Credit cards can be a great way of spreading the cost of larger items or covering emergency expenses. However, it can be easy to lose track of spending, forget to make a payment or miss those extra interest charges. Here are 7 things to avoid if you want to get the most out of your credit card and avoid getting into debt.
Not doing your research
There are different types of credit card available, so it is important that you understand all the terms and work out which type of card is best for you. Some cards have interest free periods, some allow you to transfer balances from other credit cards, and some offer better rates when used abroad.
Knowing which cards are best for which type of spending will allow you to choose the right one.
Maxing out your cards
Spending right up to your credit card limit might be tempting, but it’s important to remember that it’s not free money. You will have to pay back everything you borrow, and this could be subject to interest too. Only spend what you really need and make sure you can afford the monthly repayments.
Missing a payment
Missing a payment will often result in a late payment fee which can then be subject to interest too. The more fees you incur, the more debt you will get into. Set up a direct debit or standing order to reduce the chances of missing a payment.
Only paying the minimum each month
Most credit cards allow you to pay back as much as you want each month as long as you make the minimum payment.
It can be tempting just to pay the minimum amount, but the rest of the balance will keep incurring interest. Interest fees on credit cards could be higher than with other types of credit, so you could end up paying a lot more than you initially spent.
Try and pay off the balance as quickly as you can. If you can afford to pay the whole balance each month, you might not be charged any interest, which means you only pay back the money you spent.
Applying for too many cards at once
Applying for lots of credit at once can negatively impact on your credit score, which can affect your chances of getting approved for credit in the future. Do some research before you apply to make sure you get the best credit card for your needs. Wherever possible, use eligibility checkers before you apply to find out how likely you are to be accepted.
Many credit cards charge a fee for cash advances, and these can be high. The interest rate on cash is often higher than on purchases. Whenever possible, avoid withdrawing cash on a credit card. If you have to withdraw cash, make sure you pay off the balance as quickly as possible.
If you are planning on using your card for cash advances, look for a card with low withdrawal fees and make sure you understand how to minimise interest.
Not reporting lost or stolen cards
If your card gets lost or is stolen, make sure you report it straight away. While you do have some level of protection against unauthorised use, it is much better for everyone if the card is deactivated as quickly as possible.
Only borrow what you can afford
Taking out lots of credit cards and spending up to the limit can leave you in debt and cause financial stress. As with any type of credit, it is important that you only borrow what you can afford to pay back and make sure you understand all the terms.
About Morses Club
At Morses Club, we provide cash loans, sometimes referred to as doorstep loans, to help take care of those surprise costs. Doorstep loans aren’t right for everyone so if you are considering it as an option, it is important you understand how it works before you apply.