Many people misuse credit cards because they seem to forget that they need to pay the money back, often with interest. But, that doesn’t mean credit cards are bad; they can be very beneficial if they are used as tools rather than weapons.

To help make sure credit cards are used effectively, here are some do’s and don’ts that to follow:

DON’T forget to pay the balance. Credit cards are just like loans: they accrue interest. The longer a balance exists, the more money that must be paid. It is also important to never miss credit card deadlines. Companies will charge late fees and neglecting to pay off debt will hurt the credit score.

DO use the credit card as an advantage. As mentioned before, credit cards are tools. Use them that way. If there is enough money in the account to pay off the balance easily, use the credit card. Credit scores rise when money is consistently borrowed and paid off on time.

DON’T pay just the minimum balance. Paying more than the minimum cuts back on the number of times payments need to be made to clear the outstanding balance. A smaller number of payments made to pay off the balance means that less interest has to be paid; therefore, rewards are earned for no extra cost.

DO look at the credit card statement monthly. If there is a mistake, make sure it gets adjusted. If there was a mischarge or there are transactions shown that were not made, report it to the card issuer.

With these tips in mind, anyone can be a credit pro in no time.

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