With your first credit card comes a lot of temptation to overspend. Remember no matter how young you are, your credit card transactions become a part of your official credit report. Any negative information can plague you for seven years. Use an online credit card payment calculator to determine when you can pay off your credit card debt.
Credit Card Do’s
- Pay your bill on time.
- Pay the balance in full each month or pay more than the minimum payment to reduce the principal balance.
- Stop charging! If you can’t pay your bill in full each month stop using your card and work on paying down the balance.
- Use only for emergencies.
- Limit the number of cards you have.
- Keep copies of your sales slips and compare charges when your statement arrives.
- Keep your account information to yourself.
- File your information in a safe place.
- If your card becomes lost or stolen, report it immediately.
- Be aware of the repayment schedule and fine print on the agreement.
- Ask questions. What is the interest rate? How much is the late fee? Does my interest rate increase if I miss a payment?
Credit Card Don’ts
- Don’t sign up for a card just to get a free gift.
- If you can eat, drink or wear it – don’t charge it or borrow for it.
- Don’t spend on impulse.
- Don’t charge up to the maximum credit limit. It all adds up!
- Don’t get more cards to pay off other debt.
- Don’t lend your card to anyone, even a friend or relative.
- Don’t panic. Seeking outside help if you get in over your head.
Shop Around To Get The Best Card
Fees, charges and benefits vary among credit card issuers. When you’re choosing a credit card, shop around. Compare these important features:
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – A measure of the cost of credit, expressed as a yearly interest rate.
- Grace Period – The time between the date of a purchase and the date interest starts being charged on that purchase.
- Annual Fees – Many credit card issuers charge an annual fee for granting you credit. Some issuers charge no annual fee.
- Transaction Fees and other charges – Charged if you use the card to get a cash advance, if you fail to make a payment on time, or if you exceed your credit limit.