When it comes to credit cards, most everyone knows the basics.
Keep your balance well within your limits, use your card in conjunction with your budget, plan for the big stuff—they’re all common sense credit card rules that come as second nature to most anyone with a credit history.
There are some facets of the credit card game, however, that go undiscovered by even those that have had a card for years. These “little known tips” are, by and large, quite helpful and can go a long way toward keeping your credit in good shape. Here are a few details you might have overlooked.
You Can Set Up Balance Alerts
If you’ve been having some difficulty staying within your spending goals, or just want to give yourself an extra layer of security when trying to hit a particular target, you can set up a balance alert on your card.
With a balance alert active, you’ll get a notification via phone, email, or text, when your spending gets close to whatever personal limit you’ve devised, and you’ll be more likely to stay within your goals. You can also sign up for alerts that will tell you when your credit utilization ratio is getting to the point where it may be deleterious to your score, prompting you to back off using your card.
You Might Be Able To Score A Lower Interest Rate
Not just by moving to a new card, mind you, but on the card you already have. If you’ve been a steadfast customer of a particular institution for quite some time, you can usually call them up and ask them to give you a lower rate. Granted, you might not always get one, but the possibility is there for some negotiation.
While you’re at it, you might also get them to change some other details about your card as well. Need some more credit? Ask your provider to raise your credit limit. Perhaps your monthly payment due date is inconvenient, and causing you to miss payments? Ask them to change it.
It all depends on how your particular credit provider operates and what’s your current relationship with them. Just a few small changes like these can have a big impact on how you use your card and your ability to maintain it responsibly.
You Don’t Just Have To Pay On The Due Date
You probably already know that you should get in the habit of paying more than the minimum amount you have due to make greater gains in paying off your card’s balance. Did you also know that you can make a mid-cycle payment on your balance to help improve your score?
This is helpful if you tend to use your card frequently. Making periodic, mid-cycle payments helps keep your credit utilization rating low. In turn, this improves your score when your information is reported to the credit bureaus, as making only one payment a month might cause your balance to look unusually high when said information is reported.
Not All Cards Are The Same
If anyone ever told you all credit cards were created equal, then they were severely misinformed. Different cards have different attributes, from the interest rates to the rewards and beyond. It’s up to you to consider these variables and find the card that best fits your particular situation and habits.
By checking out resources like best.creditcard, you can get an overview of different kinds of cards and what specific cards within those categories offer. This is crucial to ensuring you’re not wasting time fooling around with a card that doesn’t really fit your needs.
Those Cashback Cards Add Up
Think that two or three percent can’t make much of a difference? Think again. If you’re responsible about paying off your charges and use your card for day-to-day, recurring purchases, you can stand to get a good deal in return.
Things you’re going to spend money on no matter what, like groceries, can add up to perhaps $10,000 in a year. If you use your card for that and get even three percent back, that’s $300 back in your pocket. If you score a card with an even higher cashback rate, say six percent, that’s $600, which is nothing to sneeze at.
This trend applies to other rewards cards as well, so be sure to know exactly how yours works and leverage it for the maximum amount of value that you can. In conjunction with some of the other tips on the list, it’s a great way to make your credit card work for you.