One of the biggest things you should know about credit cards is that you are in much better shape if you get off on the right foot. Using credit cards without any credit education or background in personal spending and saving can dig you into a hole very fast. Sadly, that often becomes a downward spiral that only gets worse over time. Once you find yourself in debt, it can become very tough to dig your way out of it. A good practice for anyone who uses a credit card – from students to grown adults – is to take some time to educate yourself on smart credit card use, including all the ins and outs of borrowing and paying back.
Here are a few tips to ensure you find the right path to educating yourself on credit cards, credit card use, and all the terms of service and terminologies that go along with them.
- Learn from others who have a great track record. If you have a relative or friend with great credit and a good history of staying out of debt, invite him or her to lunch so you can pick their brain on how to establish good credit as well as how to stay out of debt.
- Always familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of any financial obligation. This includes not just your credit cards and debit cards, but also car loans, your home mortgage, balance transfers, and any other situations that require financial borrowing.
- Learn all you can about everything – not just your rates and due dates. If you plan to use a credit card, you should really take the time to learn all there is to know about anything related. First of all, make yourself aware of risks that open you up to potential fraud and identity theft. You should also be sure you understand the differences between just using your credit card and what’s involved with those convenience checks they send you in the mail, or balance transfer offers, and so forth.
- Consider speaking with a credit counselor if you find yourself slipping. If you can’t seem to stay on top of your payments, such as not being able to pay or always paying late, it may be a good idea to sit down with a credit counselor to get some advice and guidance.
- Take some time to watch YouTube videos or read blogs by top financial pros. There’s something to be said for learning from and emulating those who have already experienced great success. The more you learn about financial topics and especially about positive credit card behaviors, the better chance you have of always being ahead of the curve.
Educating yourself on consumer credit, borrowing and paying back, and even the perks of credit card use – such as credit card rewards points – can be a vital step in getting you off on the right foot with your credit behaviors. Some of the biggest things you can do from the get-go are paying your bill on time every time, and paying the bill in its entirety whenever possible. If you can manage these two very important points, you are sure to be well on your way to a sunny future with credit cards.