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Using A Credit Card Responsibly

Aug 17, 2007
Most of us can hardly imagine a life any more without credit cards. More and more purchases are made over the internet, which require a credit card. Self-discipline is a must when using credit cards. It is very easy to just keep purchasing without regards for the steadily climbing credit card balance. I have been there, done that. I dreaded incoming calls with 1-800 numbers. They could be from the credit card company, reminding me that I was (again) overdue. Not a pleasant experience!

A credit card in and of itself is not bad. It is how we use them. One strategy is to have just one credit card, and have this one only be used for emergencies and for traveling. You would have to check with the issuer about any requirements for minimal use. Some credit card companies do not like it, if you never use their card. If you intentionally use your card once each month, and pay it off immediately, that should be fine.

Many banks now offer "credit" cards tied to your checking account. These cards are called secured credit cards, because they are backed up by your checking account. There usually is a maximum for how much you can charge to this card within a 24-hour period. This type of card might not be the best to use as a backup when traveling or for emergencies. You might not have the required funds available in your checking account when you need it. Or maybe you have already purchased other items, such as souvenirs, and not have sufficient funds when you need them.

If you are disciplined, you can get a card that rewards you with either frequent flyer miles or other products. You can then do all your shopping using that card. This way you also get a summary of all your purchases for each month. It is however vital, to fully pay off the balance each month. As you find yourself slipping and not paying off the balance monthly, unless there was an emergency, get rid of the card.

I know people who absolutely refuse to use any credit cards, and they manage just fine. So before you decide to sign up for a credit card, be honest with yourself about how you are with money and if there is a chance that you will accumulate a higher and higher balance. Also carefully check the conditions, rules and regulations of the credit card company.
About the Author
C. Perrin is the mother of 2 teenagers and she wants to pass on what life has taught her so far Useful Information
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