The country is facing an unprecedented health crisis on its hand and as you try to manage your finances, it would be useful to look at credit card tips for better credit use. At this time, there is a good chance that you will be relying heavily on your card as you try to navigate your way through this health pandemic.
There are a lot of people who are storming groceries and stocking up on supplies they need due to fear of supplies running out. There are businesses as well which are severely affected by the pandemic causing some to low profits at best or closing for a few days to weeks at worst. This is because customers are not there and employees could also be on lockdown.
If you work for such companies, you could be walking on a tight financial rope at the moment. This is one of the main reasons why credit card tips will come in handy. One reason is that you might not have enough in your emergency fund to help you with unexpected expenses. You could be caught off-guard with the health crisis that you did not have enough time to strengthen your reserve fund.
This is one of the reasons why you need to work on your emergency fund over a long period of time. It is a fund that you wish you never have to use but you prepare for it as if it is happening soon. If you were not able to save as much as you need, you will start to rely on your credit cards to make ends meet. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you choose to do that.
Reach out to your lenders
One of the most overlooked credit card tips you can seriously look into at this point is calling your lender directly. You might be apprehensive since calling your lender usually means there is a problem with the account. The few instances you have been in touch with them could be about a payment posting problem or a concern you have about purchases you have made
During these trying times and in the face of a health pandemic affecting not only thousands of Americans but countries all over the world, try giving your lender a call. You can also check online if they have made announcements regarding credit card payments. This is because some of them might be working on a skeletal force in the middle of the health crisis.
You might be surprised that Citi has waived monthly service fees for retail bank customers and even increased credit line and gave collection forbearance programs. All these to help their clients in times of need. Even Apple cardholders are allowed to skip their March payments without incurring interest charges. This idea is to reach out or look at their announcements to get so financial leeway with your payments.
Ask for a credit limit increase
If you find yourself strapped for funds, one of the credit card tips you can look into is asking your lender for a credit limit increase. This is helpful if you are nearing your credit limit already with all the purchases you are making. You have to remember that during these times, you need to limit yourself in using your credit card to buy only the essentials you need at home.
If you are granted a credit limit increase, this is not the time to buy the things you want. You need to reserve the use of your cards for only the things you need. That new smartphone can wait and even those new shoes will not go away. Focus on the important items you need such as food and medicine for the family.
If you are using your card and you asked for a credit limit increase because you are running short on cash, it would be advisable to pay even the minimum amount at month’s end. This is if your lender does not have any program to help you roll over your balance to the next month without penalty. Minimum payments can help you stay current on your account. This is better than not paying your card at ll.
Use your points or rewards to the fullest
You often hear people talking and raving about their credit card points or rewards they have accumulated over a period of time. This is one of the credit card tips you need to start exploring. This is the perfect time to cash in on your rewards and points if you can use it to your advantage. It can give you an advantage and you can save money as well.
If you have a credit card that gives you cash back when you purchase food, then use that to your advantage. This can amount to savings in the end which will be a big help during these times. Your card could also offer you other types of rewards. The idea is to use those to your advantage to get discounts or cashback on your purchases.
What not to do
Part of the credit card tips you have to look out for is how not to use your card during these times. Here are some of them you need to know about.
Do not fall behind on your payments
As mentioned earlier, there are some companies that are doing their best to help customers. They are giving allowances on late payments and even credit limit increases to cardholders. However, it is still a goal to make sure you are making on-time payments. If your lender is not one of those companies giving some leeway with the payments, you could be looking at huge fees and fines at the end of the month.
Get caught up shopping online with the lockdown
If you are at home and start to get bored, you might find yourself starting to browse shopping sites online. Sooner or later, you begin marking favorites on your gadget. The next thing is that you are already checking out the items and using your credit card to pay for them. All of these can happen once you start to get bored at home.
One thing you can do is to take on small projects around the house. It can be as simple as cleaning the garage, fixing a broken light bulb, or performing periodic maintenance on your car. There will be a number of things you can do at home. The idea is to stay busy and productive to take your mind of unnecessary spending.
Be careless in using your card
You will be using your card more often to buy the things you need at home and you should not be careless with it. It is possible that you have a lot on your mind that you do not take the necessary precautions to make sure you are transacting securely. You are not covering your PIN number when you put it in or simply leave your card just about anywhere.
Thieves rarely take a holiday and you should always make it a point to practice safety when using your credit card. Cover your hand when putting in your PIN at the counter or simply discarding your printed statements properly. You could need to be extra careful what you click online as scammers might fool you into putting in your personal details thinking it is your bank that is asking for it.
There are a number of credit card tips you can look into during these trying times when everyone is focused on the health pandemic. You need to ensure that your finances are running smoothly because it will be a big component of how you get through this unexpected emergency.