Credit cards have become an everyday part of life. Instead of carrying cash, they offer convenience. Rather than counting coins at every purchase counter, they save time. And most importantly, credit cards offer a level of freedom (in travel, in purchasing power, and in financial management) that other payment methods lack.
But with their widespread appeal, it’s easy to take credit cards for granted. In fact, you might not be taking advantage of all the benefits your credit card can offer. Here are 5 ways to unlock the full potential of your plastic.
1. Go Mobile with Your Banking
One of the best benefits of using a credit card is that every purchase is tracked for you by your bank. And by pairing your purchases with an easy-to-use mobile app, you can keep track of all your finances on the go. To get the most out of your credit card, make sure you’re viewing your statements, managing your money, and paying off balances from the convenience of your phone.
2. Sign Up for Account Alerts
Some banks offer the convenience and courtesy of alerting you when a change to your account occurs. Some banks will even let you customize your account alerts so you can get notified for things you care about and not for everyday activities.
3. Make Payments on Time
A credit card can offer freedom, but it can also tie you down in debt. To avoid late penalties, excess debt, and a potential ding to your credit score, make your payments on time. Even if you carry a balance, to get the most out of your credit card, make at least the minimum payment every month on time.
4. Pay Off Your Card Every Month
The average American household carries about $7,200 in credit card debt. And that number continues to rise every year. To avoid credit card debt and high interest payments, treat your credit card like a debit card and pay off the balance in full every month. By charging everything and being smart about your purchases, you can make one payment every month, avoid debt, and build your credit.
5. Track Your Credit Score
Most credit cards offer special benefits to cardholders, but among the most practical perks is the ability to track your credit score for free every month. Keeping tabs on your credit score consistently can help you respond to unexpected changes in your score and work toward a better financial future.
Your credit card is an everyday part of your life. So, it makes sense that it should offer you everyday benefits that are both practical and meaningful. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll get the most out every benefit your credit card can offer.