Using Credit Cards Wisely

Credit cards, used wisely, can be a great financial tool. Keep in mind that a credit card is a loan. That means you agree to borrow money (usually to make purchases or get cash advances), and you agree to repay what you've borrowed under specific terms and conditions.

Credit cards can help you:

  • Pay for purchases without having to carry cash
  • Handle emergency expenses such as travel or towing
  • Keep a detailed record of purchases
  • Make purchases or reservations online or over the phone
  • Combine your spending to receive incentives such as air miles
  • Establish your credit history

Potential disadvantages of credit cards:

  • It may be easy to spend beyond your means.
  • It may be harder to keep track of spending. If you're not writing down your credit card transactions, the amount you owe on your monthly bill may be a surprise. Keep track as you go, and remember to add in any fees that may apply, such as cash advance fees.
  • If you don't pay your bill in full each month, interest and other fees may be added.
  • Your credit history can be damaged if your payments are late.

Tips for Credit Card Success

  • Set spending limits (daily, weekly and/or monthly) and don't exceed them.
  • Keep track of every purchase. Don't wait for your monthly bill to add it up.
  • Pay your balance each month to avoid additional fees and interest charges.
  • Review your statement each month to ensure the charges and fees are correct.
  • Pay more than the minimum amount due each month. You'll save on interest and pay your balance off more quickly.


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