A credit card is a bank card people use to buy items without paying cash. In simple terms, credit cards give a line of credit for users to make purchases, do balance transfers or cash advances, and they require the card owner to pay back the loan amount in the future.
When a product is purchased using a credit card, the issuing bank pays on behalf of its customer, and the loan is to be paid in the future – usually monthly by the due date.
A person’s first card can mean the difference between establishing an excellent credit score or building an unhealthy financial future. If not used properly, credit cards can lead to mountains of debt, which can be challenging to repay.
As a result, before anyone starts to use their first credit card, below are a few guidelines that will lead you along the right financial path.
1. Set a Budget
Although a credit card can allow the holder access to a lot of purchases, it shouldn’t tempt one to buy things they can’t afford. Given that it’s a convenient way to purchase and earn rewards, it’s so easy for the holder to get on a shopping rampage.
As a result, it’s advisable to have a realistic idea of the amount you can spend, which you can also pay back at the end of the month. Keeping a budget that indicates, say 50% of the take-home for groceries, 30% to pay for needs but not wants, and 20% on savings and paying off debt, is highly advisable. If this budget is followed, it will help keep your spending and saving in proportion.
2. Set Up Automatic Payments
Paying a monthly bill takes time to get used to, and it’s so easy to ignore or postpone payment. To avoid pressure, extra charges, and late credit card bills, one should schedule automatic payments ahead of the due date.
Also, always ensure that your expected salary is above the minimum amount of payment on your card. This is to ensure that you have enough funds in your account before a scheduled payment is released. Failure to do that leads to late fee charges and a returned payment fee.
Also, timely payment boosts payment history, which contributes to one’s credit score. Lenders use credit scores to assess one’s credit usage, and therefore, it’s recommendable to pay all the credit card bills on time to keep the score high.
3. Keep a Record of Your Purchases
Always calculate the amount you can afford to spend as number one on the list. Then, track your monthly purchases by using either your credit card’s website or app. Once the monthly spending limit is hit, avoid using the card until the balance is paid off. This financial discipline keeps one out of credit card debt and helps build a good credit score.
In conclusion, to be able to enjoy your credit card, always ensure to pay on time to keep your credit score high. Keep a monthly budget of the necessities first and then put wants last on the list. Always strive not to exceed your minimum payment. Setting up automatic payments will protect you from extra charges due to late payment.
When first using a credit card, it can be tempting to make use of your high credit limit. However, this is a mistake. Go slow. Make sure that you are not purchasing anything you cannot truly afford. So start small and, at first, use your credit card for your basic necessities.