Top Credit Card Tips for 2013

Posted on January 23, 2013 by

A new year usually means making new resolutions to improve one’s life. To better your financial well-being, here are the best credit card tips that you can implement for 2013.

Tip #1: Take charge of your spending

Yes, credit cards make shopping easier and more secure; they also establish your credit, provide travel insurance and help keep track of your finances. However, credit cards can also lead you to more debt by encouraging you to spend money that you don’t have, which is why you need to take control of your spending. If you want to reduce your debt and improve your finances, this is the best way to do it.

Tip #2: Find out your credit score

When was the last time you checked how your credit was doing? Has it been over a year or just recently? Either way, it would be a good idea to find out your credit score now that a new year has begun. Knowing your credit score will give you a fair idea what kind of credit card you’ll get in case you decide to apply for a new one. More importantly, you’ll be able to pinpoint mistakes on your credit report and avoid identity theft.

Tip #3: Quit getting cash advances

Instead of getting a cash advance using your credit card when you’re low in cash, try to handle your finances better. That way, you can avoid the need for cash advances altogether. Why? Cash advances have higher interest rates, a cash advance fee (usually 3 to 5 per cent of the amount) and have no grace period. And if you go over the limit, you get even more headaches. If you’re not careful, cash advances can cost you a lot of money so try to stay away from it this year.

Tip #4: Don’t fall for the sales pitch

Expect many credit card companies to send out invitations to apply for their credit cards. These invitations typically try to give you the impression that you’ve been pre-screened and generally try to make you feel good about yourself. However, you shouldn’t fall for the sales pitch; if you want to get the best credit card, you’ll have to do your research and compare your choices.

Tip #5: Check your statements regularly

Want to stay on top of your expenses? Then you should take the time to check your credit card statements—not just monthly but regularly, either through regular mail or online banking. This would allow you to find out how much you owe, when you need to pay, and check your card for fraudulent charges.

Tip #6: Pay off your balance every month

You’ve probably already heard this tip before: remember to settle your credit card balance on time every month so that you won’t accrue any interest and pay any more than you have to. It’s an excellent suggestion because you’ll avoid accumulating debt and punctual payments will increase your credit score.

Tip #7: Spend your reward points

Does your credit card reward you with points for every purchase? Then make sure you spend these points because they won’t always be there—they expire too. You may earn more points in the future but take note that not using your reward points actually cost you money since you pay for the perk in your annual fee. Make the most of your credit card by spending your reward points; you’ve earned it.

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