Using a credit card responsibly is an excellent way to boost your credit score, build your credit history, track spending, even take advantage of cash-back and other reward programs. However, if you are unable to pay your bill off every month the high interest rates will cost you.
Here are five times you may want to put the credit card away and opt for another method of payment:
Paying for a BIG expense– Moving to a new city, remodeling your home or going on a vacation are all purchases you will want to save up for ahead of time. Using more than a third of your available credit on a card can have a negative effect on your credit score.
To consolidate credit card debt– If you are trying to consolidate all of your consumer debts into one payment, the best option depends on your credit score, how much debt you have and, most importantly, your ability to pay down the debt. If you cannot reasonably pay off your consumer debt in five years, most experts advise debt reorganization or bankruptcy. If your credit score is average, you can tap into your home equity or take a loan against your retirement account or life insurance policy. However, the consequences of defaulting on these loans come with severe penalties.
To fund emergencies– In an emergency situation, a credit card should be your last resort. If you do not have an emergency fund, start one today. Budget to have the money automatically transferred from your checking account into a savings account- even if it is only $50 a month. This can add up over a year.
To pay for your wedding– Do not start your married life in debt. Taking out a personal loan to help pay for a portion of the wedding expenses is a smarter option because these come with fixed interest rates, making it easier for the payments to be factored into your monthly budget. Depending on your credit, these can come with lower interest rates and allow you to pay overtime.
To pay your taxes– Avoid using a credit card to pay your taxes. It is better to take from savings or utilize the IRS installment plan option to avoid paying a fee on top of your tax bill. Vendors that the IRS authorizes to accept card payments charge a convenience fee of 1.87% to 2.25% of the amount you owe. E-filing software companies charge even higher rates for credit card payments.
If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.