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Credit Cards: How to Make the Most Of Your Card? Follow These 7 Hidden Tips for Effective Usage

Discover how to handle credit cards wisely by using these 7 little-known tricks.

Credit Cards: One notable development in India is the credit card industry’s notable expansion. Reaching the 100 million card mark would be a noteworthy achievement, demonstrating the increasing acceptance and importance of credit in the Indian economy. The acceleration of growth can be attributed to multiple factors, including increased disposable income, more digital adoption, expanding product offerings, and a committed focus on financial inclusion.

The Trap of Alluring Perks

A strong “swipe now, think later” mentality can certainly be ingrained in the brains of many credit cards by the combination of attractive benefits and several layers of protection. It is similar to a trap that has two enticing baits in it. The combination of protection, alluring perks, and our personal spending tendencies can lead to reckless credit card use and significant debt. The following advice will help you use your card responsibly.

Navigating Credit Card Options

It might be difficult to navigate the wide and ever-growing selection of credit card options available in the Indian market. Relying exclusively on referrals from agents, recommendations from friends, or pre-approved offers could lead to lost chances or poor decisions. Making an informed decision definitely requires a thorough comparison. To navigate the world of credit cards with effectiveness, one must employ both tactical application and strategic choices.

Risk of Inaccurate Information

Unfortunately, there are times when credit card salespeople put closing a deal ahead of giving prospective clients all the information they need—particularly when it comes to hidden costs. People can end up making judgements based on inaccurate information as a result, which could put them in difficult financial positions. It’s crucial to use credit cards responsibly and with knowledge to avoid unpleasant surprises and unstated costs. Always carefully read the fine print, since some deals can have additional restrictions for waiving the yearly fee or minimum spending limits.

Never assume that everything is completely free; keep an eye out for any additional costs that might apply when using the card in addition to the annual fee. The amount of all fees, including yearly, late, and foreign transaction fees, builds up over time. If you ignore these costs, you may end up deeply in debt. Keep an eye out for all the costs associated with your credit card and factor them into your spending plan.

Psychological Disconnect in Financial Management

Financial management requires the use of budgeting, but credit cards can be problematic due to the psychological disconnect between what is spent and what is actually paid for. Using a credit card might make it seem like you’re spending “free money,” especially if you focus on the cashback or reward points.

This may cause you to inadvertently go over your budget by failing to recognise the true cost of things. With credit cards, there is no instant financial consequence from spending like there is with cash or debit cards. It is simpler to justify larger purchases made in the moment when the payment comes later.

Setting Spending Limits

It’s a great idea to make use of the functionality that many credit card issuers overlook: setting separate spending limits for local and foreign transactions. To avoid going over budget in any area and to keep your finances in check, match these precise spending limits to your spending patterns and vacation preferences. Lowering your international restrictions will limit the amount of harm that could occur if your card is lost or stolen overseas and will prevent unauthorised purchases before it is deactivated.

High Interest Rates

Credit card debt can ensnare people for a variety of reasons, but two common causes are forgetfulness and financial indiscretion. There are a number of significant and lasting effects of not making credit card payments on time, high interest rates being one of the most significant. Credit card interest does not begin to accrue at the conclusion of the payment cycle; rather, it begins the day after the due date. This suggests that interest will start to accrue on any sum that is not paid right away.

Interest rates on credit cards are notoriously high, usually ranging from 15% to 30% (or maybe higher, depending on the particular card and individual circumstances). As a result, over time, even a small amount that is past due could grow into a much bigger debt. Due to credit card interest’s compounding feature, which frequently happens every day, interest is computed on both the original amount owed and the interest that has accumulated. This accelerates the rate at which your debt grows.

Cash Advances Misconception

It’s a common misconception among credit card users that cash advances work the same way as standard card transactions, but this couldn’t be further from the reality. In contrast to regular purchases, which frequently include a grace period during which interest-free payments are made, cash advances begin charging interest as soon as the money is taken out.

In essence, you are taking out a high-interest loan from the company that issues your credit card. When compared to standard purchases, the annual percentage rate (APR) for cash advances is typically much higher, ranging from 15% to 25% or more. As a result, even a small cash advance may eventually result in significant interest charges building up.

In addition to the high interest rate, there is usually a separate cash advance fee that is based on a percentage of the amount taken out. This additional charge, which can range from 2% to 5%, raises the cost of borrowing money.

Expiration of Reward Points

Take advantage of credit card reward programmes as a great way to save money and reward yourself with pleasures. Reward points expire, so you’re essentially missing out on free money—opportunities to save on purchases, trips, or other alluring perks. Remember that there are sometimes restrictions on when and how points can be used in reward programmes. If you don’t meet validity requirements, you might not be able to get valuable incentives.

Unused points may have been combined to get access to better and more meaningful prizes, like a much-needed trip or a much-coveted device. To keep track of your points and be aware of when they expire, it’s important to regularly check your online statements or use the cardholder app.

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