ACCC provides consumers with six tips on how to properly use credit cards to build or rebuild credit
Boston, MA – August 14, 2019
Credit cards are an essential financial tool if used responsibly. When used properly, credit cards help consumers build credit, which can help them secure lower rates on loans for big purchases, such as a house or car. When misused, consumers find themselves deep in debt and considered a high risk by creditors. To help, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) explains six tips for using a credit card correctly.
“Whether you’re just starting and trying to build credit or you hit a bump in the road and are trying to rebuild your credit, it is important to know how to use credit properly,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. By practicing good habits, such as paying your bill in full each month and keeping purchases low, you can enjoy the benefits of a credit card rather than falling victim to it.”
According to WalletHub’s most recent credit card debt study, the total outstanding credit card debt in the US is $1.034 trillion. The average American household holds $8,788 in credit card debt. Of those with debt, 41 percent say they will be able to pay it off in less than a year, followed by 26 percent in one to two years, 24 percent in more than two years and nine percent who are unsure when they will be able to pay it off.
ACCC Explains six credit cards tips consumers should follow.
- Timely Payments Every Month – Consumers who pay credit cards on time can avoid late fees and damage to their credit scores. It is also important to pay these bills in full, as interest rate charges can add up quickly.
- Track Spending – Consumers who track spending are more likely to stick to their budget while also keeping an eye on possible fraud.
- Try to Keep Purchases Low – It is suggested that consumers spend 30 percent or less of their credit card limit at any given time.
- Use Rewards Cards – Consumers should consider getting a rewards credit card so they can get cash back on everyday purchases, such as going to the grocery store or putting gas in the car. Some rewards cards can earn consumers thousands of dollars in cash back or travel points. Though there are advantages of rewards, don’t get fooled into thinking rewards are worth over utilization. If you can’t pay off your charges monthly, then those rewards can add up to the interest you are paying on an outstanding balance.
- Advance Warning Before Travel – Using a credit card in a new location is a huge red flag for fraud. Consumers who give notice to their bank before travel avoid declined transactions and a call to the issuer.
- Be Disciplined – It is important for consumers to tell themselves “no” when they want to make a purchase with their credit card that they can’t actually afford. Consumers should start with one credit card at first so they can learn how to manage their payments.
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit https://www.consumercredit.com/debt-resources-tools/