card companies typically check your credit report when you apply for a credit card, creating a hard inquiry on your credit report. It can be difficult to obtain credit in the future if you make multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time.
- Ignore Credit Card Fees
The companies that issue credit cards charge various fees. These include annual, late payments, and balance transfer fees. If you want to ensure your budget allows for these fees, then you must understand and consider them.
To maintain a healthy credit score while using credit cards, following the recommendations mentioned above. Avoid making common mistakes. Keeping your balances low, paying your bills on time, and only applying for credit when necessary are key strategies to remember.
While credit cards offer many advantages, using them carelessly can have negative consequences. Using credit cards wisely can build a strong credit history and achieve your financial goals.