Top 10 Credit Card Mistakes
Accepting the first offer you receive
Rather than assuming the latest offer you receive in the mail is the best one, research the different types of credit cards that are available to you. Explore rewards programs and compare rates with competitors, especially if you plan to carry a balance. If you’re already paying off credit card debt, consider paying off a credit card with another credit card. Find a new card with an introductory rate of 0% and pay off your current credit card with the new credit card while enjoying interest-free payments for a year.
Exceeding your budget
Just because you have a certain credit card limit doesn’t automatically mean you have the means to afford it. Don’t be tempted to make extravagant purchases with your credit card if you couldn’t pay for them with cash. If you do, you’re likely to have trouble paying off credit cards. This can lead to needing a loan to pay off credit card debt or other avoidable financial consequences.
Not paying on time (or at all)
Paying off credit card debt and other bills on time is one of the most influential factors on your credit report. In fact, your payment history has the largest impact on your credit score. Even if you’re just a few days late, your credit card company may report the payment delay to the credit bureaus, which will lower your score. Be sure to pay off your credit card bill as soon as possible to avoid late fees and damage to your credit.
Only making the minimum payments
If you’re wondering, “How can I pay off my credit card debt?” the easiest answer is to simply make more than the minimum monthly payment. With the average credit card interest rate at 15% it’s difficult, if not impossible, to pay off credit cards by just making the minimum payment each month.
Keeping your current interest rate
If you’re trying to decide how to quickly pay off credit card debt, look at your current interest rate and the relationship you have with your creditor. Has your rate been steadily increasing each year, despite being a long-term customer? For card holders with a consistent payment history, one of the quickest ways to pay off credit card debt is to negotiate your interest rate.
Assuming a write-off will help
You may wonder how to write off credit card debt but the truth is, this tactic benefits the credit card company, not you. A credit card write off allows your creditor to take your debt off its books and claim it as a loss. However, writing off credit card debt does not mean you are exempt from paying what you owe. The likely scenario is that your debt will be inexpensively sold to a collection agency that will still expect you to pay off your credit card debt. Don’t assume that having your credit card debts written off automatically alleviates your financial responsibility.
Treating all cards equally
Most Americans with credit cards have between three and four separate cards in their wallets. If you have more than one card, familiarize yourself with the rates and terms of each one before determining how to use them and how to pay the credit cards off. When making purchases that you know you won’t pay off in full when the bill comes, use the card with the lowest rate. To figure out which credit card to pay off first, focus on the one with the highest rate while still making minimum payments on any other cards carrying balances.
Setting up auto-bill pay
While auto-bill pay is a convenient way to pay off a credit card, it makes it more difficult for you to analyze the charges and make sure they’re all accurate. Looking for an easy way of how to pay off credit cards quickly? Don’t pay for things you didn’t buy.
Staying in the dark about your debt
It may be intimidating, but before you initiate a credit card pay off plan, figure out exactly how much you owe. It’s impossible to determine the best ways to pay off credit card debt if you don’t know how much you actually have.
Ignoring alternative ways to pay off credit card debt
While we’d all like to find the money to make extra payments, sometimes the best way to pay off credit card debt is less conventional. Research personal loans for your credit card pay off, which may save you money if the interest rate is lower. Another tip for paying off credit card debt is to use some of your savings so you can avoid those high interest rates.