Credit Cards - A Blessing or a Curse?

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Owning a credit card can be quite an advantage. Whether making online purchases, booking an air ticket or a hotel room on the phone or simply being in need of some emergency cash, having a credit card can be a big help. However, getting a credit card is also a huge responsibility and if you don't keep an eye on your spending habits, credit cards can create some serious problems. Here is an excellent list of tips on proper credit card use and if you follow these, you will likely stay out of trouble and your credit card will be a blessing instead of a curse:

1. When you make a purchase with the credit card, it is akin to taking a loan from your bank. What you have borrowed has to be returned - so do not borrow beyond your capacity to pay it back.

2. Always maintain a record of your credit card balances during a month so that you are aware of what you have already spent. This will help you evaluate if you can make any more purchases in that month as even small purchases can add up to large balances.

3. Retain all receipts at least untill you can compare them to the credit card monthly statement. If some purchases do not match or if some charges are higher than those on the receipt, immediately contact your credit card company.

4. Never give out your credit card to anyone! This includes people in your family and any of your friends. It is not that you cannot trust these individuals, but you cannot track purchases you are not even making.

5. When you charge more than you can repay, a lot can go wrong. This can limit your future potential of getting any kind of credit, including car loans, home mortgages and other forms of loans.

6. Pay your credit card bills on time or even before they are due. Doing so will not only help improve your credit scores, but also help avoid additional costs associated with late payment charges and accrued interest.

7. Pay your credit card bills in full every month. This is easy to do if, based on your income, you establish a monthly budget for your credit card purchases and then not exceed that.

8. Keep your credit cards for new purchasing. don't pay one credit card bill with a different credit card. This will inevitably lead to more charging and higher balances.

Connie Gutchrif is the President and Editor of FN Credit - An excellent resource for information on credit. To learn more, be sure to visit:

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