Whether applying for your first credit card or thinking of getting one of those gold or platinum cards offered by most banks and other credit card issuers, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind. 

Your credit card behavior is tracked by lenders and reported to national bureaus to create a credit history. Thats why its important for you to develop good habits with credit cards and avoid the bad ones. By using credit, they are actually committing a part of their future income to make payments on the debt. The best way to avoid credit problems is to be disciplined when using them.

Make payments on time.  Be aware of the monthly payment due date and pay in time for your payment to be delivered. Its the day your payment is received that counts - not the postmark date. Give the post office sufficient time (five business days is a good rule of thumb) to deliver your mail. Late payments may mean late fees, higher interest, and/or a negative mark on your credit report. If you missed the due date because of an uncontrollable situation, call your card issuer (VISA, Mastercard, etc) before your mail your payment and ask for extending the due date; it works in many cases.

Contact the card issuer before problem occurs. Call your issuer right away if you cant make a payment. Many times you can work out a payment arrangement, either directly with the issuer or through a counseling agency.

Send your payment as early as possible if you carry a balance. If you carry a balance (secured credit card or unsecured credit card), send in your payment as soon as possible after your receive the bill. Most issuers calculate interest on a daily basis, so he sooner the bank receives, the less interest you will pay.

Budgeting. Monitor your bills and compare them to your budget every month, making spending adjustments when necessary. In general, your total monthly debt should not exceed 36 percent of your monthly income. Using your credit cards wisely will help you keep your debt within manageable limits. Preparing for planned and unexpected expenses is the best way to guarantee that your credit history remains strong over time.

Cancel unnecessary credit accounts. Too many credit cards can hurt your financial reputation, even if you don't use them even if the card is a Gold Credit Card, Platinum Credit Card, or Business Credit Card. If you apply for a mortgage or personal loan, the unused credit cards can affect your chances because lenders look at your "available credit," whether its used or not, when determining whether or not you are overextended.

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