A credit card is like a double-edged sword. It can be a huge help when you badly needed help financially, but it can also turn things around if you are not careful. In reality, a new credit card can be both helpful and dangerous. Still, at the end of the day, it can be a powerful tool as long as you use it responsibly.
You see, it is really easy to get in the habit of using a credit card. This is most especially the case when you need something and you just want to purchase it. After all, it is the simplest and fastest way of paying for things – be it online or not. And when you do not like the idea of bringing cash, your credit card might just be what you need to go through the day.
But hey, have you given thought about your credit card habits? Have you checked your credit score and wonder if these habits have a bad effect? In other words, are you using your card in a way that it will hurt your credit? It is time to protect your finances and these tips can help you do just that!
#1. Make Sure to Pay on Time
This one right here is a no-brainer actually. Unfortunately, a lot of people across the world tend to overlook their payment due dates. Sure, they are confident that they can pay their dues on time. Problem is, they usually overlook this narrative. For instance, you decided to take a vacation on your due date. Or perhaps you are just having a busy day that you forget about your payment. As a result, you accrue late fees and even obtain large finance charges.
Your goal here is to always make your bill a priority. If you can pay it ahead of your due date, this is a great idea since this will cut out the chance of missing your payment. Keep in mind that late or missed payments will always show up on your credit report and, thus, lower your credit score. That is something you do not want to experience, right?
#2. Try to Pay More Than The Minimum
When you receive your monthly credit card bill, it is expected for your statement balance to appear alongside your minimum due. This is simply the standard. What most people do not anticipate, however, is the fact that most minimum could come with interest charges. And mind you, these charges can add up so quickly that you will be left hanging financially. What is more, your credit score is already affected. So, if you have a new credit card, make it a habit to pay more than the minimum. Again, a minimum payment is specifically designed to keep your account active and in good standing. Your best course of action is to pay more than what the figure says.
#3. Get in Touch With Your Credit Card Company
Yes, that is right – it is essential that you always get in touch with your credit card company. Believe it or not, credit card companies actually value clients who get in touch with them. Why? That is because it shows you are interested in keeping a good standing, which is something these companies look forward to from their clients. For instance, there are things you do not know about when it comes to using a credit score. It might be a good idea to call your credit card provider and talk to them about it.
Unfortunately, most credit card holders think getting in touch with their card providers is a waste of time. Probably because they have more important things to do, which is actually a total misconception as working alongside your provider is also significant. Just make some time to talk to your credit card company and ask for their assistance whenever you need. From time to time, they will remind you about how to use your card in a responsible way.
#4. Check Your Monthly Statements
Your goal here is to check for accuracy and you want to make sure that everything is correct and up to date. It is always possible for billing and/or transaction mistakes to happen. Unfortunately, these mistakes can take a heavy toll on your credit standing. In order to protect your score, you must make checking your monthly statements a habit and make sure they are accurate. You can do this online or when your statement arrives in the mail.
Upon checking these statements, if you find discrepancies, do not hesitate to call your bank or credit provider right away. Make sure there is an explanation as to why these discrepancies took place. In most cases, they are mistakes that need to be corrected. Now, imagine if you did not check your monthly statements? You could be paying for someone else’s mistake, or even worse, fraudulent charges.
#5. Stay Below Your Credit Limit
Ah, this one right here is where most credit card holders are making a mistake. They often forget why it is important to always stay below their credit limit. It is recommended to stay at around 30% credit utilization or less. Staying at a low credit utilization is good practice and shows the creditors that you are not dependant on your card and can easily pay off what you use.
By combining these 5 best practices you can make sure that your credit score will move in the direction that you want and not backwards.