5 Smart Ways to Use Your Credit Card
It’s no secret that we Americans love our credit cards. But unfortunately, the relationship isn’t always healthy. Research indicates that the average American household has $5,700 in credit card debt. And while there’s no magic bullet solution to erase debt once you have it, there are several smart steps you can take to make sure you don’t get in over your head.
1. Use it sparingly
It’s easy to overspend with the unlimited freedom of credit cards. It’s good practice to use credit cards only when necessary, so stick to cash and other direct payment methods to avoid collecting debt.
2. Pay the full balance
Unless you’re saddled with thousands in credit card debt, try to pay off the balance as it accrues. Credit balances accrue interest over time. Avoid these accruals and pay as much as you can, when you can.
3. Leverage rewards
Many cards offer bonuses, such as fuel points, airline miles, or other benefits. Leveraging these rewards can help you get more bang for your buck. If you’re going to use your card anyway, why not rack up a few extra perks while you’re at it?
4. Examine card options
If you’ve established a good credit history and are still using a starter card, you likely qualify for a credit card with a better interest rate or better perks. Examine which card options, like the Gulf Winds Visa Platinum Credit Card are available to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
5. Protect yourself
Credit card fraud and identity theft are all too common these days. Many cards have built-in protections for such events, but it’s still a hassle to sort through if it happens. Keep an eye on your credit card statements, even if you don’t often use the card.
Smart Strategies for Credit
Credit card are great tools for financial management, but they must be used with care. Keep these five tips in mind the next time you use your card and always keep up on your balance to stop yourself from falling into debt.