The economy runs on credit cards. If you’ve got one – or you are applying for one – then you’re stepping foot into a major economic commitment. Before you make any decisions, it might be a good idea to start thinking about how you’ll manage your credit cards. If you do it right, after all, you’ll build your credit history and have access to money when necessary. A wrong choice, though, can put you in a bad place with the rest of the financial world. Below are a few things you must do to manage your credit cards in 2018. Remember, you can take out short term loans to pay immediate expenses, however, when it comes to credit card debt, we recommend longer term lending such as installment loans or personal loans. Our platform provides these with any amount over $1,000. This way you can get fixed monthly payments with a term and end date for debt consolidation.
Pay on Time
It should go without saying that you should always make your payments on time. You have signed an agreement with your credit card company, so be prepared to honor that agreement. On-time payments don’t just help you to avoid fees – they help you to avoid problems with your credit. While most companies won’t ding your credit score if you are a few days late, they will add onerous late fees to your account. This will further drive up the amount you’ll need to pay when you decide to pay off your cards. It’s easier to stay on top of your balances and payments than to work from behind.
Make More Than the Minimum Payment
Always make more than the minimum payment. Minimum payments exist to allow you to keep using the card, not to keep ahead of your debt. Remember, the interest on your card will continue to compound over time, so the less you pay on any given month, the less you will get ahead on those interest payments. If possible, try to pay off your balance every month. If not, try to pay as much as you can. Failure to do so can add years onto any repayment plan you decide to set up.
Can be a great way to budget monthly expenses
If you really want to get the most out of your credit card rewards, consider using your credit card as a major budgeting tool. If you put all of your spending on your card, you’ll have to spend less time keeping track of every nickel and dime in your bank account. The only way this works, though, is if you can consistently pay off the entire balance on your card at the end of every month. This will stop interest from accruing and still allow you to get all the benefits of using your card for your daily purchases. This is an advanced way to budget and run your daily expenses, however its a powerful way to build excellent credit.
Keep Track of Records
You are ultimately the person in charge of tracking your credit card spending and debt. If you want your cards to work for you, this means keeping track of all your records. It’s often helpful to keep an electronic file that tells you not only what you’ve spent, but also what you have paid on the card. You should also take the time to keep track of any payments made, any communications from the credit card company, and any other offers (free airline miles, cash back, etc.) of which you have taken advantage. Having all these numbers in the same place can help you to spot any discrepancies on your bills and will allow you to have a better idea of what you still owe.
You should always have a working relationship with the companies who hold your debts. When it comes to your credit cards, this means knowing who to call when you have a problem and establishing a history of working with them to solve any outstanding issues. For most, this is as simple as picking up the phone and making a call any time you have an issue that could impact your card. If you notice that a payment hasn’t been taken out in time, for example, you should call the credit card company to let them know before the due date. This helps to establish that you are not only responsible, but that you are willing to work with the company any time there is a problem with your card.
Get Help If Needed. Feel free to ask
Finally, you may want to look into getting help if your credit card bills are overwhelming you. Most lenders offer some form of counseling and there are dozens of services out there who can help you to establish a strong debt management plan for the future. Enrolling in one of these plans is a good way to make sure you don’t fall behind on your payments and a fantastic way to stop being overwhelmed by your cards. Finding a good way to get ahead of your debt may be time-consuming, but it is also the best way to avoid long-term credit issues.