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A credit card can be a valuable tool to pay for things, although this can come at a cost. Dodge costly fees and interest by knowing ways to use your credit card to your advantage.

Stay in control

It’s important to stay in control as you might rack up more debt on your card than you can afford to repay before you know it.

The best way to do this is to keep track of your spending. Check your credit card statement regularly.

Check your credit card statement

Keeping your monthly credit card receipts is the best way to check your statement. This will help you check that you have been charged the right amount for the things you bought and also those you did not buy.

Look for these things when you check your credit card statement:

  • unusual or large charges
  • charges by companies you do not recognise
  • duplicate charges
  • changes in direct debit amounts

Contact your credit card provider immediately if there are any transactions you didn’t make. They may be able to reverse the transaction.

Pay your credit card on time

When checking your credit card statement, don’t forget the due date of payment. Make sure to pay on time to avoid late payment fees or extra interest charges.

You can set up a direct debit to pay a fixed amount off the balance owing each payday. Make sure these payments cover at least the minimum monthly payment due on the card.

Maximise your credit card repayments

You’ll pay a lot of interest if you only make the minimum repayments on your card each month. It could take years to pay off your credit card debt.

Switch to a card with a lower interest rate if you’re struggling to pay more than the minimum monthly repayment. Pay off more when you can. Make sure to close the old card to avoid more debt.

Set or reduce your credit limit

The credit limit you set should be an amount you can afford — one that won’t tempt you to spend more than you should.

You can also ask your credit provider to reduce your credit limit. You can call, visit a branch, or do it yourself online.

Don’t use credit when you run low on cash

If you’re running low on cash or an unexpected emergency happens, using credit won’t work in the long run. You might get through the immediate crisis but, over time, end up with even more debt.

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