Credit Card Tips for 2013, Part II

Worried about your credit score this year? Keep these simple credit tips in mind.

Money tips are almost always welcome… but with cash seemingly on the way out, what we really need these days are credit card tips.

In Part I of this article, I warned you about a few things that might not occur to you: falling for “sign-up bonuses” that some rewards cards offer, and the hazards of getting small business credit cards based on your personal credit. Let’s look at a few more tips to remember this year.

Workplace Credit Cards

You may travel a lot for work or make frequent job-related purposes…in which case your company should issue you a company credit card, right? Well, believe it or not, some small to mid-sized businesses prefer for you to apply for your company card in your own name.

Whatever their reasoning, this is apparently legal — but in my mind, not really ethical. While most companies are quick about cutting you a check at the end of the billing cycle (or simply paying the bill directly), what if they’re a tad late? Your credit takes a hit. (I know people this has happened to).

Avoid these arrangements when you can. If you feel you can’t, then be very careful about using the card. Consider it your own, since it is in your name, and be prepared to pay the bills promptly–even if the company hasn’t reimbursed you yet.

Forget Gas and Store Credit Cards

Your J.C. Penney and Texaco credit cards may seem like a good deal, but they only add to a crowded wallet, increase your number of monthly bills, and encourage you to spend.

Plus, every one you acquire damages your credit rating just a bit, because it a) lowers the average age of your credit history; and b) adds an inquiry to your credit report. And that’s not even taking into account the high interest rates most such cards charge. Read the fine print before you sign up!

Take It Easy

We all occasionally fail to keep our wits about us in the heat of the moment, and this can happen when you whip out the plastic to make a purchase at the mall as easily as anywhere. But before you go too far, remind yourself of a few things: first of all, the state of your credit rating. (You do know it, right?).

When it comes time to pay the bills, make sure you pay more than the minimum every month, and do so immediately, so you can get out of debt faster and boost your credit score. Don’t be late, otherwise you’ll damage your credit rating again. Finally, don’t max out your cards!

Remember these simple credit tips, and you’ll do just fine this year.