Checklist for the wise use of Credit Cards

  1. Use your credit card as a cash substitute, not as a loan. In other words – if you can, pay for your purchase in cash. If you don’t happen to have cash, use your credit card as a substitute, but don’t use your credit card to make purchases you do not have the cash to pay for them, either soon after or within a reasonable period of time.

  2. Charge only what you can afford. Don’t use your credit card to finance a lifestyle you cannot maintain or have the income to sustain.

  3. Don’t get cash advances. You should not use your credit card for cash advances because you will pay higher interest, as well as transaction fees. Because you don’t get a grace period, you will be paying interest from the day you take the cash out, even if you pay your balance in full. If you need cash, go to the bank or use your ATM card.

  4. Follow your budget. Make sure you stick to your budget so your credit card spending is kept in check.

  5. Pay on time, if possible. You will be charged late fee penalties if your credit card payments are late. Some credit card companies also charge an increased interest rate if you pay late over and over again. Late payments also damage your credit rating.

  6. Maintain good records. Keep all your credit card receipts and reconcile them with your credit card statement as soon as it arrives.

  7. Try and pay all or most of the balance off each month. The most important rule of credit card use is; be wise. Pay off the entire outstanding balance each month if you can. If you must carry a balance forward, pay off most of the balance each month.

  8. Keep your card numbers down. It is best to have only one or two cards at any one time. This means you can keep track of your purchases and if one is not working or has reached the credit limit, you have a reserve to get you out of a bind, (if necessary).

  9. Watch out for various offers from credit card companies. Most are overpriced or they will try and persuade you to buy something you don’t need.

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