Using Credit Cards Responsibly
Use credit cards in accordance with a written budget; making sure that your budget also includes a savings plan. A credit card is not a financial lifeline; it should only be used to charge items you could pay for if the credit line were not available. 
  • Credit cards offer convenience and flexibility when you do not have cash, basically buy now/pay later scenario.
  • They can help build a credit profile history which is essential when you apply for a car loan or want to purchase a home.
  • Allow you access to credit in an emergency situation.
  • Often a credit card is needed to reserve a hotel room, rent a car, purchase a airline ticket, etc.

Follow these Guidelines:

Make Payments On Time: It's a good idea to set up auto pay with your banking institution for your car payment, home mortgage, and student loan payment. Additionally you can set up an auto pay of the minimum amount due for a credit card, rely on this only to cover yourself to avoid an accidental late payment fee.
Pay More Than the Minimum: Your monthly credit card statement should provide information about how long it will take for you to pay off a balance if you make only the minimum payment, and shows how much you will save by paying it off monthly.
Read your Credit Card Agreement: Terms and Conditions vary from creditor to creditor, as well as with any loan institution.  It is imperative that you read through every loan or credit card agreement before you sign the dotted line.
Check Your Monthly Statements for Accuracy: Protect your credit by checking your statements for accuracy.  If you find an error contact your credit card customer service immediately.
Stay Below Your Credit Limit: Credit Utilization Ratios; essentially how much credit you have available, juxtaposed to how much you are actually using, plays a big factor in your overall credit profile. It is used by credit bureaus to determine the amount of risk they are extending to providing you a loan.  It's crucial, for your credit profile, to avoid getting close to your credit card limits; try to only use 25% or less of your available credit at any given time. If you carry a balance that exceeds 70-75% of your credit limit it can be a red flag and may harm your credit score.
Report a Lost or Stolen Card Immediately: Although many credit card companies offer 0% fraud liability, some issuers may hold you responsible for up to the first $50. If you report the card immediately you will not be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
Teach Your Children About Credit Cards: Children and teens need to learn how to be a smart credit card users.  It is important to combat their misconceptions about the use of plastic as being the same as money. 

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