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Credit Cards - Friend Or Foe?
by Greg Smith
At one time or another most all of us apply for and get more credit cards than we need. We feel like we have to be able to purchase almost any type of item at anytime, whether we can really afford it or not. Having several credit cards allows one to
At one time or another most all of us apply for and get more credit cards than we need. We feel like we have to be able to purchase almost any type of item at anytime, whether we can really afford it or not. Having several credit cards allows one to buy products and services at will. Is that a good thing or bad?

There are many companies offering credit cards and loans online, but all may not fit everyone's needs. A credit card is a great financial tool that needs to be used wisely and cautiously. Never allow yourself to get so far behind on your creditcard balance totals that you can only afford to pay the minimum payment amount or small amounts each month towards the reduction of your debt. That is the interest rate trap. Once your cornered on paying minimum amounts, you will most likely be stuck there for years if not for a lifetime.

However, having credit cards can be a positive, productive personal finance tool and does not have to be a negative to your credit status or your lifestyle. A couple of key points:

Convenient to use and carry
Offers valuable consumer protections
Use it with caution and good judgement
Pay off your monthly bill in full each month,
which eliminates interest charges

Having credit cards is a priviledge and huge personal responsibility. You must utilize and manage your credit rating wisely and carefully at all times. The saying ' if you can't afford to pay cash, then you can't afford it ' is a true statement and we should all take heed to its warning. Using creditcards in this manner makes them your friend and not your foe. Having credit cards in your name is not bad just take care not to go into debt for more than can repay. Doing so will only serve to damage your credit rating and it can and will create larger credit problems for yourself into the future that may be difficult or impossible to repair.

When shopping for a new credit card, comparison shopping is important, because it can save you money. Be sure to consider all of the costs and terms of each of the credit offers. These can make a real difference in how much in fees and interest charges you will possibly be paying each month. Be sure to compare these costs with any of your existing financial instruments, cards, loans, mortgages, etc. You may be able to replace some of your current debt with less expensive options. Some of the costs and terms to consider are the annual percentage rate (APR) for goods and services as well as for any cash advances you may request, the annual fee, and the grace period. Also compare other fees, late-payment charges, and over-the-limit spending fees.

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