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2009-03-02 07:42:01

Keys for Responsible Credit Card Use

Let's be honest, we all want to get the most out of our credit card deals and stay on top of our finances as well. But now that we're in bad economic times and banks are tightening their standards, it's becoming more important than ever to be a responsible borrower.

In days gone by, borrowers could carry heavy balances or make late payments from time to time. But the economic situation has changed and consumers cannot help but feel the pinch of this financial crisis. Want to get smart about credit? Feel free to do so with our useful tips for the smart credit use.

The financial crisis is affecting not only regular consumers, but companies as well. Businesses both small and large face serious difficulties and have to adjust to the challenging and often daily changing economic environment.

Banks and lending companies are no exception: they're also trying to reduce their risks by making required changes. The problem is that customers are not ready for these changes such as slashing spending limits or higher interest rates. Borrowers have lots of questions and often they're squeamish about talking to their credit issuers.

If you have any questions associated with your credit cards or you can't understand why your rates rise dramatically, you need to talk to your issuer and try to negotiate the changes. More often than not credit card owners just don't understand the reason for the changes. One can exceed a spending limit, carry huge balances, or make late payments without knowing how damaging this can be.

You need to be aware of your FICO score to make smart financial decisions. A copy of your free credit report will help you figure out how you perform as a borrower. Plus, it can help you track and stop fraudulent activities with any of your accounts.

For making the most of your credit cards, you should understand the terms and conditions. If you are an experienced user, make sure that your card comes with the right features for you. In case you are new to credit card terminology, you may turn to online resources and find an abundance of educational materials that will help you manage your credit cards responsibly.

Making on-time payments is one of the most important secrets of responsible credit card use. Paying your balance in full each month is also a good financial habit to do that could save you mega bucks, as it allows saving on interest.

Carrying a massive balance over time is not the best idea amid these tough economic times. Banks can easily raise your interest rates or slash your spending limits. Paying down a huge balance on a high rate card is extremely difficult, so try to avoid such situations and pay your balance in full or at least pay more than the required minimum.

Develop a saving plan with which you can set aside some money for emergencies. It is generally recommended to have a three- to six-month salary in reserve, so that you will be able to pay for common emergencies. Create a realistic budget that will help you eliminate your debts and boost your savings.

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