Susan Larsen from American West Bank has assembled a list of 13 credit card tips that will help you in your credit card usage and security.
Tips on Wise Credit Use
Even with these new safeguards, the best protection against getting deeply in debt is knowing the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Here are some tips to assist students in using credit wisely:
- Set up and follow a budget that includes paying off a credit card balance. “Maxing out” or charging up to your card’s credit limit can make sticking to your budget more difficult. (Especially important for your first credit card)
- Remember that cash advances, unlike purchases, generally have finance charges that apply immediately.
- Pay on time, every time. Whenever possible, pay more than the minimum payment owed to pay off the balance faster and save on finance charges.
- Keep records of your account number, expiration date and the phone number of your card issuer in a safe place.
- Never give out your credit card number, card verification number (which appears on or near the signature panel) or expiration date over the phone, unless you initiated the call and know who you’re dealing with.
- Elect to receive your statement information online. Many banks offer an alert for unusual transactions and reminders of when your bill is due.
- Consider making your credit card payment online to ensure it is received by the monthly due date.
- Routinely access your account information online to track your spending and to quickly identify fraudulent transactions. If you see a transaction that is not yours, notify your card issuer immediately.
- If there’s an error on your account, report it immediately by notifying your card issuer. Look for complete instructions on your monthly statement or your bank’s website and follow them carefully to protect your rights.
- Keep a copy of your sales receipts so you can compare what you bought with the charges on your bill.
- When making online transactions, be sure the site is secure. Don’t let others see you enter card information.
- Don’t lend your credit card to anyone, not even a friend. Ever.
- If you move, notify your card issuer immediately.
Best regards and good credit scores to all!
Author: Susan Larsen is a Vice President and Branch Manager at American West Bank