3 Tips for Using Credit Cards Wisely During the Pandemic - Cinfed Credit Union " "
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Money Matters for Cinfed Members

3 Tips for Using Credit Cards Wisely During the Pandemic

Posted on April 28, 2020
Topic Categories: Consumer Help, Credit Cards

By Milton Jones, Collections and Card Services Director

Credit cards can be a smart financial tool when used wisely. They’re secure, flexible — and may come with perks like rewards or cash back. Credit cards are especially handy and secure when you shop online, which you may be doing more of during stay-at-home orders.

Credit cards offer peace of mind because the Fair Credit Billing Act protects you against fraudulent charges or credit card accounts that have been falsely opened in your name. It also helps protect you if there are billing errors, duplicate charges or other mistakes. You have little to no responsibility for fraudulent charges and more time to report errors compared to debit cards.


1.

Carefully manage your credit limit

If you have a good payment history, you might earn a higher credit limit. Just because you can charge more, doesn’t mean you should. Credit card debt can create big financial problems if your spending spirals. Be careful about what you charge. Credit cards are a great way to cover short-term costs or certain emergencies. Avoid using them for impulse buys.


2.

Use digital tools to stay on track

Take advantage of digital and mobile tools to manage your credit cards. These tools can help you:

  • Keep track of your charges so you can stay within your budget
  • Check for any fraud or errors
  • Make sure you pay your bill on time

3.

Know your interest rates, transfer fees and benefits

If you have a high credit score, you may be able to find a lower interest rate (called the APR*) on a credit card. It’s a good idea to review your credit score and current credit card interest rates once or twice each year to see if you might be able to shop for a better credit card.

Sometimes credit cards offer 0% interest on balance transfers. This can be a great way to reduce credit card debt but read the fine print. They might charge a fee or interest on the amount of debt you’re transferring or have a big jump in the interest rate after a period of time. Compare any transfer costs with your current rates to see if moving the debt can save you money in the long run.

Are the rewards worth it? There are some attractive rewards and cash back programs available with different credit cards. Again, it pays to read the fine print. If you have to charge a large sum upfront to earn rewards, it might not be a smart move. You could incur more debt than the reward is worth. If you earn points, rewards or cash back with purchases as you go, this may be a smart move.

Learn more about credit cards and how to compare credit card offers.


Did your finances take a hit? Call us before you charge.

Credit cards are a quick, convenient way to take care of expenses. But if this pandemic has affected your income, you may have other options. Please call your neighborhood Cinfed branch to talk about your situation and which solution might be better for you than risking more credit card debt.


*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Balance transfers are subject to the terms and conditions disclosed in the agreement governing your credit card account (“Credit Card Agreement”). Subject to conditions and credit approval.





CONTACT CINFED

Cinfed Credit Union
4801 Kennedy Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 333-3800
Routing #242076656

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