The following top 10 ways to save money with credit cards can save you a lot of money and keep you out of debt.
1. Never miss a Payment: This is the absolute worst thing you can do with a credit card. Not only will you get hit with a late fee, but your interest rate will also go up. In addition to that, it will put a negative blemish on your credit report, which can cause the rates on your other loans or credit cards to increase as well. It can also hurt your odds of getting approved for loans/credit, in the future.
2. Do not get a cash advance: This is the second worst thing you can do with a credit card, short of missing a payment is getting a cash advance. Cash advances usually come with a very high interest rate. What makes it worse is the fact that with most companies this higher rate credit will not get paid off first, or even in the order that you took it out. They will apply your payments towards all the lower rate purchases and will only begin paying off your high interest cash advance will all other items on that credit card have been paid off.
3. Work with the retention department: If you ever feel like you are being treated unfairly by your credit card issuer, a simple threat to leave, will get you transferred to the retention department. This department will be much more helpful to you and will usually do whatever it takes to keep you as a customer, within reason of course.
4. Pay off your balance every month: Credit cards have high interest rates compared to other types of loans. Paying off your balance every month, will save you from having to pay high interest rates.
5. Ask for a better rate: Once you have been a credit card customer for a few months, call and ask for a better rate. Credit card companies want to keep their customers. If you call them, and ask for a better rate, they likely will at least consider it, if not just give you a better rate.
6. Read the terms: The terms and conditions are the equivalent of the disclaimer you hear on car lot commercials. It cuts through the hype and reveals the true terms of the credit card such as what happens when you miss a payment, and what you’re really getting from the rewards. It is worth your time to read them.
7. Shop around: Don’t apply for the first pre-approved offer you receive. Do some research, to find the best deal/offer/match for you.
8. Have 2 credit cards: If you do plan to take advantage of rewards, then we recommend you have 2 credit cards. The rewards card for making your daily expenses that you will pay off in full each month, and a second card with the lowest possible interest rate, to cover any emergency expenses, that you may not be able to pay off at the end of the month.
9. Use rewards cards only if they will benefit you: Rewards can be a good thing, but only if used correctly. Rewards cards typically have a higher interest rate than regular credit cards, with the value of the rewards justifying the extra expense. Typically, the value of the reward is around 1 cent for every dollar charged, and often expire at the end of the year if you don’t use them. If you pay off your balance in full each month and charge a lot, rewards cards can be worthwhile. Other than that, you’re better off using non-rewards cards.
10. Have at least one credit card for emergencies: We highly recommend having a rainy-day fund for emergencies, rather than using credit cards, but having a credit card with a low interest rate for emergency/just in case situations, is a smart thing to do.
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