Credit cards have become omnipresent; they have now eclipsed cash as a common method of payment in America. Plastic money is the new American currency. The use of credit convenience has evolved into a nightmare of credit card debt inconvenience for many Americans. The lure of plastic cards has made it difficult to imagine life without them. It is the appeal of not seeing cash money leave your pocket that spellbinds consumers, hence for many of them begins an unending cycle of expensive consumer debt. Consumer credit issues involve debt consolidation, credit card consolidation, or credit counseling. Before debt becomes an issue and you have to seek out the guidance of a trusted consumer counseling service, learn to be an educated and savvy credit consumer and avoid the future pitfalls of debt. Even if you are already in debt, unless you plan on stop using cards in the future, this article can give you guidance on how to avoid any future debt pitfalls. These are the seven smart tips about credit cards:
1. Shop around for the best deal
You are probably inundated with credit card mailers and phone calls soliciting your business. With literally hundreds of credit card offers to choose from, its smart to shop for the best deal. At the basic level, which meets the criteria of most American consumers is a card with a low Annual Percentage Yield (APR) and no annual fee. It is a boring proposition, but read beyond the promotional rates and go where the asterisks lead you, the zone of fine print.
The fine print is where you get the real information, such as when does the promotion rate expire, what does the rate jump up to, what are the late payment penalties, and if you make a late payment how does that affect your APR, amongst other components of your credit card.
2. Build a good credit rating
Avoid late payments by paying your credit card bills on time. Also, pay your credit debt off completely, if you dont it could negatively affect your credit rating. A diminished credit score can be very expensive in terms of getting approved for low interest loans and employment offers that require good credit history. So if you stay within your means and pay your bills on time, you can avoid getting into debt, having a bad credit report and needing credit repair. The axiom is pay on time and stay within your means.
3. Make online shopping safer
4. Limit the number of your cards
Stop carrying a bulky wallet filled with credit cards. At most you need two to three cards. Having too many cards can work against you when it comes to apply for a loan or mortgage. Your loan lender may determine since you already have access to so much money through your cards, the added loan debt may strain your ability to repay the loan.
5. Understand your consumer credit rights
Know and understand your rights as a consumer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Billing Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can get more information about these important federal laws and consumer rights on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website, The FTCs Bureau of Consumer Protection works for you, the American consumer.
6. Switch balances carefully
Dont transfer your high interest rate balances or do a credit card debt consolidation to a lower interest rate credit card, until you read the fine print. The low rate for the balance transfer most likely is for a limited time, involves transaction fees, sometimes up to 4 percent of the amount transferred. The hefty fees charged, may outweigh any savings provided by a lower interest rate. Also, if you dont pay off your complete transferred balance before the limited time offer expires, a new high interest rate sets in.
Educate yourself about the total costs of having credit cards; you owe it to yourself.