When one year comes to an end and a new year begins, many people start making goals and reorganizing their lives. At the top of most goal-setter’s new year’s list (right after weight loss that is) is financial rehabilitation. That being said, making the smartest credit card decisions can set you up for a financially responsible and stable year ahead.
Check out our top four credit card tips for 2017!
1. Don’t let reward points go to waste
Did you know credit card rewards can expire? By not using your rewards points before their expiration period, you could be losing out on a ton of perks and a ton of money. A report from 2011 revealed about $16 billion in reward points went unredeemed for the year!
2. Increase your credit limit
If you’ve been holding on to a credit card with a low credit limit for a while, now is the time to negotiate a higher limit. In order to maintain or raise your credit score, you must have a low credit utilization percentage (no more than 30% of your limit). A higher limit will help bring that percentage down. This doesn’t mean you should spend more on this particular card. In fact, if your spending habits change, it should reflect less spending.
3. Pay more than the minimum
Minimum credit card payments, combined with interest, will have you paying off your debt a lot longer than you should be, and you’ll end up paying a lot more than you owe. Make a goal of how soon you want to pay down your limit, and then calculate how much you will need to pay each month to reach your goal. Then commit. Paying down debt takes discipline and strategic planning.
4. Stop missing payments
Carrying a high balance and missing payments is a surefire way to really do damage to your credit score. If you have a history of not paying your card on time, you could also miss opportunities to increase your credit card limit or receive better terms. Showing that you’re a responsible card holder will work out in your favor in the long run.
Let 2017 be your most financially stable year yet. Take control of your credit card spending habits and enjoy all of the perks that come with being a responsible card owner. Happy New Year!