Want to make the most out of your credit card? The first step is understanding exactly what this unique financial solution can do for you. Credit cards are quick and easy ways for people to access miniature loans for the items that they need, taken from a bank or building society. Unlike standard loans, you will have to pay back the money you borrow with a credit card very quickly.
When you use the cash on a credit card, you aren’t spending your own money, but the money of the credit card provider. That means that you owe them whatever you spend, with some interest added on top. However, you can choose how and when you pay that money back according to the limits and restrictions of your card. If you’re disciplined and you can pay the money you owe quickly, having a credit card can be a great way to borrow small amounts of cash for short periods of time. However, if you can’t pay your credit card balance off quickly, you could easily find yourself getting into debt.
Understanding Credit Cards
The first thing to understand about the average credit card is that the amount of money you’ll need to pay in terms of interest can be calculated using the annual percentage rate. This is a number that’s represented in the form of the APR on your card. Because the amount you pay in interest is calculated with a reference to the amount you owe, the amount you pay can ramp up significantly as time passes and your balance grows larger.
The key to making sure that you use your credit card properly, is ensuring that you check the market for interest-free credit card offers. A lot of different providers offer interest-free periods on their introductory cards, and you can use this time to buy items and pay bills without having to incur any interest. Of course, the only caveat is that you have to make sure that you pay off your credit card balance before the interest-free period runs out.
One of the best ways to ensure that your credit card repayments are issued on time is to create a direct-debit in your current account that sends money to your credit card provider every month. The only problem with this method is that you could end up facing problems if you don’t have enough money in your current account to pay your bills. Remember that defaulting on payments will always put a black mark on your credit history that might damage your chances of borrowing in the future.
Choosing the Right Credit Card
There are a range of different types of credit card that you can choose from. The best one for you will depend on what you want to accomplish, and what your needs are in terms of money. For instance, you could use a balance transfer card to help you move the existing debt you have on one credit card over onto another credit card. Usually, the new credit card will have no interest, which means that you can reduce your debts significantly. Just keep in mind that 0% interest credit cards only have deals that last for a limited time.
0% credit cards make sure that you don’t need to pay any interest on your purchases for a certain amount of time. These cards can make it easier to keep up with your repayments. A card that is similar to a 0% credit card, but perhaps not as appealing, are Low APR credit cards. Generally, these low APR cards offer a low interest rate that lasts for much longer than the no interest offer on a 0% card.
On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who has suffered with problems regarding repayments in the past, you may be best served by a credit-builder card. These cards are designed for people with poor credit histories, or no credit histories.
Some credit cards can even offer specific rewards when you use them, such as airline miles or points for certain stores. There are even cashback cards that reward you with money back when you spend your credit in particular places.
The Problems with Credit Cards
Though credit cards can be a wonderful way to reduce the problems with your spending habits, and make it easier for you to stretch out your repayments, they can also be very dangerous if you don’t know how to use them safely. If, for example, you can’t make full repayments on your card according to the time frame that you have been given, you will need to pay interest which can quickly develop into serious debt over time.
Make sure that you never use credit that you simply can’t afford to pay back, and ensure that you don’t turn to credit cards in an attempt to manage long-term debt. Relying on your cards too heavily could easily lead to serious financial problems.