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Important Things to Know About Credit Cards

Creating a positive and healthy relationship with your credit card starts at the beginning. Before you apply for a new credit card make sure you understand several aspects of the card before you move forward. Understanding what you're getting into before you jump into applying for a credit card will lead you to a more successful financial future.

Card Type
Secured card, unsecured, private label and more are examples of credit card types to choose from. Some of these cards require you pay cash collateral or load a balance before using. Others allow you to use anywhere MasterCard and Visa are accepted while some must be used at specific stores. Your credit history will often determine which credit card types you're eligible for.

Interest Rates
Understanding the ins and outs of your credit card interest rate is imperative before you sign the dotted line. What is the starting rate, is it fixed or variable, what will trigger a change and how much can the rate jump at once? Keeping the lowest possible interest rate on your card will allow you to affordably use your card when needed.

Comparing Credit Cards
Comparing credit cards is important. Before you choose a secured card, interest free card or any other type of card you need to compare fees, the grace period (if one exists), credit limit, and payment options. This will help you best identify the cheapest options with the most flexibility.

Payment Due Date
Credit card companies are generally pretty flexible as long as they receive the minimum payment amount on time or early each month. We can't always pay off our entire balance or make responsible choices but paying a traditional credit card payment each month should occur without fail - make sure you understand any important due dates with the card you select.

Minimize Outstanding Credit
While it's good to have and use credit cards on a regular basis it's important not to over use credit. If your credit it good enough to qualify for several credit cards it's not always smart to open several and maintain low to zero balances. Having a large some of available credit can be worrisome to creditors that aren't sure if you'll pull the trigger and get yourself into financial trouble. Maintaining a balance of 30% or less, on any credit card, is said to have the most positive impact on your credit score - next to making credit card payments on time and avoiding overdrafts.

The point is, avoid jumping into credit cards when better options exist. Make smart choices by understanding the type of card you're considering, the respective interest rate, fees, payment due dates and more can set you up for a more positive experience with your credit card company in years to come.

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