Do you have a credit card or credit cards? When I was working in the Philippines and before going to Korea, I don’t have credit card because I don’t want to get even one.
My thinking during that time is that credit card means a lot of debt. Actually, it is true. Once you use your card every time you purchase anything, you owe money to the credit card company or to the issuing bank.
Of course, at the beginning you may not notice that you owe money to other people because you don’t really give or pay cash. However, at the end of the month, you will be surprised about your bill if you don’t have the discipline to use it properly.
In this post, I would like to give you some tips on how to use your credit card wisely by giving you practical ways and information you may not know about credit card usage.
1. Credit Card Price = Cash Price
According to Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Administrative Order No. 10, the credit card price for purchasing something must be the same as the cash price. Therefore, it is illegal for establishments to add extra charge in the price of their product when using your credit card.
If you have encountered or experienced any establishments that charge higher price when credit card is used, you may report it to DTI hotline 751-3330. Just a tip, if the price of commodity you’re buying is low, I would suggests you just use cash.
2. Apply for Internet Banking
Normally, most major banks in the Philippines provide online banking service for their customers and in there you can check your credit card bills and other details of your bank account. Thus, it is better for you to enroll your bank account in their Internet banking service.
3. Sign the Card
Once you got your new credit card, immediately put your signature at the back for security purposes. Most establishments are now more strict when using credit card as a payment tool; they check closely whether you are the true owner of that card.
They will compare your signature with another ID that you will present before you could use your card in them. Thus, make sure you sign it at the back to avoid any hassles in the future use.
4. Check Closely Your Bill
Every end of the month, you will receive your credit card bill in your mail or some banks are now sending bills through email to make the service paperless. You need to check your bill carefully to determine if it is correct with the purchases you have made.
As a policy of the credit card company, you will only be charged for unsettled balance. Therefore, make sure to pay the full amount of your bill every month to avoid any extra charges.
5. Inform Your Card Company Prior Traveling Abroad
Are you traveling abroad and you’re planning to use your credit card there? If yes, you should advise your credit card company or the issuing bank so that your transactions can be closely monitored. It will be better also to keep a record of your card details such as the credit card numbers, expiration date, and contact numbers of your card company in case of emergency situations like loss or robbery.
6. Protect Your Credit Card Information
There are many cases of identity theft through phishing emails and counterfeit websites in order to steal the financial data from the victim. Criminals use this financial information to steal your money or use it for other purposes by creating fake credit or ATM cards.
Be vigilant and wise when someone is asking your card information because all banks will never call you or email you asking your credit card information. However, if they do call, make sure that it is really from them by knowing their contact numbers at the back of your card.
7. Keep a Contact Info
You cannot use your credit card all the time because of unforeseen events like damage or loss of your card. Thus, it is very recommended that you know the card company’s contact details so you can easily reach them when such emergency happens.
When your card is stolen or lost, immediately report it so it cannot be used anymore. There’s a great chance that robbers and thieves will use your card to buy something so in order to prevent it, you must inform quickly the bank to cancel your card.
8. Check Transaction Slip
Before signing a transaction slip, you must carefully check whether the price you have paid is the same as what indicated on the transaction slip. There are some situations when the amount indicated on the slip is different from the actual amount you have paid.
In addition, do not sign a blank transaction slip. It is prone to mistakes and may be use to manipulate the amount you actually paid.
9. Setup an Automatic Payment
Most banks and credit card companies accept automatic payment for credit card bills. If you have the discipline and you want to pay the full amount of your credit card bill every month, this tip will be very helpful and convenient.
In this way, you don’t need to go to the bank or payment center just to pay your credit card bill. This service can save your time and money.
If you are paying by check or via ATM, you must pay at least 3 days prior your payment due date to allow for a 3-day clearing period and payment transfer. However, if you can set up an auto-payment system, it is the best choice to go.
10. Pay On or Before Due Date
It is best to pay your bills on or before payment due date of your card. Always check your bill statement for due date and payment procedures.
There are no charges if you will pay on or before the due date. However, a penalty fee will be added if you pay after the due date so make sure to pay the whole amount every billing.
Credit card is made for a good purpose. You should use it for that good purpose. However, if you cannot control yourself and you are being controlled by your impulse buying, you must avoid owning a credit card.
For those people who have already a credit card, I hope that these ten tips will help you use your card properly and wisely to your advantage and not to your loss and misery. Credit card is your financial tool to make your finances alright, it must be your slave not the other way around!