credit cards

12 tips to manage credit card debt in 2012

Tip 10Be virtual friends with your card

Many credit card issuers are offering special promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media sites to increase cardholder loyalty. Other issuers are using these forums to address customer service complaints or determine charitable giving.

So if you haven't already, friend or fan your credit card issuer on Facebook, and follow your card on Twitter.

Tip 11Keep tabs on your credit card

A credit card can become a threat to your financial security if it lands in the wrong hands. Here are some tips to help keep your credit card safe.

  • Monitor your credit card accounts regularly online, so you can spot unusual transactions. Set up mobile alerts if your bank offers them.
  • Don't use public computers to make credit card purchases, access your financial accounts or check the email account where the bank sends information. Public computers are vulnerable to hackers.
  • Avoid unfamiliar online vendors. Stick with established ones.
  • Don't give your credit card information to an unsolicited phone caller or emailer. Always contact your bank using the customer service number on the back of your card.
  • If you notice suspicious transactions, call the local police and your bank. Also, alert the three credit reporting agencies about possible fraud on your account.
Tip 10When trouble strikes

Sometimes, you may have difficulty paying your credit card bill. If you foresee your financial situation slipping, here are a few ways to make good on your credit card.

First, contact your creditor and explain your financial situation. In many cases, the creditor will set up a temporary hardship payment plan until you get back on your feet. Never stop paying and never avoid collection calls. Your debt can follow you all the way to court.

Also, consider seeking help from a reputable nonprofit counseling service. You can locate one through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. A counselor can help you rejigger your household budget and set up payment plans with creditors.

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