Credit cards can make purchases and paying your bills easier to do.
Using a credit card is also a good way to boost your credit score.
But…… failing to properly manage your credit cards can lead to a lot of unnecessary expenses.
Follow these tips to avoid spending a lot on fees and interest while boosting your credit score:
1. If you’re tempted to buy things you can’t really afford just because you can charge them on your cards, it will benefit you to leave them at home when you go shopping. When you have an emergency, rely on an emergency fund to avoid charging unplanned expenses on your cards.
2. Selecting a credit card that’s right for you is also important. This can be difficult, since the cards you qualify for are limited by your credit score. Compare credit lines, APR, and other fees to figure out which card will work the best for your circumstances.
3. Pay your bill on time, and pay more than the minimum. Not only will you avoid late fees with this strategy, but you’ll also pay off your balance quicker, thus saving money on interest, too.
• For example, if you have a $500 balance on a card with a 15% APR, you would end up paying $595 over two years if you make the minimum payments of $20/month.
• However, if you make payments of $50/month instead of the $20 minimum payment, you would end up spending a total of $528 to pay off your balance in a little less than a year.
• Be consistent with your payments. Missing a payment or paying less than the minimum will negatively impact your credit score.
4. Keep your balance as low as possible. Your credit score goes up if you keep your balance relatively low compared to your available credit line. Ideally, your balance should be less than 30% of your available credit line.
• Avoid maxing out your credit card or making large purchases unless you plan on making a significantly larger payment to cover these expenses.
• Consider applying for a credit line increase if you cannot pay off enough on your card to stay around the 30% mark.