So, you just got approved for a credit card. Hurray! You might be wondering, what happens now?
Getting a new credit card may look straightforward, but there are several things you’ll want to do when your new credit card arrives.
Note the Interest APRs and Fees
Credit cards can be highly beneficial if you know how to use them, and that includes avoiding fees.
Get to know your card by looking at the purchase and penalty interest rates. Then check out the annual, late, balance transfer and foreign transaction fees.
Next, you’ll want to plan for how you will repay the money you borrow. Most credit cards have grace periods that allow you to avoid interest and fees.
Be Responsible with Your New Credit
Being responsible with your credit is a long-term game plan that begins the day you receive your card in the mail. Take these steps to make sure you stay in good shape:
- Set up auto-pay. Making automatic payments will help you avoid late charges.
- Monitor statements and credit reports. Watch your credit reports and make disputes when you notice something amiss.
- Pay your balance in full every month. Avoid “balance creep” by not leaving any balance on the account each month.
Check Out the Perks
Credit card benefits could save you a ton of money if you plan wisely. Creditors often give you a free collision damage waiver for car rentals, travel insurance and purchase protection on bought items.
With purchase protection, your creditors will refund you the difference if you find your item sold at a lower price after you bought it. Cool, right?
Keep Track of Your Promotions
Does your card offer a sign-up bonus, a 0% APR for purchases or a balance transfer promotion?
If so, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them. Sign-up bonuses usually have a list of requirements you need to fulfill to redeem the offer. Read the fine print and make sure you comply with their policies to receive the bonus.
Also, don’t fall into a state of amnesia on your 0% APR offers. Creditors typically offer 6, 12 or 18 months of interest-free legroom, but you’ll want to set up a repayment schedule to remind yourself to pay the money back before expiry.
Understand the Rewards Program
Rewards systems are getting pretty complex these days, but if you understand how they work, you can come out winning.
Many cards offer a standard 1- or 2-point system for your purchases, and they have opportunities to cash in on quarterly bonus rewards too.
Pay attention to the announcements and activate any extra bonus offers. Some creditors give extra rewards if you shop certain categories (think restaurants and gas stations), and others offer extra points for buying at certain stores.
You’ll also want to understand how your travel perks work if you received a credit card that offers miles or upgraded flight options.
It’s crucial to understand all credit card fees, promotions, perks and rewards immediately so you can begin taking advantage of the awesome perks and avoid overpaying your creditors. Want more guidance on credit? Go here to schedule a Free Consultation today.
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