Credit Card Tips for 2013 - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Credit Card Tips for 2013

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On your 2013 New Year's resolution list you may be planning to make changes to your personal finances.  If you automatically use credit cards, you might consider options before you make that next purchase.  Details in this News 13 Problem Solver report.

For many of us buying something, whether it be gasoline or thousands of other items, means pulling out a card.

Credit cards have long been a way of life.  But, it may be time to get better control of your credit status.

Here are tips to consider for the new year from

  • First, know your credit.  The state of your credit will determine what card you can get. If you have good to great credit (720 and above), you'll likely qualify for numerous rewards cards that cater to your personal tastes.
  • Next, read the fine print.  The details of a credit card's agreement will help you compare it to others such as the annual percentage rate for purchases, balance transfers, etc.
  • Ignore flattering marketing.  Don't believe it.   Many issuers will send out "special invitations" to apply for a credit card, or they'll tell you that you're "pre selected" for a credit card.
  • Don't overspend for sign-up bonuses.  Those sign-up bonuses are hardly free. Most come with spending requirements that encourage some consumers to buy more than they should. If you don't pay off the entire balance every month, you will be charged interest.
  • Watch out for small-business credit cards.  If you sign up for a small-business credit card as a sole proprietorship using your social security number, that account is on your personal credit report. If you miss a payment on the business card, it will ding your credit score. 
  • Next…store credit cards aren't always a deal.  Every time you open a new department store or retail credit card, your credit score takes a hit. The new account lowers the average age of your credit history, a key component of a credit score. 
  • Follow best credit card practices.  Paying off balances on time every month boosts your credit score.
  • Maximize your rewards.  Make sure your rewards credit card works for you.  Look for quarterly changes in rewards points and special rewards-earning promotions that offer more points for every dollar spent. 
  • Learn how to dig out of credit card debt.  Develop a strategy for dealing with credit card debt, and be ready to follow it.
  • Know how to handle card fraud.  Make a habit of checking your credit card activity at least once a month, if not more, for odd charges. If you find an unauthorized transaction, or if you lose your card, immediately notify your issuer.