Best Credit Card Tips & Tricks
Credit cards are an invaluable tool for building credit, increasing your purchasing power, and consolidating debt.
However, when used incorrectly, credit cards can also be a source of endless nightmares and sleepless nights worrying about making your payments on time.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best credit card tips and tricks for keeping track of your purchases, paying your bill on time, reviewing your credit card statements, and preventing yourself from getting caught in a credit card debt trap.
At Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), we make getting and managing our Visa® Credit Cards an easy and convenient process.
Call 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn about our Visa Credit Cards, personal loans, checking and savings accounts, and other banking products.
As a full-service financial institution, we look forward to helping you with all of your banking needs.
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Keep Track of Your Purchases
Keeping track of your purchases will ensure you don’t max out credit cards. It’s one of the most important steps for managing your spending.
To keep track of purchases, there are a variety of different strategies you can try: first, there’s the traditional method of using pen and paper to tally how much you’ve added to your credit card balance.
And while this method works for a lot of people, we believe the best method for keeping track of your purchases is through our Mobile Banking App
With our Mobile Banking App, you can log in with the touch of a finger, view your balances and transaction history, pay your credit card bill, and so much more.
Consider Automatic Payments
Signing up for automatic payments is a great way for avoiding interest accumulation and preventing late fees—so long as you have adequate funds.
Paying your monthly credit card bill automatically saves you from the hassle of having to log into an online system or write out a check to pay your bill before the due date.
By enrolling in automatic payments, your credit card bills will be paid on-time every month, and with our online and mobile banking systems, it’s incredibly easy to set up.
Be Mindful of Your Credit Limit
Credit cards have a preset credit limit, which is the maximum outstanding amount of debt that you’re allowed to carry on your credit card at any given time.
Hit the limit, and your credit is cut off (you can’t borrow any more until you’ve paid off at least a portion of what you already owe).
As such, it is critical to manage your credit limit, both to stay out of debt and to maintain a good credit score.
If you exceed your spending limit, it may lead to expensive fees and penalties; however, at CU SoCal, we offer a 25-day grace period on purchases, meaning you won’t have to pay interest if your balance is paid in full within 25 days of the statement date. Keep in mind your credit score will be negatively impacted if you sustain (for months on end) a credit balance that exceeds 30% of your total credit limit.
Pay Your Bill in Full Each Month
Failing to pay off your credit card bill means you will incur interest rate charges, which is what you want to avoid with a credit card, as that’s the part that makes them expensive.
Carry a balance long enough, and a relatively small amount of debt can grow significantly from interest charges adding up, months after month.
Therefore, you should only spend what you can afford to pay off in full each month. If you can’t afford to pay off your balance each month, cut back on your credit card spending and pay with cash. As long as you use your credit card in this way, you’re less likely to get into financial trouble.
Review Your Credit Card Statements
We certainly recommend scrutinizing your credit card transactions each month. Always monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity, at the very least.
We also suggest keeping track of your outstanding balance to cut back on nonessential spending, as little expenses may not feel like much each time you spend, but once they begin to accumulate, they can turn into a mountain of debt.
Be sure to read your credit card statement thoroughly, and if you notice any suspicious or unusual purchase behavior, immediately contact your bank or credit union to report it.
Financial institutions have several anti-theft and security measures in place to keep your account safe and secure from such instances, and at CU SoCal, our Rewards Checking Account
offers advanced identity theft services
free of charge.
Don't Forget About Your Rewards!
Credit Card reward points are often misleading. Although they may not seem useful right away, they can quietly accumulate, and before you know it, you may have enough to get a sizable amount of cash back or use your points to buy merchandise, gift cards, and more.
At CU SoCal, we keep banking convenient and straightforward. Our credit card rewards points are called “Dream Points”, and your balance is always just a click away.
In fact, you can easily find your Dream Point balance at any time simply by clicking on the main Account Summary screen within your Online Banking account, or by calling our Member Care Center at 866.287.6225.
Review Your Credit Card Perks
If you have a Platinum Rewards Visa Credit Card already, don’t hesitate to call your card provider to get the full details.
And if you don’t have one yet, then be sure to look into the ones that we’re offering, because our benefits are extremely competitive.
Watch Out For Fees
Credit card fees can quickly add up and could cost you a tremendous amount of money.
Annual fee charges vary by card and are usually associated with secured cards. Going for a credit card with zero annual fees, like our Platinum Rewards Visa or CU SoCal Topaz Visa, means you’ll have more money to spend on yourself.
Cash advance fees are another important account detail to be aware of, as they get incurred when a credit cardholder accesses cash from their credit line to make purchases or cover an overdraft. This fee can be $10 or 5%, depending on which is greater.i
Late fees are charged whenever you fail to pay the minimum monthly requirement on your account, so as we mentioned earlier, enroll in autopay so that you can avoid those entirely.
In short, the safest way to avoid credit card fees is to pay your bill on time and in full every month, and the best way to make sure that this happens is to utilize an auto payment system.
Report Lost or Missing Credit Cards Immediately
The first thing to do when you lose your credit card is to report your missing card to the issuer. The bank or credit union will then block your card immediately, preventing anyone from making unauthorized purchases in your name.
Use The Right Card
Finally, it’s important to read up on the incentives and benefits of your credit cards to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.
Some credit cards are better for travel, while others are more suited for dining out. These perks can help you decide on which card to get, and which one to use for different types of purchases.
CU SoCal Credit Cards
CU SoCal's Credit Cards offer competitive benefits, low 2% transfer fees, and much more. Visit our credit card webpage
for more information.
Why Savvy Consumers Choose CU SoCal
For over 60 years CU SoCal has been providing financial services, including car loans, personal loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other banking products, to those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles
County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 today to learn more about CU SoCal Visa credit cards and other financial products to help you manage your finances.
Get Started on Your Credit Card!