Don’t Swipe Your Credit Card Unless You Read This!
The sheer feeling of ecstasy that a new Credit Card offers is unmatched. Whether it is your first card or just another one, the monetary freedom that it provides is exhilarating. However, to maintain the much-needed financial discipline from the very beginning, it is crucial that you understand certain aspects. Only after you take care of these facets, we recommend you start swiping your card!
Read the Fine Print
It is no hidden fact that Credit Cards come with a long list of terms and conditions, including the annual fee, payment terms, interest rates, benefits and other features that the card offers. We suggest you go through the fine print as soon as you receive the card. Not only will it help you understand when and how will it be more beneficial to use the card, but will also warn you of any conditions that are too stringent, or unfavourable for you.
Activate the Card
This is the most important thing you must do, once you receive the card. The bank will provide you with a customer-service number. All you need to do is call the number and follow the prompts. We advise you to make this call using your registered phone/mobile number. During the call, the representative may ask you to key in some or all digits of your Credit Card number, your account number or your telephone number.
During this call, the operator may try to convince you to buy specific value-added services such as credit monitoring plans. Make sure you only agree with them, if you find it entirely beneficial, and worthy of your hard-earned money.
Understand Your Credit Limit
The credit limit is the maximum amount that you’re allowed to spend using your Credit Card in any given billing cycle. This limit will be conveyed to you by the issuer well in advance, hence, use the card following the same. Again, if you regularly exhaust your credit limit, the bank will come to understand that you lack financial discipline, and this will reflect poorly on your credit history. Hence, make sure not to exceed your spending beyond 30% of your credit limit.
Review Your Rewards Program
Almost every card comes with a reward program, which implies that on every amount you spend, you may be entitled to earn certain reward points. You can then redeem these points for some gifts, discounts or even cashback. However, some Credit Card companies require you to register for the rewards program separately. Understand if your company needs you to do so, and only then go ahead to swipe your card at your favourite shopping destinations!
Take a Note of Introductory Benefits
While issuing you a new card, the bank will give you specific benefits such as low-interest rate, welcome bonus reward points, complimentary gift vouchers, and so forth. However, such promotional schemes often come with an expiry date. Therefore, make sure that you know the duration of the introductory offers, and use them wisely.
Remember, using your card thriftily even after the expiry of such offers can land you in trouble.
Ensure Safety of the Card
As you might know, most Credit Cards do not need a security PIN in order to be used. Hence, it is your onus to keep your card safe from being lost or stolen. Always place your card in a safe spot such as your wallet, purse or safe. Make sure that you do so after every use. In case, you create a PIN for your card, simply memorise it and do not write it down on the card or elsewhere.
Remember Customer Service Number
In the unfortunate event of your card getting stolen or lost, it will be your foremost responsibility to inform the Credit Card company so that the card can be blocked immediately, and you are exempt from paying any fraudulent charges. To do so in time, we suggest you either memorise the customer service number or at least save it to your phone. That being said, make sure you do not write down your Credit Card number anywhere.
If you happen to be someone who makes most of their purchases online or is glued to your phone or computer for the better part of the day, we recommend you register your card online. Not only will this help you make quicker payments, but will also aid in convenient checking of your balance as well as monitoring of your account activities. If this seems to be too much of a hassle, register your card on the dedicated smartphone app of your bank or Credit Card Company. This will surely make life easier for you.
Review the Billing Options
In the present-day times, you can opt for your bill to reach you in more than one ways. While some people like to receive the invoice in the conventional form of a post, others opt for e-bills that reach them through an email. If you wish you can even get it straight in your message inbox. Kindly convey your preferred method of receiving the bill, to your bank well in advance.
Review Auto-Pay Options
Some of us are not good at remembering dates and paying our bills on time. If you happen to be the same, you can always choose to set up Auto-Pay for your Credit Card bills. With this facility, you can preset an amount along with a date, and make your monthly payment, conveniently.
However, this may cause some trouble, as your bill will more or less be different each time. In case your bill varies widely, you can simply set a monthly reminder, and make your payments according to the billed amount.
Now that you are aware of some of the most imperative aspects of using a Credit Card, go ahead and start swiping. And just in case you do not have a card yet, look for the Best Credit Card Online and apply for the same, right away!
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