Mindy Brouwer joined us again on the podcast to explain the 3 best ways to use your credit card.
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1. Effectively Utilize Credit Card Benefits
What are the most effective ways to use my credit card?
The purpose of a credit card is to use it when you don’t have the funds available and you need to make a purchase. It’s intended to be paid off quickly and is like a short-term loan. If you make that choice to use your credit card, do it effectively.
One of those ways would be to do your research and get a credit card with special perks such as rewards, miles, or cashback. A savvy credit cardholder can use those perks to their benefit. I’d caution you to use the card wisely and make sure that the cost of those rewards doesn’t outweigh any benefits, such as the cost of finance, charge, or fees. Using the card wisely and not keeping your balance longer than a short-term loan as it’s intended is a great way to start out using your credit card.
2. Find the right credit card for you
How can I maximize my benefits?
Do your research. If you travel a lot, get a card that earns miles. They can be used for travel expenses, such as hotels or airline flights. If you enjoy rewards, use your card often to build rewards, and then shop at your rewards catalog or redeem them for cashback and statement benefits.
Some people may not realize that a lot of cards that have rewards actually have higher APRs to offset the cost of those rewards. Our Platinum card at Voyage has fixed low rates and rewards so you’re getting the best of both worlds.
What benefits does the Voyage credit card have?
Our Voyage card is a great simple card to use. It is a platinum card with rewards. There are no gimmicks, no games, or variable rates. You’ll be given the rate you qualify for based on your credit score and that won’t change. You’ll get your disclosure that states your rate.
It also has a great rewards program. Every time you use it, you earn rewards. With some similar rewards programs, you’ve got a catalog that you can use to redeem some of those rewards points. If you’ve got your eye on some kind of electronic or household item, maybe a gift card to a store, you can redeem that way as well as just doing statement credits and cashback.
3. Make smart payments
If I build up a balance on my account, when should I be paying it off?
Most experts will say you should actually be paying your credit card off every month. If it’s not possible to do that, make sure you’re making more than the minimum payment. That accelerates your payoff and costs you less over time.
Your statement will show amortization of how many months or years it’s going to take to pay off your balance if you only make the minimum payment. Making more than that minimum payment is going to reduce your cost over time.
How can I use my credit card to build credit?
The best way to build good credit when using a credit card is to keep your balance less than 50% of your credit limit at all times. Some experts say that up to 30% of your credit score actually is calculated based on how much credit available you have on your credit cards. The more spending power that you have, the better your credit score is going to be.
It’s also important to make your payments on time. A 30-day late payment can drop your score immediately by 60 to 100 points.
What are harmful ways I could be using my card?
Don’t miss any monthly payments. That can really lower your score right away and it’s tough to get that score back up once it drops.
The less credit you have available on your card, the lower your score is going to be. Maxing out your credit limits is one of the most harmful ways you can use your card.
There’s also a misconception that if you pay your balance off every month that it’s good for your credit. If you max out your limits every month, and when your statement prints, even though you’re paying it off every month, the statement is what is sent to the credit bureau.
If you’re at your credit limit or near it at that time, your credit score will lower. Even if you’re paying off your balance every month, try to keep that balance under 30 to 50% of your credit limit.
Learn more about our Voyage credit cards. Whether it’s for business or personal use, you should have a card that works for you! Start online or give us a call at 605.338.2533.