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Tips for Keeping Your Credit Cards in Control

When you have credit it becomes much too easy to spend too much money on things you really don’t need and then get yourself into financial trouble. It’s important to remember that credit isn’t free cash, it’s a very expensive loan which must be paid back.

If you pay off the balance every month

Get cards with “grace periods”, no interest charges for 25 days
Pay as soon as you get the billing statement
Only spend as much as you can pay back in full each month
Know your credit report
Know the difference between needs & wants
Shop around for the cheapest fees

If you must carry a balance;

Shop for low interest rate
Always pay when the statement arrives, this saves on interest charges
Pay more than the minimum every month
Pay twice a month
Know the actual cost of the items you buy, if you don’t pay off monthly that $5.00 burger could end up costing you $50 or more.
Don’t spend to the end of your credit limit save at least 30% or more for emergencies

Carefully inspect your statement every month for errors and inconsistencies. If you discover anything wrong immediately dispute it.

You don’t need lots of cards, just 2 or 3 should suffice, in this case more is not better, it reflects negatively.

If you are working to clean up your credit:

  • Don’t pay off your existing cards, pay them down. Paying them off reflects negatively on your score
  • Don’t close too many cards at once. This too reflects poorly
    Check your credit report an make sure these closures aren’t listed as “closed by issuer”, if they do, contact reporting bureau and card companies to repair.

Regularly get your credit report and review it for inaccuracies and fraudulent use by someone else. If you find any discrepancy, report and correct the problems.

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