Tips for Credit Cards

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  • Don't waste it.

    Pay credit card bills on time. Companies get rich by charging late fees, sometimes as much as $50 per month. And do not go over your credit limit—that provides just one more opportunity for your credit card company to profit from your poor judgment.

  • Pay on Time

    Protect your credit. Eventually you will probably want to borrow money for a car or a home, and you'll minimize your interest rate by maintaining pristine credit. So make yourself a credit card company's worst customer: pay your bills on time and never carry a balance.

  • Pay more than the Minimum

    Avoid the minimum payment trap! Don’t get comfortable paying the minimum amount each month, like so many young people do. You’ll never get out of debt and you’ll never get ahead.

  • Average APR

    The average APR on a new credit card offer is around 15%, while debt secured by collateral carries interest closer to 4%.

  • Buying Online

    Many credit card companies offer virtual account numbers that increase the security of online purchases because they are good with only one merchant for only one month.

  • Break the Taboo

    People generally find credit card debt more taboo than the details of one’s love life, salary, monthly mortgage or rent payments, health problems, or weight. But any potential embarrassment is strongly outweighed by the costs of credit card debt: don’t hesitate to talk with friends and family about credit card trouble.

  • Stop Unwanted Solicitations

    Opt out of credit card solicitations here.

  • Read the Fine Print

    Read the fine print when it states “interest-free for 12 months.”

  • How Payments are Applied

    Credit card payments are applied to the lowest-interest bearing debts first. Do not make purchases on a credit card that you have used for a low-interest balance transfer.

  • Look out for the Strings

    Tempting introductory credit card offers are often not worth the strings attached.

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