Our last post began a discussion of how to most responsibly use a credit card. Many Americans make mistakes when it comes to their card use and wind up on what feels like a treadmill of trying to keep up with their excessive credit card debt. And when they can’t keep up, their credit scores take a big hit, affecting their lives in more ways than one.
The first couple of tips regarding credit card use are to know when your bills are due, pay them on time and don’t pay the minimum amount. Those suggestions are just a couple of many, but if someone were to newly adopt just one of the several Fox Business tips, they could save themselves money, stress and points on their credit rating. Here are some more pieces of credit card advice:
Co-sign at your own risk
If someone wouldn’t be approved for a credit card on his or her own and you agree to co-sign on the credit card, you might as well look at that situation as you having taken on another credit card of your own. You might have an agreement with your child or other loved one that he or she will make the monthly payments on the card, but a verbal agreement won’t save you if your family member fails to pay. You will be stuck with the balance and held accountable for any late payments. Therefore, don’t take co-signing lightly or feel bad refusing someone to do so.
You will want to compare different credit cards, their benefits, fees and their interest rates before choosing one. And even if you think you can handle it, having a lot of different credit cards can be a bad thing. Applying for many credit cards at once will damage your credit score.
Don’t let fear wreck your credit
With all of the advice and warnings that come with credit cards and credit card debt, it can seem like the smartest thing to do to just avoid credit cards entirely. But as we have mentioned in the past, a credit card is a convenience that, if used responsibly, will create a solid credit score for a person and open up doors to opportunity.
So while you might decide to limit your credit card use, don’t cut up and cancel all of your credit cards. Just reevaluate your credit habits and use any anxiety you have regarding them to make better decisions starting today.
Source: Fox Business, “Seven Worst Credit Card Habits,” Karen Haywood Queen, April 11, 2012