Credit cards are an extremely useful tool and huge source of temptation for many. While the consequences of mishandled credit card debt are widely known, there are plenty of mistakes that even good credit card owners make. Here are three very common credit card mistakes.
Are you making your credit cards work for you? There’s a huge range of credit cards with an equally huge range of rewards programs. The rewards range from airline miles to Amazon credits to student loan cash-backs and there’s something available for every lifestyle and budget. Take the time to see what rewards programs are available from your current credit cards and take advantage of them.
If you can, pay off the full balance on your card every month. That way you can take advantage of the rewards offered by your credit card company without having to worry about accruing interest.
Shopping online has become easier than ever over the past few years. You can buy just about anything you need online, all you need to do is enter your credit card. While extremely convenient, online shopping can put your card number at risk. Always make sure you’re purchasing from a secure site before entering your number. If you have any concerns, don’t buy from that site. It might be frustrating to wait, but it’ll be even more frustrating to have to shut down your credit card after someone steals your information.
While online transactions are the most obvious way to have your credit card information stolen, you also have to be careful with the physical card. Be aware of the possibility of credit and debit card skimmers at ATMs and payment terminals. If you’re in public, keep your wallet on you at all times and don’t give anybody the opportunity to steal it.
Online banking is extremely convenient, but it can make it too easy to forget to manage your account. Make sure you make your payments on time. If you have trouble staying on top of this, set up automatic payments so you’ll never be late. But also make a point of logging in regularly to make sure everything's running smoothly. Check your statement for suspicious activity and check on your rewards status. Proper management of your credit card account can prevent problems before they start.
If you’re going to use a credit card, you should get the most out of it. Avoid these three credit card mistakes and you’ll be on the road to healthy credit habits.