Whipping out a credit card makes shopping a lot easier and spending a lot faster and convenient. Before you know it you’ve swiped yourself out of your credit limit and are facing a forced “shopping free” period in your life – not to mention paying huge amounts of interests and trying to juggle your expenses. Here are some tips on how you can avoid over spending on your card and improve bad credit.
- Use only one card for online shopping
Online shopping saves a lot of hassle and shoe wear, especially during holiday seasons. The downside is that if your card number gets stolen you will find yourself in the “bad credit” zone without the new purchases to balance it out. If you have more than one credit card use only one of them for online shopping. In case it gets stolen you will only have to deactivate that one card instead of running after numerous card companies.
- Secure your online payment
Make sure that the sites you are shopping on are secure. Check the URL, it should have https instead of http. Companies like VeriSign authenticate safe online shopping sites making it easier for you to perform a secure online transaction. Payment processors like PayPal and Google Checkout are other ways to keep your number from being accessible by multiple websites.
- Lighten your wallet
If you like to troll the streets instead of shopping online keep yourself away from bad credit by emptying your wallet before you take off. Take only 1 or 2 credit cards, stow away the cash, and most importantly leave your debit card at home! This will force you to stay within the limits you have set for yourself for the shopping trip. Also, be careful with the credit card when checking out. Try not to hurriedly put it in the back pocket where it can easily get stolen and keep an eye out for prying eyes. Taking pictures of credit cards and using the numbers for online transactions are a very common hack these days.
- Use card company facilities/report wisely
Most card companies offer alert services and reports that can help keep your credit in check. For example, you can get a text message or email when the available balance in your credit card reaches a certain minimum limit threshold of 30% or so. This is your cue to stop spending! You can use these to find out where you are spending the largest chunk of your budget and the information can help you make informed decisions about your spending priorities.
- Manage your payments
Paying the minimum amount only for credit cards leaves you in a worse place than before as far as credit history is concerned. Moreover, banks send a monthly report to credit bureaus on your account. This report is what affects your credit history. Even if you are making payments before deadlines, the bank may send the report before your payment is credited. One way to counter this is to make payments in the middle of the cycle instead of towards the end. If your payment deadline is at the end of the month when you’re low on cash, call your card company and have them move the date as per your convenience so that you never miss out on a payment.