Credit cards are one of the most convenient inventions of our time. They’re an incredibly useful tool when it comes to building a positive credit score and making online payments. Not only that, but you also get protected from fraudulent transactions, and if someone steals it, you can cancel it in a matter of minutes.
However, a lot of people don’t seem to know how to use these plastic cards. For some, they are the source of massive debt that can’t be repaid. That’s why we’re going to look at the optimal ways to use a credit card to ensure you receive the maximum benefits.
The marketing ploys of banks work amazingly well. After all, they’ve been studying how people interact with their finances for hundreds of years. They know a thing or two about what makes individuals tick. Often, their promotional campaigns include zero-interest cards. That’s a great offer, but only if you abide by their rules. There’s always an asterisk next to the last word of the campaign, which is a legal way to say whatever they want and get away with it.
If you are even one day late with a payment, they can terminate the promotional offer for you indefinitely. Not only that but you will be required to pay even more debt on top of the usual annual percentage rate. This can be a massive blow to your credit score, and you will also be subject to additional fines if you make multiple late payments.
To avoid this kind of situation, financial experts advise setting up a direct debit. This option ensures that not a single payment will be missed. Another option that you can use is free text alerts that serve as reminders. Instead of payments being automatically deducted from your account, you can manually send a transaction.
Stay within the boundaries.
When you receive your credit card by mail, there will be information regarding the limit. Since the bank has done its due diligence when it comes to communicating the details of use, it’s up to you to respect the deal. Now, if you decide to go over the prescribed limit, even by a few dollars, you immediately forfeit the bonuses and benefits of the introductory deal. What’s even more, that sort of behavior will have a negative effect on your score.
In an ideal world, you would be able to borrow money from the bank and then repay the exceeded amount from your next paycheck. But that’s only an idea. This world is not perfect, and banks are always looking for ways to make a profit. Because of that, it’s wise to set up SMS alerts that will ping your phone when you’re getting dangerously close to exceeding the limit.
Tackle the most expensive debts first.
Most people have more than one credit card. Paying attention to where you stand with each one is a nuisance, which is why individuals use them interchangeably. That’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Doing that will quickly lead you to debt because it’s highly probable that you’ll be using the one nearest to your fingers the most or the one with rewards. Packing on a bit of debt on multiple cards will eat your paycheck faster than a shopping spree.
If you’re in multiple forms of debt, it makes the most sense from a financial perspective to cover the one with the highest interest first and then focus on the others. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that you should forget about the other ones completely and refuse to make the minimum payment. Use a top-bottom approach. Find the loan that’s costing you the most money, pay it off, and go down until you cover everything.
Another good idea in this situation is to take out a personal loan. Since the average interest rate on credit cards is close to 20 percent, a personal loan with a 6 percent rate makes much more sense. You can consolidate the loans into a single payment, and you won’t have to worry about them anymore. Go to this website to learn more.
Cards are best for significant purchases.
Cash is a form of payment that isn’t protected at all. If you go to a vendor, buy a product and throw away the receipt, there’s absolutely no way to return the product if it’s defective. They can claim that you never bought anything from them or that the cash you gave them was counterfeit.
That’s where credit cards come in to save the day. You can use them to pay for pretty much anything that costs below 30 000 dollars. Everything you buy falls under a protection act that guarantees you get a return of your money if the product becomes defective during the grace period provided.
Not only that, but you also get reward points, air miles, or cash back. If you’ve been loyal to a single financial institution, you might get a cash back card that offers up to five percent with each purchase. For a 30 000-dollar purchase, you can get 1500 dollars back if there isn’t a monthly or a spending limit. That’s a lot of money in savings right off the bat.
Check the associated costs.
Most payment providers are only concerned about their local operations. That means you can withdraw cash from an ATM with zero fees, and you can check your balance whenever you like for no hidden costs. However, that all changes when you step into a foreign country. Traditional credit cards may incur additional costs if you need to convert them to another currency. First comes the cost of the conversion, and then comes the transaction fee.
That’s why you need to research the costs online before you arrive at your destination. When you consider the number of times you’re going to have to use the card, the costs can quickly add up. In that case, cash might be much better because you don’t want to see a disheartening bill at the end of the month. You can also choose to get a travel option that may provide free transactions in foreign countries but doesn’t work as well in your home state. This will allow you to avoid unnecessary expenses.
Use it in a risk-free manner
The banking app on your phone shouldn’t be there just to take up some memory and show you the balance. Instead, you need to check statements of alle kredittkort at least once a week. This will help you determine whether all of the transactions have been legitimate. If this is not the case, you need to contact the issuer immediately.
There are loads of cases where people have been subject to fraud, and 10 to 15 dollars have been deducted from their cards for months without them noticing. Hackers can compromise your phone to find out your PIN number and details, which is why you need to be extra careful. Never use a public computer to do your online banking. If you absolutely must, then make sure you delete cookies and the browsing history and log out of the account.
If you get hacked, cutting up the card won’t make it invalid. You must call your issuer to close your account or go to a branch in-person to do it as fast as possible.