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Please Swipe With Care

In this day and age of expediency, nobody wants to be that person holding up the grocery line with a pesky check. But according to this Yahoo! article, there are times – 15 to be exact – when you shouldn’t swipe your credit card.

There’s no need to rattle off the entire list, but there’s a clear theme throughout: It’s difficult to make well-planned financial decisions on the fly. There are a lot of upshots to credit card use that you, the credit card holder, need to anticipate before you buy. They have your best interest at heart, and they can be necessary when you make big purchases (with big rewards): spend 2 minutes at the register and you’ll learn a lot more.And the two minutes you’re at the register just isn’t enough time to be a savvy financial planner. For example:

“We always recommend paying a purchase off in no more than three months. Without a game plan, you’re playing credit card roulette. That’s when people get into trouble,” says Kathy Virgallito, a regional director for Apprisen Financial advocates.

Not only are credit cards convenient, but they’re also a great way to account for your finances ... if you swipe with care. For an overwhelming amount of people, a credit card is just a vehicle for procrastination. They have an “I’ll-worry-about-it-later” attitude with little regard for the hole they’re digging for themselves. With a little TLC, a credit card can become your best friend, especially during those big buys.

The whole list at Yahoo! is enlightening (even if some are no-brainers), but there’s one number that shines a little brighter than the rest on the list:

#4. If you get a notice that your rate will go “way” up: “That’s basically a notice that you should stop using your card,” says Lauren Bowne, a staff attorney with Consumers Union. Although the Credit CARD Act of 2009 says that credit card companies have to give you 45 days’ notice before your rate goes up, there’s a quirk in the law. The new rate actually applies to purchases starting on the 14th day after you get the notice. This is the time to negotiate with your credit card company, switch to a different company with a lower interest rate or put yourself on a credit fast.

Don’t let your finances wander away from your comfort zone. Do your research; plan, plan, plan. It takes a little longer than a swipe, but it will save you a fortune and a lot of stress. And that’s what we all want.

Remember that you can talk, in person, with your local community bank or credit union provider about your credit card options. We’re here to help.

Tags: Credit Cards