Despite being widely used and accepted, there are still a lot of false notions about credit cards. Credit is an important indicator to a consumer’s financial health. Separating fact from fiction is the first step to establish good money habits and ultimately, help consumers steer clear of consumer debt. With that said, here are 5 credit card myths debunked.
Debunking Credit Card Myths
- Myth: Carrying a balance on your credit card helps your score. No. Consumers should always pay their bill in full every month. If they can’t pay in full, it’s important to pay as much of the balance as possible on time. At the very least, be sure to pay the required minimum balance. Carrying a balance from one month to the next results in growing interest rates charged by the credit card company. If you are consistently unable to repay your balance, consider credit card relief to help regain control of your finances.
- Myth: An increase on your credit card limit is bad. If consumers don’t increase their spending, an increase on their credit card limit can help improve their credit utilization ratio. You can calculate credit utilization by dividing total amount owed by total available credit. Credit usage is a key factor in credit scores. So, accepting an increase on your credit card limit can actually help consumers to show that while they have access to a higher limit, they don’t spend all of the credit available to them every month.
- Myth: You should close unused credit cards once they are paid off. It could be more beneficial to consumers’ credit scores if they keep the unused credit card open, especially if there aren’t any fees. By keeping the card open, the credit card limit is greater, which helps the consumer’s credit card utilization rate.
- Myth: Debit cards can help credit scores. Properly maintaining a debit card only shows that the consumer is responsible and does not improve his or her credit score. While some people believe that debit cards and credit cards are one in the same, they are not. When used, debit cards take money out of the cardholder’s checking account. Credit, on the other hand, is borrowing money and repaying it later (ideally at the end of each month’s billing cycle).
- Myth: It’s best to have only have one credit card. Adding another credit card is okay – especially if consumers are managing their spending and paying their bills on time. There’s no hard and fast rule about how many cards is the “right” amount. As long as you are using credit responsibly, keeping up with payments, and staying out of credit card debt, having more than one card is okay.
Be wary of what you hear about credit, and be sure not to fall for these common credit card myths.
For more information about credit and money management, call ACCC today at 800-769-3571 to speak with a certified credit counselor.