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Having a credit card is almost a must these days. You need them to book a hotel, rent a car or make online purchases. “Having credit cards is smart when used properly, in connection with building a good credit score.” said Christopher Viale, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Viale also warns that “the pitfalls of using credit cards, not just for building your credit profile, naturally come with the temptation to spend too much money.” Obviously, overspending can lead to debt and possible damage to credit scores. Here are five signs that your cards are no longer a credit-building tool or an asset in collecting points and rewards, but an instrument of debt.
- You’re having trouble making the payment: If you’re having trouble making the minimum payment on your cards, that’s a warning sign. Make sure you make the payments on time. Think about using cash to make purchases while paying off credit debt.
- You spend on rewards: The rewards that come with using a credit card are benefits of using the card, but you shouldn’t have to spend to earn the rewards. Remember that the rewards are benefits for purchases you would already make. If you spend too much money to get a perk, it may not prove to be much of a benefit if it hurts your credit or your budget.
- You’re sticking with a substandard product: it’s a red flag to have over your head if you can’t qualify for cards with interest rates below 18-20%. Solid credit scores entitle consumers to competitive terms, so shop around to make sure you’re getting a good rate.
- You have more cards than you need: The more credit you have available, the easier it is to overspend. Put a limit on the number of cards you will have. When you have found a card that better suits you and your expenses, put away the old cards and don’t use them.
- You use your card as a status symbol: Credit companies have developed luxury cards to attract people’s attention with flashy colors or materials. These cards often have high annual fees and often have high credit limits. The thrill of carrying a luxury card can quickly fade if you have bad interest or spend too much money.
If you find yourself constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul, but Peter and Paul still want to get paid, then you probably need to find a way to satisfy them both and get them off of you. Finding an experienced attorney is important when developing a game plan to deal with your credit card debt.
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