Credit cards can be fantastic financial resources, giving you the flexibility to handle emergencies and the tools to build your credit rating. However, they also make it easy to take on more debt than you can handle, so you should always exercise caution when applying for and using credit. Below are some of the most common credit card mistakes to avoid.
3 Credit Card Mistakes That Can Cost You
1. High Interest Rates
Many credit cards offer very attractive introductory rates, which suddenly jump after the first year. The average credit card interest rate is around 16%, but you might find card offers with rates as high as 25%! That increase may not seem like much, but it could be enough to make paying off your cards seem impossible if you have to carry a balance from month to month. Before accepting any credit card offer, check the interest rate and read the fine print.
2. Missing or Late Payments
Missing a single payment may not impact your credit, but it can seriously affect your ability to pay down debt. Many card companies penalize account holders who miss payments with massive interest rate hikes of 5% or more, which could cost you thousands of dollars in the long term.
3. Canceling a Card Without Paying it Off
Closing accounts can actually hurt your credit score, but it might be the best move if you’re paying high interest rates or a steep annual fee. However, keep in mind that interest keeps accruing on the balance even after you’ve canceled the card, so be sure to pay off the entire balance first.
Avoiding debt traps and building a solid credit file often takes expert advice from a skilled professional who understands the system. As one of Suffolk County, NY’s most effective credit counseling services, You're Approved has the tools and proven methods to increase your credit card approval rate and credit score, putting you on the path to lifelong success. Visit their website to learn more about their services and call (631) 683-3303 to speak with a credit counselor and make an appointment.