Savvy credit card management tips for the New Year
If you have credit card debt, you’re probably welcoming 2011 as a chance to start anew with your finances.
Use these tips to stay on track throughout the new year:
· Tally up all of your credit card balances. Make a note of each card’s balance, annual percentage rate, due date & minimum payment.
· Beware of any introductory rates that may expire, and find out what the new interest rate will be … and when it will kick in.
· Note the monthly finance charges for each card. Add together each of those monthly finance charges to see how much carrying credit card debt costs you each month. This shocking sum will encourage you to take action.
· Commit to a pay down strategy: Increase credit card payments on the card with the highest balance to give the biggest boost to your bottom line, or increase payments on the card with the lowest balance, to boost your momentum by quickly paying off one card.
· You may also want to start by paying off the balance with highest APR first. Then focus your payments on the card with the next highest interest rate and so on.
· Monitor your credit card accounts carefully. Changes to a credit card account shouldn’t take you by surprise. According to the CARD Act, credit card issuers must provide notice of certain changes to your credit card accout 45 days before they take effect. (Changes include increasing your minimum payment & rate increases on future transactions once you’ve had a new credit card open for a year, for example.)
· Monitor your credit lines. Credit card issuers can lower your credit limit without 45 days’ advance notice.
Happy debt-slashing New Year!