Today, the number of people that are in debt is alarming. A quick peek into all the people that are in debt might reveal to you about how complicated it can be to remain on credit if you have not planned it in the right way. In fact, credit cards are considered one of the main reasons why people are in deep debt. If you are careful with your credit cards, you wouldn’t really have to be worried about the problem of debt. Listed below are some common ways in which you might be caught in the debt trap.
Making minimum payments
One of the oldest ways of getting into trouble would probably have to be by making the absolute minimum payments for each payment period. In doing so, you might end up pushing your debt to a larger figure, eventually realizing that it is next to impossible to be cleared with ease. Many young adults have the habit of making minimum payments, due to which they find getting out of the credit card itself to be a complicated task.
Change this habit right from the beginning and learn to make payments as early as possible. In this way, you wouldn’t have to be worried about accumulating debts, which will accrue interest over time. It is important to look into this and be assured of the fact that you will be able to make the payments as quickly as possible, without having to be worried about some huge bill waiting for you at the end. If you are unable to make payments now, it is quite possible that you will not be able to do so in the near future either. Stop using your card if you are finding it hard to make payments for it currently.
Avoiding the late payments
Credit card traps almost always start off with late payments. Customers sometimes simply forget to make payments, which ends up snowballing into a larger problem. One missed payment is sufficient for your credit card provider to double or even triple your interest rate! Clearly, you don’t want to be paying such an exorbitant rate on your credit card. What is even worse is that you might actually end up paying such large numbers even on your other credit cards.
Things can get more complicated if you avoid payment altogether. Instead of a late payment, you can complicate the problem if it ends up becoming a missed payment. Hence, this is something that you would want to steer clear of, since this will be reflected on your credit records. To the best extent possible, you would want to be on the good side of your credit card provider. Your rates will remain low and you wouldn’t have to be as worried about other credit card lenders boosting their rates because of your forgotten payments.
Variable interest rates
When you are applying for a credit card, you are not going to be particularly concerned about the interest rates that are going to be fluctuating quite a bit. At that time, all that you might be interested would probably be the credit amount that is allowed on your card. You might not be particularly interested in other aspects of the card, which might not seem as significant. However, over time, you will probably learn that one of the things that you would want to be more familiar about is going to be interest rates, especially if you have variable interest rates.
The trick with variable interest rates is that the credit card provider has the absolute power when it comes to deciding the interest rate that a customer will have to pay for the credit card. In this way, they will be able to control the rate and bump it up when you miss payments or unable to make even the minimum payment on one or more occasions. As young adults, this is quite a common scenario. However, your actions here might cause you to never get good interest rates. This is something that can really cause you a lot of problems and probably even make credit cards an expensive option to keep.
Needs and wants
The sooner you learn the difference between need and want, the less trouble you will be in with finances. Many people seem to misunderstand this concept, which is essentially why they tend to have problems later. In fact, a common misunderstanding is that something at a discounted price automatically falls in the need category from the want category. This, as you might have figured out now, is not really how things work out. In fact, it is far from it, and quite different at that.
Credit cards are designed to give you the allusion that you have more money than you actually do. This is where the problem lies. If you look closely, you will notice that you don’t really have as much money to pay back, including the interest rates. Hence, buying something with your credit card today doesn’t mean that you will be able to pay it back after some time. You would ideally want to plan ahead and look closely to be absolutely sure that this is a problem that you can take care of with ease.
Being wise with deals
When you are young, the prospects of getting a credit card that will allow you to spend a thousand or more dollars might seem quite tempting. However, this might not be something that you would ideally want to sign up for, since you will quickly realize as to how hard it can be to pay the money back. Even though you spent the money with relative ease, paying all of it back can be quite tricky and complicated. You might end up regretting about ever having applying for the credit card!
Hence, try to avoid getting into the mess of first applying and then closing the credit card. This is something that you would ideally want to look into because doing so because it is extremely tricky and challenging. In fact, you will soon discover that it is not quite as simple to close a card account compared to how it was to apply for it. Many individuals regret their actions when they were still in college and applied for these cards. Although it might have seemed like a great deal at the time, you will be paying the price for it now, when you are working and trying to make a living.
Imbalance in savings and expenses
One of the common signs that people might tend to observe is that their savings and spending are not quite on target as expected. Due to this problem, it has become quite complicated to pay back the debt that you might have accrued on your credit card. It is not uncommon for individuals to have debt that runs into thousands of dollars before they actually have a proper full time job.
You can avoid all of these problems by just making it a habit to save early. By doing so, you are ensuring that you are able to plan ahead and take care of your expenses while still it is an option. In fact, saving early has a lot of benefits, besides just avoiding the credit trap. The number of advantages of this option is quite impressive enough to understand what exactly it is that you stand to gain from it. You will be in a better position to know clearly about all the things that you stand to gain and why it makes so much of a difference to have a savings account before actually having a credit card account opened.
Fees associated with a credit card are typically not what you might think of them to be. There are several cases when the fees were claimed to be a certain number on paper but ended up being something different altogether. Hence, it is strongly advised that you know about these and the way in which they might vary, just to be clear about how they are applicable to your profile. In very rare cases, are fees waved on the credit card.
If you don’t check carefully, you might be paying a lot more than what you might have signed up for. Many credit card companies claim to be charging a certain rate, but might end up charging significantly more rates since the terms and conditions for these rates might be buried deep inside documentation. Hence, this is the reason why you ought to check the documentation carefully just to be sure that you are aware of what you might be getting into. Fees for cards vary anywhere between $25 to $400, depending on the kind of credit card and services that you have opted for. Don’t be surprised if the cost might even exceed $400!
Automation with care
The convenience of automated payments is truly like none other. However, the number of problems associated with this can be quite worrisome, especially if you are the kind that tends to be absentminded when it comes to money. You would ideally want to be careful with the payments that you have authorized to be made on your card without your permission, since these are approved even if your credit limit has been reached. Clearly, this is something that you would want to avoid.
If you have automatic payments for your credit card balance, then you might want to keep a track of them, just to be on the safer side. After all, you wouldn’t want to simply incur payments because you were not alert with your account. This is something that you would want to take care of early, since excess payments incur additional charges, all of which cumulate into a really large credit bill. Many credit card companies bank on this, and tend to charge additional fees on outstanding balances. In this manner, you might end up in a vicious credit circle and might find it quite hard to get out of it unscathed.
The promise of cash back
One of the other ways in which credit card companies tend to make money is to offer cash back on the credit purchases. In this way, they will be able to justify why you need to swipe the card and use it for purchasing the things that you desire. As you might have figured out, this is a trap too that can get with a lot of money going out of your pocket. In the lure of spending for the sake of getting cash back, you might probably be shelling out a lot of money.
A common number that you might end up discovering in these schemes would be 5%. In many cases, this refers to the maximum amount of cash back that is possible for your particular credit card. The reality might be significantly different and you might probably be getting 5% only if you match all of the terms and conditions laid out by the credit card provider. In most cases, these terms and conditions can be quite unreasonable, which is why you might never really see that much of cash back possible on your purchase.
Credit card traps are essentially as old as the credit card itself. The phrase “Caveat emptor” holds valid here, since it is the buyer that needs to know about what they are getting into. Without knowing properly about the credit card, it is of course not advised to go in and opt for it. Credit cards have managed to ruin some financially sound individuals and couples. Don’t let this happen to you! Take action from an early stage to be familiar with how the card works and what you ought to do in order to be sure that you are not paying more than what you normally would.