It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and make mistakes when you first get a credit card. The feeling of having so much available credit at our fingertips makes us make some foolish and unnecessary mistakes. But it is possible to avoid this fate if you pay attention, follow the guidelines we’re about to share, and avoid racking up major credit card debt.
For many Americans, we have this free spending mentality that often gets us in trouble. Unfortunately, when you’re willing to buy anything on a credit card, you’re going to pay outrageous interest as well as the original balance. Before long, you’ll end up paying 3 to 5 times more than you would have if you just paid cash.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of our favorite tips for handling your very first credit card.
Pay Attention to the Terms of Your Credit Card Agreement
When many young people get their first credit card, they are often so excited and feel like they’ve reached adulthood, so they fail to pay attention to the terms of their credit card agreement. This is a big mistake and it could lead to devastating consequences down the road.
At first, once you receive your credit card in the mail, make sure you thoroughly read over the agreement. It will either come with the card or with today’s technology it could possibly get emailed to you. Take a look at it and learn about your interest rate, potential fees and penalties, the payment schedule, and more.
By learning about the terms of your agreement, you’ll know the consequences of missing or late payments, the amount of interest you’ll pay if you only pay the minimum balance, and other pertinent factors all young people should be paying attention to.
Create a Budget for Your Credit Card Use
Young people and many adults need to stop looking at credit cards as free money. They have to start taking their credit seriously by budgeting so they don’t end up spending more than they could afford.
Take time to look over your overall budget. Figure out how much money you bring in every month, and determine the appropriate amount you can spend on your credit card without having to pay interest.
In an emergency, it’s certainly okay to use your credit card for unavoidable and unexpected expenses. But these should be few and far between, because the more you use your credit card to buy things with money you don’t have, the harder it’s going to be to pay down your balance. Plus, you’ll end up paying a ton in interest as you work toward paying off your credit card debt, and it’s really not worth it over the long run.
According to Best Credit Cards Review, s website sharing info about low interest credit card offers online, “Your first credit card is a big deal; that powerful piece of plastic can help you establish a solid credit history.” So use your card wisely, establish credit, and try not to go too overboard with your spending.
Always Pay Your Bills on Time
To use credit to establish a solid credit history, you always have to pay your bills on time. If you continuously make late payments, they will actually have a negative effect and impact on your credit score. Your score will go down with late payments, which is counter intuitive to what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s really great you’ve finally gotten your first credit card. This can be a blessing or a curse if you aren’t responsible, so heed the advice shared today and take your credit card and credit history seriously.