A credit card can help you manage your spends between paydays and may be a useful tool for building your credit rating. But they can also get you into financial trouble if you don't use them wisely. Here are some smart tips to help you use your credit card effectively.
Choose the right credit card for you
You should choose a credit card that matches your goals. Do you want to make a big purchase? Are you looking to earn points for spending? Or, do you want to consolidate your credit card balances? When you're shopping around, compare the representative annual percentage rate (APR) offered by different cards, as well as any fees and charges.
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Use the interest-free period wisely
Many cards offer an interest-free period on purchases. This means if you pay everything you owe before the statement due date, you won't have to pay any interest at all. But if you don’t make a full repayment, you will be charged interest on everything you still owe. It's always best if you can repay your credit card balance in full as soon as it is due.
Pay more than the minimum
To use your credit card without having to pay interest, pay off your balance in full every month. If you can't do this, you should still pay more than the minimum. This will reduce the amount of interest you'll pay. If it helps, you can stagger your repayments through the month so that you chip away at the debt.
Organise your repayments
Sometimes when you’re very busy, it can feel difficult to manage all your bills and repayments. This can lead to late payment fees, as well as damage to your credit rating. To make sure your credit card repayments are always made on time, you may want to set up a Direct Debit or a standing instruction on your credit card.
Set the right credit card limit
You should be comfortable with the amount you spend on your credit card. To make sure this is the case, your credit limit should be set at the right level for you. If you need a little extra flexibility, and you know you can afford it, you can always ask your lender to increase your limit. On the other hand, if you're worried you might be tempted to overspend, you can ask for it to be reduced.
Get an additional card for your family members
You can apply for supplementary cards for your loved ones. The credit limit will be shared between the primary and supplementary cards. All the transactions made by the primary, as well as supplementary cardholders, will appear on the statement sent to the primary cardholder only.
Look for rewards
Many credit cards offer rewards such as cashback, air miles, reward points, or vouchers. There are lots of different offers available, so shop around and check credit card details to find the offer that fits in with your lifestyle and your goals.
While rewards are good, don’t get swept up in them. Make sure that all the conditions of the card suit you – such as the interest rate and annual fee.
HSBC has several different credit cards to suit every lifestyle.