Be careful to stay away from actions that cause fees on your credit cards! Fees for missed or late payments, for instance, can be as high as $35 or more! This can also lead to your credit card company increasing your interest rate. Know what triggers can cause these fees by reading the fine print on any card you use. Pay off as much of your balance as you can each month. The more you owe the credit card company each month, the more you will pay in interest. If you pay even a small amount in addition to the minimum payment each month, you can save yourself a great deal of interest each year. If you can't get a credit card because of a spotty credit record, then take heart. There are still some options that may be quite workable for you. A secured credit card is much easier to get and may help you rebuild your credit record very effectively. With a secured card, you deposit a set amount into a savings account with a bank or lending institution - often about $500. That amount becomes your collateral for the account, which makes the bank willing to work with you. You use the card as a normal credit card, keeping expenses under that limit. As you pay your monthly bills responsibly, the bank may decide to raise your limit and eventually convert the account to a traditional credit card.
With your credit cards bills, it is important that you make payment no later than your monthly due date. If you pay your credit card bill late, you may be assessed a late payment fee. Paying your bill late can also cause the percentage of interest to be raised on your unpaid balance. These actions will negatively affect your credit score. If you have multiple cards that have a balance on them, you should avoid getting new cards. Even if you are paying everything back on time, there is no reason for you to take the chance of getting another card and making your financial situation any more strained than it already is. If you have more than one credit card, leave one at home always. Use it perhaps for online purchases made from home, but do not take it out with you. This way, if you do wind up slipping up and running up the cards in your wallet, you still have an available credit card to use for emergencies.
Make sure your balance is manageable. If you charge more without paying off your balance, you risk getting into major debt. Interest makes your balance grow, which can make it difficult to get it caught up. Just paying your minimum due means you will be paying off the cards for many months or years, depending on your balance. Practice sound financial management by only charging purchases that you know you will be able to pay off. Credit cards can be a quick and dangerous way to rack up large amounts of debt that you may not be able to pay off. Don't use them to live off of, if you are unable to come up with the funds to do so. If you cannot pay your entire credit card bill each month, you should definitely keep your available credit limit above 50% after each billing cycle. Having a good credit to debt ratio is an important part of your credit score. Make sure that your credit card is not constantly near its limit.