Credit cards can be a useful financial tool when used wisely. They can help you build credit, earn rewards, and manage your expenses. However, there are also potential pitfalls associated with credit card use, such as credit card scams and other mistakes that can lead to financial trouble. Here are some of the top credit card mistakes to avoid, whether you’re a new cardholder or are looking for a refresher.
Carrying a balance
One of the most common credit card mistakes is carrying a balance from month to month. When you carry a balance, you’re charged interest on the amount you owe, which can add up quickly and lead to long-term debt. It’s important to pay off your credit card balance in full each month to avoid interest charges and improve your credit score. If you can’t pay off your balance in full, be sure to pay more than the minimum payment to reduce the amount of interest you’ll accrue.
Falling for credit card scams
Credit card scams are a growing problem that can cost you money and put your financial information at risk. Some common credit card scams include phishing scams, where scammers try to obtain your personal information by posing as a legitimate company, and fake credit card offers that require you to pay a fee upfront. To protect yourself from credit card scams, be wary of unsolicited offers, never give out personal information to someone you don’t know, and monitor your credit card statements regularly for any unauthorized charges.
Maxing out your credit limit
Another mistake credit card users make is maxing out their credit limit. When you use up all of your available credit, it can negatively impact your credit score and make it harder to obtain additional credit in the future. It’s important to keep your credit utilization rate below 30%, which means you should use no more than 30% of your available credit. For example, if your credit limit is $10,000, you should try to keep your balance below $3,000. If you do need to make a large purchase, consider spreading the cost over multiple months or using a personal loan instead.
In addition to these top three credit card mistakes, there are other pitfalls to be aware of, such as paying your credit card bill late, using your credit card for cash advances, and opening too many credit cards at once. By avoiding these mistakes and using your credit card responsibly, you can improve your financial well-being and achieve your long-term goals.
At First Financial, we’re committed to helping you make informed financial decisions, including managing your credit card use. We offer 3 consumer credit card options with competitive rates and rewards, as well as educational resources to help you use your credit card responsibly. Our Visa First Step Card is a great card for building credit as a first-time cardholder as well.*
Whether you’re a first-time credit card user or a seasoned pro, we’re here to help you achieve your financial goals and secure your financial future. Contact us to get started, or stop by your local branch to speak with a representative today!
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Related Article: Steps to Improving Your Credit Score
*APR varies up to 18% when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. These APRs are for purchases and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. No Annual Fees. Other fees that apply: Balance Transfer and Cash Advance Fees of 3% or $10, whichever is greater; Late Payment Fee of $29, $10 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of $29. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a Visa Credit Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See firstffcu.com for current rates.