Here are four classic mistakes consumers make when using credit cards.
J. Emilio Flores/La Opinion/Newscom/File
We all make mistakes, it’s in our nature. Sometimes we make them because we don’t know any better, and oftentimes we make them even though we do.
A lot of us have made some pretty big flubs with the plastic and so it’s always good to get some helpful reminders of great credit card tips so we can avoid the past blunders again.
Believe me, you can definitely get out of credit card debt and start working in the right direction with your personal finances by avoiding some of these credit card mistakes:
1. Not Paying Attention to Due Dates
This recently happened to me. I got my email notification of the statement, logged it in the back of my mind that I needed to pay that bill and unfortunately got busy and never bothered to pull that statement out of the back of my mind until two days after the bill was due.
I know what you’re thinking – just automate your bill pay! Yes, I should do that, but I do like to take a look at what’s on the statement and make sure everything is correct. This forces me to do that.
Making a late payment even if it is only by a few days can rack up ridiculous charges that only compound your debt. Those annoying charges can also have an impact on your credit report. Being vigilant about paying your debt and paying it on time is key.
What I’ll do is give American Express a call and see what they can do for me. Since I don’t carry a balance, normally pay on time and have been a long-time, loyal customer I’m hoping they’ll waive those charges for me.
2. Not Paying Your Bill in Full Each Month
This is where it all begins doesn’t it? You’re a willing victim to the crazy cycle. You buy something you can’t afford and think, “I get paid in two weeks, I’ll just put it on the credit card and as soon as I get the bill I will pay it off” and then something else comes up.
Emergencies happen or you find some other trinket you want to buy and you put that on your credit card too. At the end of the of the month you receive a hefty bill. What do you do? If you only pay what you can and wind up leaving a balance on the card that accrues interest at insane amounts, you’re asking for trouble and perpetuating the cycle!
3. Not Realizing You Have Credit Card Problems
Okay, this sounds silly, how can you not recognize that you have credit card problems? Well, it’s actually fairly easy. I spent the majority of my college years and shortly after living the high life without any regard to the thousands of dollars I was racking up!
I didn’t even realize that I had a credit card problem. I just figured this was a normal part of existence and that once I made more money, then I would pay off that debt! No big deal right?
Little did I realize that I needed to make some drastic changes! Get real with yourself and ask if you’ve got some spending issues.
4. Not Negotiating With Credit Card Companies
It puzzles me that more people don’t call their credit card companies to negotiate with them. You can negotiate things like interest rates, late payment fees or even payment plans. If nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to give them a call and find out what they can do for you.
The person who never asks, never receives. Now of course there is no guarantee that the credit card company will do anything, but wouldn’t it be nice to know if they were willing to do something?
Getting out of debt is not easy, but don’t make it harder on yourself by making simple mistakes that can easily be avoided.
What Other Tips Would You Give on Avoiding Credit Card Mistakes?
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