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Best Practices for Using a Credit Card

When it comes to using a credit card, there are a few things to consider. If you’re new to credit cards, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the details you need to know. Once you’ve established a routine with your card use, you’ll see all of the ways a credit card can help set you up for financial success. To get you going, here are a few of the best practices for using a credit card. 

Credit card transaction.

A Credit Card Does Not Equal Debt

Credit cards get a bad reputation, but they can be a key financial tool if used responsibly. Think about it: if you use a credit card for basic purchases you’d make anyway, and you pay it off each month while taking advantage of rewards, you’re not truly in debt. Spend money you have, pay it off right away and use a credit card for its advantages.


Credit Cards Can Help You Build Credit

Pro tip: don’t utilize over 40% of the card balance, and keep paying at least the minimum payment for four to six months. Sure, if you carry a balance and don’t pay your bill in full, you will pay interest. But you will gain credit experience and build your credit score

Don’t feel discouraged if you’re just starting out and can’t get approved for a credit card on your own yet. Becoming an authorized signer on a parent or sibling’s card can allow you to start building your credit. This option is best for young adults building credit.


man using his credit card to pay for groceries


Earn Perks for Basic Spending

Use your card to purchase everyday items such as gas and groceries, but only spend what you have budgeted for from your checking or savings account. You don’t want to carry a balance, so pay off what you spend right away. Through regular spending, you’ll earn perks like flight miles and cash back to help you meet your goals and have fun without spending a bundle. 


Understand Your Boundaries 

Credit cards are pretty easy to get, and they’re easy to use too. If you haven’t mastered budgeting yet, don’t get a credit card. They should be used for protection, emergencies, or rewards—not spending money that you don’t have.


Take Advantage of Protections 

Credit cards can give you a big helping hand against unauthorized transactions. Credit card companies usually help with disputes for fraudulent activity. That way, you’re not risking cash, checks, or money from a debit card that can be tricky to recover.


Travel With Your Card

A credit card allows you to leave cash at home, protecting you from hazards like pickpockets. Plus, it gives you another secured option for travel purchases. And before you even leave on your trip, you can use your monthly expenses to help get you in the air as you earn perks like travel rewards. 


Embrace Increased Purchasing Power

Most cards have a grace period on purchases, allowing you to avoid overdraft charges on a checking or savings account. When used responsibly, credit cards are a convenient way to make an unplanned purchase or expense. Life happens, and having another cushion to help you in an emergency can be a big weight off your mind. 


woman using her credit card to pay for a purchase on her phone


Know the Fine Print

Be leery of teaser or short-term rates, and know what the grace period is to avoid high rates or balances. Most reward cards have annual fees. Be sure you can afford to pay off the fee, and crunch the numbers to see if the advantage of the reward is worth the extra cost. 


Apply for an RMCU Visa Platinum Rewards Card

Make your money work harder for you with the VISA Platinum Rewards Card from RMCU. You can use the rewards for travel, cash back, or gift cards (your choice). But there’s no rush to choose, since rewards never expire. There’s no wondering what you’re getting, since you earn one reward for every dollar spent. And when you’re ready to redeem, the rewards site is convenient to use and cash in.

In a digital world, the RMCU Visa integrates easily with technology. You have the convenience of tracking purchases with the RMCU mobile app, and fraud protection is built in. Transfer money from checking or savings to pay off the card right away on all purchases. You also can control spending limits, merchants, and spending locations and set up spending alerts from the mobile app. Connect it to Apple, Google, or Samsung pay to pay straight from your phone.

Ready to dive in? Apply easily online. 

Non RMCU links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Rocky Mountain Credit Union of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. RMCU bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external sites.

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