Getting your first credit card can be exciting. But as we all know, ‘adulting’ comes some responsibilities. Being irresponsible with your credit card has consequences, and can affect your credit score.
Luckily, we’ve put together some great tips to help you navigate your first credit card. As you prepare to step into this adult responsibility, remember that a credit card isn’t a free-for-all money spending opportunity. You want to be responsible, aware, and prepare for all that comes with it.
Let’s take a look at some of our top tips.
1. Pay off the balance each month
If you are following your budget, paying off your balance each month should not be a problem. Just paying the minimum will result in more fees down the line. Paying in full each month will help avoid interest fees, which will improve your credit score.
2. Pay your bill on time
Paying on time is one of the most important details of owning a credit card. Late fees can add up, and late payments negatively impact your credit score more than almost anything else.
3. Don’t freely share your credit card information
Keep your credit card information private. Don’t give away your account number via email or over the phone to just anyone. When entering your credit card, always make sure you are on a secure site or speaking to a legitimate company.
4. Don’t go over the limit
If you go over your limit, you’ll incur additional fees for spending more credit than you were given.
5. Pay attention to what your credit card issuer sends you
Don’t ignore what they are sending you. Most of the time, that information is important. They might be notifying you about annual fees or increases in certain fees that affect you directly.
6. Monitor your card activity
This may seem obvious, but many people forget to check their card activity often. Sign up for text or email updates to keep track of your spending and better manage your budget.
Opening a credit card is a huge decision, especially when it’s your first one. Make sure you’re ready for the responsibility and understand that the money you spend on your card is not free money. You’ll eventually have to pay that back with interest. Which means you’re actually spending more in the long run.
Do your research and choose a card that works for you. Then prepare to be responsible for your spending.