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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Protect your Name by Using your Credit Cards Wisely

By Paul J. Easton

Using a credit card can reap benefits such as cash back and bonus points. Ina addition to that, you can also earn airline miles to fund your next vacation travel and have a better credit score. Use it unwisely, however, and you will end up with a life of debt.

Paying the balance of your credit cards takes much discipline. As a general rule, you should always pay off your entire balance with your credit card every month and on time. If you are not paying the entire balance, you will pay interest on your purchases.

Make your payments when they are due. Late fees can accumulate a huge amount in the long run. What is worst is that a couple of late payments will trigger an increase in interest rates. Late payments lower your credit score. Simultaneously with a lower credit score, an increase with your interest rate is expected with your other credit cards and for possible future loans too.

As a solution, limit credit cards to a number you can handle. Just be content with two cards, with one as most ideal today. Financial experts recommend only up to six cards per individual but with today's meltdown and hyped marketing in various medium, just stick to a maximum of two credit cards.

What you might not know is that applying for many credit cards can actually hurt your credit score. On the contrary, closing several credit card accounts in very short intervals will prompt a huge plunge in your credit score.

Always read the fine print before signing that deal. Research or ask the interest rate you will be charged with a credit card. Find out what is the grace period for paying your debt before interest. Also, look for the universal default clause. This allows an increase in your interest rate with every late payment in any other bill.

Lastly, make each credit card purchase only within your budget for the month. If you can't, stop using it and leave it at home. Keep it just for emergency only. Protect your name and your credit score by using your credit card wisely all the time. It is far more important than your whims today; it is your financial future.

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