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How to best manage your Credit Cards?
A credit card is a useful tool, when managed judiciously but a lurking danger if you mismanage it. One of the first things you need to keep in mind is read the term and conditions when you apply for a credit card. It could be a laborious process but something that has to be dealt with, to protect yourself from any rude surprises that might be in store for you in times like this.
You may hear stories of money being taken from the savings account of a person who has a credit card with that particular bank! Well, banks are allowed to do so, when a default occurs, the clause is covered in the terms and conditions. Banks also have an auto debit facility to claim a minimum payment on credit borrowed, if in case your account does not have enough funds, banks are allowed to levy a fine, which could be ridiculous amount that is nearly half the amount you borrowed! For eg: It’s not funny when a fine of AED 200 is charged for an AED 500 credit borrowed!
Credit cards can be useful when you make a profit out of it! Now, how is that possible? Well, it all depends on the kind of card you purchase, its best to opt for a lifetime free credit card that does not have an annual fee attached. Also get a card that matches your lifestyle. If you shop a lot, see that your card offers a lot of discounts and cash back rewards for the all the shopping you do with a card. If your job allows you to make frequent trips, get a card that gives you several travel friendly schemes on eating out, hotel stays and airline ticket discounts.
Though the whole point of having a credit card is to provide you with cashless convenience, it makes money sense to decide, when, how and why you should use it. Never get tangled in the web of debt, especially when it comes to credit cards. Though it’s an ideal resource to tap into, when you need to ramp up funds quickly, the interest rates charged on a credit card are much higher than even those charged on personal loans. Remember that cash withdrawals from an ATM with your credit card will be charged a processing fee of around 2% and an even higher rate of interest than your regular purchases on the card.
Most credit cards do offer an EMI facility to pay any loan you take on your credit limit. It normally takes just one or two business days to obtain this loan and this can even be arranged over the phone with no documentation. However, the difference lies in the high interest rate charged, which can be as high as 25-42% as an annualised rate. The cards that offer a comparatively lower interest rate in the range of 22-26% most often do not have an EMI facility for repayments.
Though credit cards seem like a good bet for short term fund requirements refrain from using it, unless you can make the credit card usage count for some kind of benefit. Using your credit card purchases for an interest free period is fine, however remember the bank can do away with interest free periods anytime it chooses to and also hike the interest rates, according to its free will. Hence, be wary of a credit card and use it sensibly.