Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts—All You Need to Know!
by Lou-Ann Jordan Nov 6, 2023
Management of personal finances can be a headache! One reason is because its not solely about avoiding debt, although that is a great part of it. Instead, the goal of personal financial management is to be thrifty. Our aim should be to skillfully and with a powerful effect put your income to use whether it is considerable or not.
An important aspect of managing your income is controlling debt, which is often incurred and can easily grow out of control through credit card usage. We won’t delve into the pros and cons of having a card because, in recent years, the need for one has certainly increased.
Furthermore, the greatest ‘con’ of owning one has to do with our ability to use it responsibly. So, in this article we’re looking at credit card acquisition and best practices. Of course, this topic is timely too as we’re fast approaching the period when many of us throw caution and sound credit management to the wind. But, we’re here to help. If you’re considering getting a credit card then pay attention to these dos and don’ts.
All the credit card do’s and don’ts you need to know
First and foremost, don’t get a credit card that you can’t afford. Get a card based on your disposable income, no matter the limit being offered.
Do get all the information on the card from a Personal Banking officer before acquiring the card, particularly the interest rate. It would help if you shopped around before choosing one.
Don’t pay outside your billing cycle if you want to cover your minimum monthly payment. While payment outside your cycle will reduce your overall credit balance, you will still have the minimum amount outstanding.
Do use your credit card when you can pay it back. It’s a good idea to use it when you have available funds or close to your salary date so you can repay in full.
Don’t forget that interest is accrued once there is an outstanding balance on your card, even if you haven’t used it for the month.
Do get a credit card that gives you some sort of incentive. When deliberating, consider its characteristics, and benefits such as cashback, points or rewards. You’ll want to choose one that best suits your lifestyle.
Don’t simply pay the minimum monthly payments. Increasing your payment allows you to reduce your current balance faster. Always aim to pay more than the minimum.
Do maintain your credit card limit. It’s best not to exceed it.
Don’t take cash advances. Avoid them as much as possible. Generally, the interest for cash advances is considerable.
In addition to the above, here’s a pro tip: You can top up your card in advance. Make a prepayment to the card and then complete your transaction. This practice will help you spend within your budget.
Successful management of your finances is possible. However, it does require commitment and education. Thankfully, there are resources available to help you make informed decisions. One avenue is your financial institution. Be sure to check with them for further guidance on how to use your credit card.