Owning credit cards is something of a relief for most as this means that customers can purchase whatever they desire and not worry about paying for it immediately (this also comes with its set of regulations and barriers, however). But availing credit cards is the easy part, the hard part for customers is ensuring that they pay their bills on time as not doing so can result in credit card debts and subsequently an unfavourable credit card record and score that is a hindrance to their financial history.
Credit card holders need not fret however, as these debts can be avoided through judicious use of their card and also a shrewd management system of card bills and thus maintaining their financial harmony. Especially in times of financial uncertainty, it is essential for customers to ensure that they maintain stability in terms of their finances.
Accumulation of credit card debts
Credit card debts can start accumulating due to various factors. And almost all of these are preventable. Some of the most common ways in which customers acquire credit card debts are by the following -
- By not paying their bills on time or just paying the minimum amount. Although customers have the option of just paying minimum amount due on their cards, doing so all the time can result in their accumulating debts in the long run.
- By purchasing items that the customer cannot afford is another way through which debts are accumulated at the end of the month as the customer will not be able to pay for those purchases on the due date.
- Paying credit card bills post due date is another reason why individuals have credit card debts. Credit card companies charge a penalty for each day that the payment is delayed for.
- By purchasing cards that are not suitable for customers in the long run. Although certain credit cards may come with fantastic features, they may not be advantageous to the customer’s financial position due to a high interest rate or annual fee, unnecessary benefits and so on.
Avoiding credit card debt
Avoiding credit card debts is not rocket science, by practicing a few good spending habits and ensuring sound financial judgement, this can be ensured. The pointers given below will provide further insights.
- Understanding the purpose of credit cards is the first step. Customers must understand that, although credit cards come with a lot of benefits and added balance, paying them off is a must and they must also know that essentially it is a loan that customers take from the credit card company. Therefore, customers must ensure that their bills are paid off in time.
- Individuals must also know the actual debt amount (if) that they have accumulated. This is necessary because sometimes the amount of debt customers assume they have is different from the amount of debt they actually have. By knowing the amount they owe as debt, they can plan their spends accordingly.
- Planning their debt repayment is their next step. They need to set goals in terms of their repayment and prioritise the same, in terms of high to low interest rates and so on.
- Avoiding cash advances and balance transfers is the next step. Customers should not take advantage of these features just for the sake of it as they can result in additional interest rates being charged, and this is especially true in cases of cash advances. Customers must opt for these options only if it is advantageous for them, for example if transferring all their balance to a particular card can result in a lower interest rate then they can do so, else it is best avoided.
- Customers must avoid using multiple credit cards. Multiple credit cards come with a higher balance amount but also results in more bill payments and a higher likelihood of debts.
- Cash must be an individual’s best friend. it is observed generally that customers are a lot more careful with their purchase and are not as likely to spend more if they are paying for their purchases by cash as compared to those using cards. Hence customers should avoid using credit cards as much as possible and pay for their purchases through cash.
- Finally, planning their monthly budget is the most effective way by which customers can manage their debts. Indiscriminate spending and impulsive shopping must be stopped and a financial plan must be in place. After doing so, customers must also ensure that they track their progress and ensure that they don’t fall behind in their purchases and payments.
Credit card debts are one of the most common problems faced by those owning these cards. There are various reasons for this accumulation, but with the right kind of planning and perseverance, these debts can be reversed or even avoided altogether.