4 Tips for Using Your Credit Card Wisely

A woman using a credit card at a grocery.

According to the American Bankers Association, about 73% of families in the United States have at least one credit card. For many people, using credit cards is a matter of convenience, as they allow you to complete your everyday shopping without carrying lots of cash or stopping by the ATM. Credit cards can also be very useful when it comes to building your credit history, dealing with emergencies, or making large purchases.

When they are used wisely, credit cards can be a major boon for your financial life. However, there are also a number of potential pitfalls that credit card users will definitely want to avoid. To help you make smart financial decisions, Tennessee State Bank has put together four tips for making the most of your credit card.

1. Choose the Right Card for Your NeedsA credit card with the Tennessee State Bank logo.

All credit cards are not created equal, so it is important to choose the right one for your specific needs. Here are a few factors to consider when you pick your card:

Annual Percentage Rate: The APR is essentially the interest rate for your card.

Grace period: This is the period between the date you make a purchase and the date your credit card bill is due. If you pay your credit card in full by the due date, you can avoid paying interest.

Annual fee: Some credit cards come with a fee that is automatically added to your bill once a year.

Late fees: If you don’t pay at least the minimum amount due on your credit card bill, you will be charged a late fee. Late payments can also cause your APR to increase.

Rewards programs: Some cards allow users to accrue rewards, such as cash back, as they make purchases.

Additional fees: Potential fees that consumers should be aware of include returned payment fees, cash advance fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, and expedited card replacement fees.

Tennessee State Bank offers a variety of credit cards for our customers to choose from. For an overview of all our options, visit our Credit Cards page.

2. Pay as Much as You Can, as Soon as You Can

As noted above, it is important to pay your credit card balance in full by the due date in order to avoid paying APR on your purchases. If you are not able to pay the full balance one month, try to pay off the remainder as soon as possible. Do not wait for the next due date to make your payment, as interest will continue to accrue during this period. It is wise to keep a close eye on your balance by checking it online or over the phone.

A woman holding a credit card and using a laptop.3. Use These Methods to Pay Your Bill on Time

The simplest way to ensure that you never miss your due date is to set up automatic online payments for your credit card. This way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to make a payment. If you would rather pay by mail, make sure that you send your check out at least one week before the due date. Paying by phone is also an option offered by many credit card providers, although there is sometimes a fee if the payment involves expedited service.

4. If You Have a Credit Problem, Act Quickly

If you find that you are falling behind on your credit card payments, it is important to take steps to get back on track. Get in contact with your creditors and let them know that you want to pay, as they may be willing to help you work out a new schedule. Local Consumer Credit Counseling Services can also provide assistance when it comes to budgeting and debt management.

About Tennessee State BankThe corporate headquarters for Tennessee State Bank.

Tennessee State Bank has been serving our local community for over 45 years. With branches in Sevier County, Knox County, Cocke County, and Jefferson County, we offer convenient banking services in East Tennessee. Whether you’re looking to open a checking account, obtain an auto loan, or apply for a home mortgage, we make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. Tennessee State Bank’s motto is “Banking at its Best!”SM, and we strive to live up to that creed every day. Let us know how we can help you by sending us a message via our Contact Form.

Tennessee State Bank is Member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.

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References

“Credit Card Facts and Tips.” American Bankers Association, www.aba.com/Consumers/Pages/CreditCardFactsTips.aspx