Managing Your Credit: 4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Cards

Managing Your Credit: 4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Cards

Chances are, managing your credit will be an important part of your finances. Here’s what you need to know about getting the most out of your credit situation.

Unless you have a checking account with a huge sum of money, somewhere along the line you’re going to need access to a line of credit. Most people take out a mortgage for their home and have a loan on their vehicle. Those are forms of good credit. Credit cards, on the other hand, if not used correctly, can pile on a lot of debt quickly. Luckily, there are many ways to pay down your credit card debt and reduce the amount of interest you accrue monthly.

1. Choose the Right Credit Cards

There are a lot of credit cards offered through a wide range of banks and credit unions. It’s important to select cards that work best for you. For instance, if you have a lot of credit card debt and you are unable to pay the debt off quickly, you could apply for a card with a lower interest rate or one with 0% interest for an introductory period ranging from 6 up to 15 months.

Many of these cards also allow you to transfer balances from your existing cards. By doing this, you’ll stop the accruing interest temporarily, giving you months, if not over a year, to pay off the debt without any added fees. The good news is that you can gather information about various cards without the need for searching on your own. Companies like Credit Soup have a list of cards with their interest rates and benefits, allowing you to choose the right one.

2. Lower Your Credit Card Debt

Ultimately, your goal should include lowering your credit card debt. In order to do this, you need to stop using your cards for daily purchases. A credit card should never become something you need in order to make ends meet. If you constantly use them as a way of paying for gas, food and other essentials and then carry the balance, you are living above your means.

Instead, give yourself a weekly amount of spending money, an allowance that you can use for whatever you want. When the money is gone, it’s gone, you cannot use a card or your bank to pay to cover the wanted purchases.

Another way to lower your credit card debt is to pay more than the minimum monthly payment. Credit cards companies are smart and they allow you to pay a very small amount each month so you continue to accrue interest. By adding $10 or $20 more to each one than required you can pay off the purchases months ahead of the scheduled payments.

If you prefer, you can take the one with the highest interest rate and put all of the extra money on that one. When you pay it off then move onto the next card.

3. Contact the Credit Card Companies

Take a look at your credit card statements and check the interest rate. If one seems much higher than the next, contact the company to see if you can lower the interest rate. If you’ve had the card for a number of years and you are in good standing with them, chances are good that they would do so. If they say there’s nothing they can do, pay off the card sooner, rather than later and then close the account.

4. Get More From Your Card

If you applied for the cards you currently have through a solicitation you may not have access to all of the benefits available. For instance, some cards offer a lower interest rate, while others give you cash back for purchases made. There are also credit cards that reward you with free flights after you accumulate so many air miles and some with no annual fee. Make sure that the cards you have in your wallet are worth the price you pay and give you something in return.

Bottom Line

Managing your debt is important. It allows you to maintain a good credit score, gives you access to lower interest rates, and let you enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. It’s easy to pile on credit card debt. Fortunately, there are many ways to work towards paying it off quickly.

Written by Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is a freelance writer and professional blogger, specializing in personal finance, small business, and investing topics. She writes for a number of financial web sites and blogs, and has been featured in numerous media. Read about life as a freelancer at MirandaMarquit.com and in her book Confessions of a Professional Blogger.

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