Bad credit card advice.
Friends, family, and even people we trust for financial advice dish out some bad advice on how to deal with credit cards.
I suppose it isn’t that surprising since using credit cards properly to build a great credit score isn’t something that gets talked about enough.
There’s a lot of confusion about the best way to use credit cards responsibly.
Today, I want to share with you my top 5 worst credit card advice that I hear people give.
1. Just use debit cards and cash
I used a debit card until I was 18 and old enough to have my own credit card. From then on, I used my credit card (responsibly) for everything. By the time I was 23, I switched my credit card for a premium $120 annual fee travel rewards card. All the points I collected on my first credit card transferred to my new travel rewards card.
Shockingly, I had 50,000 points. Good enough for free flights to anywhere in the world.
Now, had I continued to use cash and debit cards, I would never have accumulated points towards free flights, hotels, vacations, you name it.
I think in the rare circumstance that you are sooo incredibly financially irresponsible that if you own a credit card you’ll max it out uncontrollably, then you shouldn’t have a credit card in this instance. But let’s be honest, very few people are like that.
If you’re a normal person who has a good head on your shoulder, then you should absolutely be using your credit card for every single purchase you can. The points add up. You get free stuff. To the tune of a free flight every year if you spend a normal amount of money.
2. Never increase your credit limit on your credit cards
Increasing your credit limit on your credit cards is amazing for your credit score. It can improve your credit score!
Why? Because a big part of your credit rating depends on how much debt you carry on your credit cards. If you increase your available credit, then you automatically will lower the amount of debt you’re carrying on your cards. Again, this can shoot your credit score up many points.
Call your credit card company every 6 months. Ask for a credit increase. If they can get you more credit, get it. And call again in 6 months and do it again. More available credit does not hurt your credit score in any way. Of course it doesn’t mean you go out and max out your credit cards just because you have room available. You wouldn’t spend all the money in your bank account just cause there was cash there right?
3. Only have one credit card
You will benefit from having several credit cards. In fact, if you have a few credit cards and use them each every month, and pay them all on time and in full, this will help your credit score more because it shows you are responsibly using credit over several cards rather than just one.
You are also building credit history over a few cards rather than just one. In 10+ years, you’ll have several cards with good credit history for a long period of time. This will be excellent for your credit rating.
I recommending using ONE credit card as your main card you use for everything. And have a couple other cards or so that you put one small item on it every month. You can pay these cards off through online banking so it’s quick to deal with.
If you’re in the market for new credit cards, it’s important to apply for ones where you’ll have a high chance of being approved. A credit card selector tool can help improve your success rate. You can try this one here.
4. Only get free credit cards with no annual fees
I meet a lot of people that refuse to pay for credit cards. I get it. But I also don’t get it. I just don’t think they realize the value of reward credit cards. They get too fixated on what it costs for a card when they can get one for free and still collect points.
Premium credit cards comes with annual fees. But with these premium cards come with premium features. For example, my travel rewards card gives me travel insurance and free flights. The points go a long way.
If you spend a normal amount of money, you should really really look into getting a premium rewards card. An annual fee of $120 is quite a lot of money. However, if you get a free flight every year from the points you collect, you really are gaining more value from the card, because as we know, flights cost a lot of money.
5. Use credit cards only for emergency purposes
People who carry credit cards in their wallets as a “backup” in case their debit card malfunctions or run out of cash blow my mind! Again, you want to use credit cards to get those points! Free flights! Free hotels! Or just exchange those points for everyday swag like gift cards and movie tickets.
If anything, have a few credit cards and use the other credit cards as emergency cards when your main one fails. That’s exactly what happened to me when I was traveling to San Francisco, my bank cancelled my card because it had suspicious activity. But I had another credit card (my backup) that I used in the meantime. Guess which card I used to book my hotel with? You guessed it, my backup card. No way I had $500 cash on me.