Credit Card Tips for 2017

The number one rule to using your credit cards wisely is to make paying your bills on time a priority. However, other smart moves such as protecting your identity against fraud and using your credit cards to reap the many rewards all work toward improving your credit score. Although it may seem easier said than done, the following 10 credit card tips will move you in a more positive direction in 2017.

Practice Patience with Chip Rollout Terminals

Good news for credit card users in 2017 is that you won’t have multiple ways to pay for your credit card transaction. To date, less than half of stores selling product are able to process chip based debit and credit cards. This is because the rollout terminals are dramatically slower than what they thought. As a result, customers are relegated to using their cards with the magnetic strip. While chip credit cards offer greater protection against fraud and credit card thieves, you want to practice patience until technology catches up.

Be Cautionary at the Gas Pumps

The EMV switch (chip cards) is expected to help reduce fraud. Unfortunately, this may not be the case when you visit your gas station. The majority of the terminals at the pumps are still set up via swipe mode. If you use your credit card at the gas station, you can protect yourself by using pumps closest to the store. You can also pay via credit card instead of a debit and use the credit machines inside the store. Thieves typically place credit card skimmers on the pumps that are far away.

Be Vigilant in Checking Your Credit Report and Bank Statements

Even if you take the above cautionary steps to avoid risks, you should be just as diligent in preventing fraud. To ensure that there isn’t any suspicious behavior, check your credit report and bank statements regularly. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your credit card company immediately. Credit reporting bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion and Equifax offer free credit reports on an annual basis.

Set Up Alerts

If you easily forget things, you can use your tablet or smartphone to set up alerts. This serves as a reminder to check your credit card for fraudulent activity. The mobile notices will send you a reminder that you're near your credit limit, suspicious activity is detected and your card was used for a large purchase.

Credit Freeze

Thanks to EMV (chip) credit cards, fraud has dramatically decreased in other countries. But fraudulent credit card applications are on the rise. This could also prove worrisome in the U.S. Thieves who have been deterred because of chip cards will now continue their crime spree by stealing personal information and opening accounts with different names. To prevent this problem from occurring, check your credit report often. You could also freeze your credit. This allows credit bureaus to know that you don’t want any other accounts opened using your name.

Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score can have a negative impact on your future finances. Credit card companies and banks make it easy for you to now check your credit card history each month.

Pay Off Cards with the Highest Interest Rate

Now that you’ve taken the necessary precautions to guard against fraud, you need to determine how your credit is used. If you typically carry a balance forward, it’s time to pay down your debt. Pay the cards with the highest interest rates first.

Choose the Best Card

Rewards are good as long as they benefit you. That’s why it’s important to find a card where you can get the most bang for your buck. Cash back cards are typically best. If they have a low interest rate, it’s even better.

Apply for a Rewards Card

With the variety of credit cards available, you want to find one that works for you. Apply for a credit that allows you to receive rewards for using your credit cards. If you’re a new applicant, you can enjoy more perks such as huge bonus points for registering.

Request a Higher Credit Limit

A great way to ensure an excellent credit score is to request a high credit limit. This can reduce your credit utilization.

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