Owing a large amount of debt on a credit card can feel like quicksand, the longer you sit still the deeper you slide into a bottomless hole. Honestly, using a credit card shouldn’t leave you feeling bogged down, but it’s important to realize that there are responsible and irresponsible ways to use a credit card. Here are four tips you should follow to keep your credit card debt free and safe.
Don’t charge frivolous items to credit
Have you ever seen an amazing pair of sunglasses at a store that you didn’t need but still wanted?
Well, you might be tempted to charge those sunglasses to your credit card, however, you shouldn’t, as charging frivolous expenditures to your credit card could leave you with unmanageable debt. Your credit card should be available when you really need it, such as paying for the tow truck after your car battery dies, or when you need to pay an outstanding electricity bill. Buying luxury items on credit could leave you with a mountain of unnecessary, interest collecting debt.
Pay more than the minimum each month
You used your credit card only for emergency expenses, but now the bill is here, and you aren’t sure how much you should pay. You might be tempted to only pay the minimum, and use the extra money to buy those sunglasses, but the reality is that paying only the minimum you owe will end up costing you more money because of the incurring interest. Aim to pay the full balance you owe every month, and you can avoid ever playing catch up with interest again.
Don’t miss a payment
You try to be responsible, and pay the full amount each month, however, if one month you can’t afford the full payment, then you might be tempted to skip the payment, and try to catch up next month, but this isn’t something you should consider doing. The consequences of skipping a payment could be a damaged credit score, a late fee on top of your monthly bill, and an increased interest rate. If you can’t make the full payment, then be sure to try to pay at least the minimum as the consequences for missing a credit card payment can be catastrophic.
Watch out for credit card fraud
Credit card fraud affects millions of people each year, and everyone is a potential victim. With people using their credit cards more often, it can be convenient to reach for the plastic and type or swipe almost anywhere, but this is something you should avoid doing flippantly. How and where you use your credit card matters, so be careful to guard yourself against credit card fraud. There are many steps you can take to prevent credit card fraud:
- Keep your credit cards secure on you at all times.
- Choosing a bank that also allows foreign payment, like mach, the best bank in Malaysia.
- Only use your credit card in places you trust.
- Destroy any documents that reveal information about your credit card.
- Set up a push notification system on your smartphone to alert you when your credit card is being used.