5 habits of highly responsible credit card users
If you use your credit card responsibly, it can be a fantastic way to build up your credit history and increase your creditworthiness. But if you don’t pay off the balance every month, things can get ugly fast. Let’s take a look at some of the habits responsible credit card users have so we can pick up some best practices when it comes to paying back balances on your credit cards and get the most out of them.
1. Spend less than you make
Credit card companies typically offer high limits on their credit cards, which is great for building up your credit history but also pretty dangerous – it makes it easy to spend more than you make. Don’t be tempted to spend more than you normally would be by looking at that large credit limit – it will only end up hurting your wallet if you can’t afford to pay it all back.
Even if your income is the same every month, it’s important to know that spending less than you make can help you avoid paying high rates interest. It’s best to only purchase items that you know you will be able to pay off in full every month. And if you do make a purchase that is more than what your monthly budget would allow, try to cut expenses elsewhere to help you avoid paying interest on the purchase.
2. Use auto pay and pay it back as soon as possible
Credit card interest doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, but if you make a habit of carrying around a balance every month it will cost you big over time. If you pay off your balance in full each month, not only do you avoid paying high-interest rates, but it helps your credit score as well.
Setting up an automatic payment is one of the best ways to avoid paying interest. By setting up an automatic transfer every time your bill comes, it ensures that you won’t be late and incur those hefty penalties and interest rates. It also helps you plan ahead and make sure you can afford the payment for each month as you know it will be automatically deducted from your checking account.
3. Plan ahead of time for emergencies
As mentioned above, credit card companies offer high limits because they want you to spend more and pay more interest. However, they are taking on a risk by offering this type of credit to you. In order to offset this risk, they will charge higher interest rates and fees than other types of loans. Plan ahead for big expenses and emergencies, such as a trip to the hospital, car repair, or vacation. It’s important to have money set aside so that you aren’t tempted to rack up a huge bill on your credit card and not be able to pay it off in the future, costing you more money.
4. Check Your Statement Often
As a responsible credit card user, it’s important to stay on top of your credit card statements. Checking in every month will help you to avoid fees and any other hidden charges that can sneak up on you. It also allows you to take care of the balance before it becomes too large, which in turn saves you money.
The statement also provides helpful information about transactions that have been posted in order for you to review for accuracy. Checking your credit card statement often is an easy habit to get into and one that could save you thousands by spotting errant transactions early.
5. Take advantage of the perks
Credit card rewards and perks can be pretty complicated, but they’re also something that everyone should take advantage of when possible. If you do your homework and choose the best card that fits your lifestyle, you can earn free flights, hotel stays, merchandise, gift cards to restaurants – basically any kind of perk imaginable. Make sure to read the fine print as oftentimes these perks can be hard to find and you have to dig for them a bit.
If you want to take advantage of all of the perks and rewards while avoiding high rates of interest, then it’s important that you follow these 5 habits and be a responsible credit card user. Don't spend more than you have and you should have no problem avoiding credit card debt while increasing your creditworthiness at the same time. So if you’re tired of paying high rates of credit card interest, try these simple habits and reap the benefits!