Use Credit Cards Wisely
I grew up in the age before credit cards.
We used layaway or we saved until we could pay cash for purchases. Today, credit cards have become a way of life. You can avoid trouble by remembering Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.” Credit card companies make money by charging high-interest rates and late fees. Many consumers get trapped in an endless cycle of debt by carrying balances. As of December, the average credit card interest rate was 16%. Combine that with 43% of credit cardholders who carried a balance last year and it’s obvious why so many struggle financially. Here are my tips to use your card wisely:
• Total your monthly debt payments so you aren’t surprised when bills arrive. Aim to pay them off in full each month. If that’s not possible, seek a debt repayment plan so you’ll experience freedom.
• Pay your bills on time by putting reminders in your calendar.
• Check your credit reports regularly. These show how much you owe, whether you pay on time, the types of credit you have, and how many new credit inquiries you’ve made. Look for errors and fix them quickly. They can negatively impact your score. You can request a free copy from the 3 credit reporting agencies:
• Read your card’s policy to maximize incentives. Cash rewards have an annual limit.
• Guard your credit by checking your statement each month. Report lost cards or fraudulent transactions immediately.
Credit cards can be helpful, but only if you manage them wisely! Now I’ve written a new book called 7 Gray Swans. In it, I discuss potentially significant events that we need to track that threaten our economic future. It’s available at Amazon.com or at crown.org.