Insights

Plastic Money – Use It Wisely

July 11, 2014 . FundsIndia Desk

This article is a contribution towards our financial literacy series. It has been written by a specialist in credit and debt counseling – Satish Mehta, Founder and Director of www.credexpert.in.

credit-cards_2007247bCredit cards, or plastic money, are a substitute for money and a convenient option at that. They make life easier, but with a caveat – “Do you use your credit card or does your credit card use you?” Here are some steps which would ensure that you use your credit card rather than the other way around.

Read the Card Holder Agreement

Do not sign on that dotted line unless you read the credit card’s terms and conditions, features and penalties. This would ensure that you do not discover any surprise fees at a later stage.

Use Cash or Debit Cards

Reach for your cash or Debit Card for day-to-day purchases. Using credit cards for regular purchases will increase your dependency on the card and you might end up over borrowing.

Avoid Impulsive Purchases

Do not use your credit card to live beyond your means. It can impact your budget, divert you from your goals and also potentially result in a debt trap for you.

Know Your Payment Due Dates

Keep track of your credit card due dates. Missing the payment due date could cost you interest and most importantly, it may show up as late payments on your Credit Report.

Never Carry a Balance

Credit cards come with high interest rates of 35-40% p.a. If you are making minimum payments, then you would not only end up taking more time to pay off the debt completely, but you may also pay much more than borrowed.

Do Not Use Your Credit Card for Cash Advances

It is the most costly way of getting cash! Cash advances do not allow for a grace period and this could be the first step towards a debt trap.

Here is an easy and quick way to find out if your credit card has been using you. If your answer to any one of these questions is ‘Yes,’ then your credit card is taking control over you.

• Are you cash stretched?
• Are you making minimum payments?
• Are you over dependent on your credit card?

Answer them and find out for yourself!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Satish Mehta is the Founder and Director of www.credexpert.in – a credit and debt counselling company that provides end to end customized counselling to individuals by handholding them through their credit life cycle.

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