There is probably only one person in the world that you should ever lie to — yourself. Forcing yourself to believe a small lie can be an effective way to help you make smart decisions. For example, pretending that there’s a police car around every corner might be a great way to avoid speeding tickets.
Likewise, there are some small lies you can tell yourself about credit cards that can help you to use these products more responsibly.
So here are six credit card lies worth believing.
1. Your credit card is actually a charge card.
Credit card users incur costly interest charges when they carry a balance, yet charge card users are required to pay each month’s statement balance in full or face even more costly fees. So while credit card holders can pay less than their total statement balance, they will be better off treating their credit cards as charge cards and paying each month’s statement balance in full. This way, they will avoid paying interest and incurring debt.
2. You can’t have a late fee waived.
Even though some companies advertise that they’ll often forgive a late payment if you miss your due date every once in a while, that’s no reason to think you can always get the late fee waived. Credit card users who pay late risk not just costly late fees, but interest charges and damage to their credit scores. By telling yourself there is no late payment forgiveness, you won’t put your credit scores at risk.
3. Spending more won’t get you more rewards.
Credit card issuers know that their customers are likely to spend more if they are earning rewards. While it is nice for cardholders to receive rewards for buying items they would have normally purchased, they are still wasting money if they make an unnecessary purchase just to earn rewards. Therefore, it can make sense for cardholders to ignore the possibility of earning rewards and instead focus on spending wisely. If you weren’t going to buy it anyways, don’t buy it just so you can get the cash back.
4. You can’t get cash from a credit card.
One of the worst places to use a credit card is at an ATM machine. Most card issuers charge large cash-advance fees and enormous cash-advance interest rates for these transactions, which, unlike standard purchases, are not eligible for an interest-free grace period. Instead, credit card users would do well to eliminate the possibility of cash advances by not even selecting a PIN number and setting their cash advance limit to zero.
5. There is a fraudulent charge buried in your credit card statement.
Credit cards are actually very secure forms of payment, but cardholders must take the time to scrutinize their credit card statements to search for fraudulent charges. In most cases, there won’t be any, but it is still important to look. When customers fail to see these unauthorized charges, they may end up paying for them month after month. Checking your statements carefully as well as keeping tabs on your credit scores can also help you spot identity theft early. (You can get two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, from Credit.com.)
6. Store credit cards are never a good deal.
Since so many retail chains offer their own co-branded credit cards, shoppers are constantly being bombarded with offers to open up new accounts at the check-out counter. While most store credit cards are not very competitive, a shopping trip is not the best time or place to make an important financial decision. Instead, shoppers might want to convince themselves at the store that these cards are not worth the hassle, and then later do the research at home to find out if it is one of the retail credit cards worth having.
More on Credit Cards:
- How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
Image: Wavebreak Media