Chapter 4: Managing your cards
Managing your credit cards can provide great benefits if you do it correctly. Here’s how to keep your credit in tip-top shape.
Keeping your credit rating as high is it can be is a worthwhile goal. The place to start that is with the management of your credit cards. This chapter will show you how to read the monthly statement, how to request a lower rate, the necessary steps to take to transfer a balance or cancel a card, what to do if your card is lost or stolen, and action you should take when you can’t pay the balance or even the minimum.
Guide to reading your monthly statement
Here’s a cheat sheet to help you understand what to look for on your monthly credit card statement.
Ask for a lower rate
Believe it or not, you can ask for a lower rate — and probably will get it. Follow this script when you call your credit card company. It can’t hurt to ask.
Step-by-step guide to balance transfers
Should you transfer a balance? This worksheet will help you decide whether you should and show you how to go about it.
How to cancel a card
Don’t miss a step when you’re canceling a card or you could harm your credit report.
Paying less than the minimum
The Debt Adviser weighs the options of contacting your creditor and talking to a credit counselor.
Lost or stolen card
Here’s what to do: Know what your fraud protection is, call within 24 hours and follow up with a letter.
The high cost of ignoring your bills
The Debt Adviser tallies up the costs of not paying your bills and offers a course of action to pay them off.