Credit Tips To Help You Avoid Dangerous Mistakes
Credit cards help you easily and conveniently buy things you want (not necessarily need) and even help bail you out of a jam. Unfortunately all this comes at a price; moreover, uncontrolled spending and credit card use leads to various financial mistakes which come with long-term effects. While you may know the dangers of running up credit card balances, there are a few other dangerous mistakes you may make and some tips for avoiding them. These credit tips are even more important than ever coming into the holiday season.
PAYING THE BARE MINIMUM
While banks use different formulas for calculating the minimum amount due every month, most start with one or two percent of the outstanding balance. This is then added to fees for late payments, monthly interest charges and exceeding credit limit. Whichever way it’s calculated, just paying the minimum leads to lots of interest payments with time. Try to pay off as much of your balance, if not all every month.
FICO states that payment history is the largest component, consisting about 35% of the score. This is sensible as lenders want to know how promptly their borrowers were at making payments in the past as no one likes getting paid late.
Not only do late payments lead to a low credit score (1x30day = 20-100pts), it also results in late payment fees from the bank. This not only costs you more but also boosts your monthly minimum amount.
HIGH UTILIZATION RATIO
Next to payment history, FICO checks the ‘amount owed’ which constitutes 30% of a credit score. This is calculated using the borrower’s credit utilization ratio or the amount of available credit used. So if you have card with a $6000 credit limit and you use $3,000, you have a 50% utilization ratio.
High ratios harm your credit score and affects your ability at securing loans on favorable terms. It also leads to less credit availability during emergencies. As high utilization ratio also indicates deeper financial problems, it’s time to do some serious budgeting if your ratio creeps up. On an average, Oster recommends, “keeping your utilization ratio below 30%.”
NOT READING YOUR STATEMENTS
As banks move towards paperless billing and automatic bill pay services, you may forget to check your monthly statement. This is dangerous as you may overlook some wrong charges and pay for services or products you haven’t bought. There is also a chance of you becoming a victim of identity theft or other forms of credit fraud.
Moreover ignoring your monthly credit card statement may lead to your losing command over your finances. This in turn may make it difficult for you to reach your personal finance goals. So make it a point to set aside a few moments every month to review your paper and digital statements and make it a part of your monthly budget review routine.
You will have to wait for the next post to learn about a few more credit card mistakes you should avoid making.
If you still need help with controlling your debt and/or improving your credit, fill out the form below and get a free credit consultation from a credit expert at Better Qualified.