Whether you are taking the step to get your first credit card, or are thinking of getting another line of credit, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts that go with this territory.
Looking for a Credit Card
Do compare your options – There are a number of credit card offers on the market these days. They are different and come with various pros and cons. Don’t jump at one card before you compare and contrast the best looking deals.
Do check interest rates – Unless you are going to pay off your Credit Card balance every month, the interest rate is a very important variable to keep in mind. The higher the rate, the more money will be added to your balance each month you are unable to pay the card off.
Do learn about penalties – If you are late with a payment, even once, there could be hefty consequences. Find out what the late fees are and what a late payment will do to your interest rate. Many companies hike the rate by 10-15% for one late payment.
Don’t forget about annual fees – Many cards, especially rewards and cash-back cards, have an annual fee. If you are considering this type of card, make sure you will be able to get enough back from the reward aspect of the card to warrant the fee they are imposing.
Do spend wisely – When you first get a credit card in your hand it’s easy to have things get out of hand, with all that spending power. Remember, all those little charges add up. Whether it’s a muffin and a cup of coffee on day and a movie ticket the next, at the end of the month all those little charges can add up to be one very large bill.
Do keep copies of your receipts – This way you can compare the charges on your card at the end of the month to what is on your statement and look for any unauthorized charges.
Don’t forget to print out receipts for your online purchases – It is important to track all your spending, even internet spending so you remember these when you are going over your monthly statement.
Do copy your information – Make a copy of all your credit card account numbers and expiration dates. Also, write down the phone number to your credit card company. If your card is ever lost, you will know whom to contact to stop any unauthorized charges from going through.
Don’t give out your credit card information too easily – Online, make sure you are using a secure site before you enter your information. Also, double-check to make sure you are dealing with the right company. Many copycat sites will pretend they are another company to get your credit card information
Don’t fall for e-mail scams – There are a number of e-mail scams that will tell you your account has been compromised. They ask you to click on a link from the e-mail and enter your account information to sort it all out. If you do, you will have just given the con artists access to your credit cards.