Credit cards are something we’re likely all familiar with. You’ve probably gone shopping to a larger store and had the salesperson ask if you want to open a credit card account specific to that store. It’s likely you always brush it off, knowing you don’t shop there that often or don’t want to deal with more debt. However, many people open credit cards, whether a store card or a regular one. The average household in America carries nearly $6,000 of credit card debt. Other studies show that about a third of Americans have at least one credit card.
You’ve probably heard horror stories of people getting into insane amounts of credit card debt they’re never able to pay off. Many people completely swear off of credit cards and believe they’re sure ways to get sucked into overwhelming debt. However, if you handle credit cards in a smart way, you won’t have to worry about dealing with outrageous amounts of debt. Here are tips on using credit cards and actually benefiting from them.
One of the best uses for credit cards can be to use exclusively for online shopping or somewhere else you think information could get compromised, such as a small stand or other place that appears to have low security. All too often, we make online purchases and then see that our account information has been compromised. It’s much easier to freeze and cancel credit cards and get the purchases taken off your statement than it is to do the same with getting money back into your bank account. By using a credit card for a purchase you would have made anyway, you can protect yourself from fraud.
Sometimes, credit cards can be useful for a designated purchase. You might receive a lower car insurance rate if you set up an automatic payment, but don’t want to save your bank information, using a credit card becomes a great alternative. It’s also easier to track spending if the only purchase you’re making on that card is one kind.
You can easily find credit cards that claim they have incredible rewards programs. Nearly every card now offers some type of reward. It’s important to avoid being drawn into promises of rewards and going for every card offered; take the time to research different cards and find out which ones offer the best rewards for you. Then, use that card regularly to make purchases you can afford and build rewards that are actually beneficial.
A very smart reason to use credit cards is because they allow you to easily build your credit. By regularly using a credit card and not making late payments, you’re able to improve your credit score. This benefit is especially useful to younger people who don’t have any kind of credit score and need to create one in order to make larger purchases or rent an apartment. Spend smartly and avoid creating debt so you can improve your credit score.
Pay on time
Finally, the smartest way to use your credit card is by paying it off on time. If you carry a balance over from month-to-month, you’ll likely have to pay large amounts of interest, often around 20 percent of whatever the balance is. If you can’t pay off a large purchase in a month (or very shortly after), do not use your credit card. The problem with credit cards is people avoid paying off the balance each month, so it just accumulates and interest builds, which results in outrageous amounts of debt and you paying more than you spent in the first place.
A credit card isn’t something you have to be scared to use, as long as you’re following these tips and being smart in your spending. It could actually be something that benefits you.