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5 Tips to Using Your Plastic Wisely

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OK. So we all know using credit cards has become a way of life for many. In fact, between debit cards and credit cards, we rarely have the need to write a check, and with the ease, convenience and security, many would rather use a credit card than carry cash. Add on bonus rewards and points tha5 Tips to Using Your Plastic Wiselyt many cards offer these days, and it’s hard to say no to using credit cards at least once in a while. 

If your reason to use a credit card has to do with the convenience, rewards, security or ease of use with no issue of paying your monthly bill or getting deep in debt, that’s great. However, you want to use caution if you’re using your plastic to cover your regular monthly bills, as it can be challenging to get ahead without going deeper in debt. That’s not to say emergency situations might call for the use of a credit card when you simply don’t have the cash, but this should only be used as a last resort and in instances when you know you’ll be able to pay the balance in the near future. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ll be able to pay off your card when the bill comes, and then when the bill does come, your pocket book is empty. Plan ahead to avoid this from happening.

When using credit cards, do so wisely by considering the following tips. In doing so, you can keep your credit on the up and up and minimize any stress that might result from unwanted debt.

1. Pay your minimum monthly payment on time. This is important to avoid costly late fees and to keep your credit in good standing.

2. Don’t use more than 35% of your credit limit. For one thing, this will help you keep your total debt lower. Secondly, using more than 35% of your credit limit could negatively impact your credit.

3. Avoid racking up debt on several cards. This can easily get you deeper in debt and make it harder to get out. Identify one to two cards to use and stick with them.

4. Avoid going over the credit limit. Another costly mistake is going over the credit limit and paying an over limit fee that can easily cost you $29+ per fee charged.

5. Protect your identity. Be proactive to protect yourself from identity theft by keeping your card and account information secure, including online banking log-in information.

When shopping for a credit card, it’s also a good idea to look for cards with low or no fees, and be wary of cards with “perks” that could cost you more in the long run when it comes to fees and high interest rates to compensate for the “perks” creditors offer. PrimeWay is a Houston credit union with different credit card options to meet your needs with convenient features, including no annual fees, balance transfer fees and more.

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