Consumer Credit Card Traps to Avoid

by : Nicholas Makaryk

There is no shortage of offers for credit cards in the mail, on line and more or less everywhere you look. However, quite often the task of maintaining your credit card can be more difficult than getting the right credit card for your needs.

High Street stores are all too willing to give you a discount on the day if you sign up for one of their cards, and lets face it, that extra 10% is usually tempting whoever you are. Nonetheless before you know it you will be facing yet another monthly credit card bill.

The main problem with credit cards is the illusion that you are not actually spending money. There is nothing missing from your wallet or purse and it is so easy to flash the card here, there and everywhere.

Credit cards were not designed with budgeting in mind because each month when the day of reckoning comes round there is a payment to be made and even though meeting the minimum payment does not incur late payment fees, just take a look at that balance - it is more or less standing still!

Ask yourself how long it would take you to completely get rid of the debt if you did not charge another cent to the account. Never consider getting another card to transfer the balance to unless it is one offering interest free credit for the amount of time it will take you to pay off the debt.

Most of the major credit cards are accepted all over the world so you only need one, or at most two. This is a much easier way to keep a check on expenditure than having to sort out six or more credit cards as many people do.

Cash advances are another temptation offered by the credit card companies and they are easy to get your hands on from the ATMs but they come with a cost of high interest which is calculated on a daily basis so can end up being the dearest loan you are ever likely to take on.

If you make regular visits to the ATM it soon mounts up and your debt will soar over just a few months. The interest can be as high as 24% so this really should be avoided. It clearly makes sense to avoid the temptations of rewards and bonuses and opt for a no frills card with low interest and no annual fee.

A good credit history can be established by using credit cards as long as it is done responsibly and payments are made when they should be. It is important that your credit rating is healthy, just in case you need to buy a larger item, say a car for example. This is the time when you will be rewarded for your good history.

Unnecessary shopping sprees, cash advances and late payments all go into creating your credit rating so if you want to use a credit card and build up your rating at the same time, its best to think of the card as cash and only spend what you can afford to pay back each month.