If you know how to use it, having a UK credit card can be a very handy and convenient way to borrow. However, if you don’t understand the terms and conditions of your credit card and you don’t know how to properly manage your credit card account, you could end up with debts that soon start to spiral out of control.
Checking your bill each month
Too many credit card users don’t read their credit card bills properly when they arrive each month. This is a mistake, as you need to keep an eye on what you’re spending. You also need the information in your monthly credit card statement to work out repayments and balance your budget, as well as to check for any fraudulent activity on your account. If you receive your bills online, set yourself a date each month to log into your account to read through your bill. It is up to you to check your monthly bill – it is a key part of being a responsible consumer.
Keeping your credit card secure
To ensure you shop safely using your credit card and protect your finances, you should:
- Keep your PIN number secure
- Avoid lending your card to anyone
- Never give credit card details out over email, phone or text
- Only shop with your credit card on secure, authenticated sites
- Keep an eye on your credit card bill and report fraudulent behaviour
- Contact your bank to have your card cancelled if it is lost or stolen
- Keep a close eye on your credit card when using it in public
- Shred and properly dispose of credit card bills and credit card application documents containing sensitive financial information
Paying your credit card bills
When your credit card bill arrives, you should aim to pay it right away. Don’t put it off or better still – make sure you don’t forget to pay by setting up a standing order so that the money goes from your bank account towards your credit card bill automatically. You should also make sure that you do your best to pay off the full balance each month, or you could end up paying a small fortune in interest.
Other credit card tips
Some of the other things you need to know to manage your credit card account sensibly include the following:
- Avoid withdrawing cash using your credit card – you may be charged service fees and higher interest rates
- If you’re in debt on your credit card, stop using it and contact the provider to let them know of your situation. Don’t suffer in silence – the problem will only get worse if you do nothing.