Credit cards can be a useful way to manage short-term debt, as long as you use them responsibly. While interest rates may be near historic lows, credit card interest rates still remain sky-high. If you go on a shopping spree and overspend, it can end up costing a bundle in interest over time. Here are five credit card rules everyone should follow to avoid costly mistakes.
Rule 1: Choose Your Credit Card Carefully
It seems like there’s a new credit every month. With scores of credit cards to choose from, it can be difficult to pick just one. Before you sign up at the next credit card kiosk you run into at the mall, take the time to compare credit cards. Rates.ca makes comparing credit cards easier than ever, so you can find the credit card that’s right for you.
Rule 2: Keep Track of Your Spending
It’s hard to know how much you’re spending if you don’t keep track. While there are tools out there to help track your spending, why spend the time when you don’t need to? Your credit card is an excellent way to see where your money’s going each month. $2 a day on coffee may not seem like a lot, but it will when you see $60 on your credit card statement, it adds up to a lot.
Rule 3: Sign Up for a Low-Limit Credit Card
With data breaches at big-box retailers like Home Depot and Target, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself when it comes to using your credit card. Despite the introduction of Chip-and-PIN technology, credit card skimming still exists. To help protect yourself, consider a low-limit credit card you can use places prone to skimming like gas stations. Better yet, try to avoid the point of sale devices out in the open that could be tampered with.
Rule 4: Regularly Review Your Credit Card Statement
If you don’t want to be the next victim of credit card fraud, it’s important to regularly review your credit card statement. Although your statement comes in the mail once a month, there’s nothing stopping you from checking it more often. You should try to get in a habit of checking it once a week. If you see any suspicious charges you can report them right away and minimize any damage on your credit score.
Rule 5: Read Your Credit Card Agreement
When you get a brand-new shiny credit card in the mail, it’s easy to file away your credit card statement – or worse, toss it away. It’s important to read the credit card agreement before you use your credit card. The last thing you want is to be blindsided with charges you never knew about.