The dollarydo’s and don’ts of credit cards

When most people decide to get a new credit card, it’s with the best of intentions. You’ll often hear the words “emergencies only” while signing up, but sometimes this is followed months later by “there’s a sale on flights to Europe!”

It’s always a good idea to know your intentions when using your credit card. You should have a plan for how you want to use it, and things you want to avoid. To help, here are a few common do’s and don’ts to look out for to best control the ‘want’ versus the ‘need’ spending.

Dollarydo

Recurring monthly payments – Monthly memberships, subscriptions and bills are a way of life these days. Whether it’s your gym membership, public transport top-up (Opal card, Go card or Myki card) or your mobile phone bill, using your credit card enables you to keep track of these expenses. By setting up automatic payments with your credit card, you’ll generally pay on time, every time.

Pay more than your minimum – Paying more than the minimum repayment is an ultra-handy way to reduce your balance faster. Orange One has a 10% minimum payment per month, which helps you pay off your balance faster than some cards. This helps build good credit and will save money on interest in the long run.

Payment plans – If you have any large purchases coming up, you can manage these by putting them on your credit card and then pay in instalments over a set period of time. Orange One instalment plans are available for purchases $250 and above. But remember, you can always pay more to clear them off sooner and avoid unnecessary interest.

Pay your debt in full – It’s always best to be ahead of the game when it comes to credit card management. When you can, you should always prioritise paying your credit card bill in full each month. Set up and stick to a clear budget so you’re always prepared.

Dollarydon’t

Cash advances – While getting cash out from your credit card may be necessary in an emergency, you are better off withdrawing cash from your regular account. Cash advances can be expensive and the interest can quickly add up, as you are charged from the moment you withdraw the cash from the ATM. With most credit cards, you’ll incur a fee for withdrawal or account transfers and on top of that, interest on the amount is usually higher than normal and calculated daily from the first day. This will leave you with no grace period and less wiggle room to pay it off.

Don’t expect to ‘max’ your credit card – You’ve probably heard the term ‘maxed’ in regards to credit cards from somewhere and you could take a guess that it’s not a great thing. Maxing your credit limit isn’t something that should be considered an option, and you should check your balance often and always keep an eye on your spending habits through your credit card statement.  Set an alert on your Orange One so you’ll be notified when you’re approaching your limit.

Don’t spend more than you can afford – Having a financial plan is a great way to ensure you never spend more than you can allow. Keep close to your budget so you can always cover your repayments and financial obligations while growing towards your goals.

Don’t be flippant with fraud – Just like you would keep your debit card safe, protect your credit card in the same way. Ensure you know where your card is at all times, never lend it or tell someone your pin, and keep an eye on your balance in case of any suspicious transactions. You can read more about security and how to protect yourself here.

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