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Top 8 things millennials need to know about their credit cards

September 18, 2015
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So what exactly are the top 8 things millennials need to know about their credit cards? I admit I didn’t fully understand everything about credit cards before I started using them, but I really wish I did.

Credit cards can be dangerous, kind of like that guy/ girl that you can’t seem to let go of.

Dear Chase,

How did I find myself here? At first I was happy with one, but then that wasn’t enough. I had to have another one to satisfy my spending habits.  You and I went everywhere together, Chase.  Kind of like the modern day Bonnie and Clyde. You would ride for me when I didn’t have money; you were there to provide for me.   But you and I both know that I wasn’t happy, and that I needed something different and new.  That’s when I found Discover. Please don’t look at me like that; I can’t stand to see your plastic eyes look at me with such disgust any longer, which is why I’ve decided to leave the both of you.  That’s right, I’m leaving!  I vowed to never give a moment’s time to a credit card that has treated me badly. And that’s why I’m paying you off, and I’m not looking back.

How credit cards work

“It’s not free money. Every time you charge something, you’re borrowing money until you pay it back later—either that month or over a period of months. If you choose to pay the money back over time, the credit card company adds interest to your account that you must pay along with the purchase amount.” – CitiCards.com

Credit cards can be great and don’t have to end like a bad break up if you’re disciplined enough to work the system.

If you’re able to pay your credit card balance off in full each month and take advantage of the rewards you’re winning. The credit card companies don’t want you to win though because they make their money through interest rates. When someone doesn’t pay their full credit card balance each month they get charged with an interest fee. The longer you’re not able to pay off your credit card, the more interest you will have to pay back. This is how many people fall into the debt trap.

Don’t fall into the debt trap:

If you start to fall behind on payments the interest will start to pile up.  What started off as a $600 Christmas shopping spree could turn into a whole lot more, especially if you are only paying the minimum balance each month.  If you are in high school, please don’t even think about a credit card, and in college, only if it’s absolutely necessary.  I know you may have friends who are living these extravagant lifestyles, always traveling the world and eating at nice restaurants, but they may just be swimming in debt.  Don’t get caught up in the hype.   Be smart; if you don’t have the money to buy something, save for it.

Can you use a credit card to build your credit?

You do not need multiple store cards, and multiple credit cards in order to build your credit. In fact having too many cards may have a negative effect on your credit score. Your credit limit plays an important part in your credit score as well. Also by making on time payments this shows that you’re responsible. You may be tempted to sign up for a new credit card just to get the free perks and then cancel the card later on, but be careful canceled cards show up on your credit report.

Figure out exactly what you’re looking for before you begin your credit card search

It’s important that when you’re looking for a credit card you know what kind of rewards you are looking for. Your spending habits and income play a huge role when considering a credit card as well. Are you looking to gain points from your everyday transactions? Are you looking for flight miles? Are you looking for cash back? etc.

Plan Ahead, and make room for adjustments

 

If you’re trying to maximize your reward points and you have a certain time frame to do it make sure that you’re planning ahead for those large purchases. Break down how you will spend the money. Will you pay your groceries with it? Will you use it to pay your cell phone bill? Use it to get your car fixed? Buy furniture? Whatever you decide be sure that at the end of the month you will be able to pay the card balance off in FULL.

 

Additional fees to be award of:

Missing a payment
Yearly fee
Cash withdrawal
Balance transfers

Free Credit Card Tracker workbook

If you haven’t been able to pay your credit card balance in full each month I’ve created this free workbook to help you get out of debt!  I know that tackling credit card debt can be hard, but don’t beat yourself up about it. All you can do now is pay it off and not make the same mistakes next time. Download your free workbook here.

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