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Using A Credit Card Safely

Using a credit card safely is one of the main concerns for credit card users. When you use your card safely, there is little risk that you will have your identity stolen, or over-charge the card and have monumental fees to take care of before your credit no longer suffers from the mistakes. Whether you are using your card safely normally, or online, there are precautions that everyone should take so that there is little to no chance of identity theft, or over-spending.

Credit Card Risks

While it sometimes seems to just be something that many people take for granted, credit card usage has many risks. From stolen cards to misplaced bills, there are several things to think about when using a credit card safely. These risks can include:
  • Losing the card – Whether you lose it at home or out in public, you misplace the card and are unsure where it might be or who might have it.
  • A stolen card – A stolen credit card can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges.
  • Identity theft – Akin to a stolen card, identity theft can happen if someone gets a hold of your credit card number and uses it to find out all the information about your life.
  • Over-charging – If you spend over your limit on a credit card, it can be hard to get back your pristine credit score.
  • Late payments – The bill might have just gotten lost in the mail, or you accidentally threw it away. Whatever the problem is, one late payment can be enough to ruin your credit for a while.
While these risks encompass the worst things that can happen with a credit card, there are a few simple things that you can do to keep yourself safe.

Regular Credit Card Usage

When using a credit card normally, there are definitely things you can do to keep your card numbers and your personal information safer. Some of these ideas include:
  • When using your card, always make sure to take it back immediately from any cashier.
  • Always check to make sure you’ve been given your correct card back.
  • Make sure any card you use has your signature on the back.
  • Never lose track of your credit card.
  • Never sign any receipts that have blank spaces unless you have crossed those spaces out.
  • Never give your credit card number over the phone of an unsolicited phone call.
  • Create a budget for yourself and stick to it.
  • Cut up any unused or old cards.
  • Check all bills and receipts.
These steps can help keep you safe when you are using a credit card in normal circumstances, but there are also things to do when using your credit card online.

Online Credit Card Usage

In today’s world of online shopping, it is important to know how to use your credit card safely when utilizing the Internet to make purchases. With identity theft a serious problem, make sure to remember the following steps when participating in online credit card usage:
  • Secure servers – Always check to make sure your web browser is using a secure server by finding a small lock in the bottom of the web browser window, or checking to see if the Internet address has “https://” at the beginning, indicating that it is a secure server.
  • E-mail – Never send a credit card number through e-mail.
  • Unsolicited e-mails – Never put in a credit card number after following a link from an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Print out all receipts – This way you can check them against your bills.
  • Check your bill thoroughly – Notice if there are any discrepancies that you can trace to the Internet.
  • Do business only with companies you know and feel secure with.
If you use your credit card safely, you can be sure that you are using your card responsibly. Whether it is just recognizing the risks of using a credit card, or taking the precautions when using it regularly and online, you are taking active steps to ensure you are using your credit card safely.




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FICO Credit Scores

A credit score is a number generally between 300-850, based on a statistical analysis of a person's credit files. This score represents the credit worthiness of a person. A credit score is assigned to each individual, to rate how risky a borrower he or she is--the higher the score, the less risk the individual poses to creditors. In most cases, your credit score will determine whether you will be approved for a credit card.

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a number generally between 300-850, based on a statistical analysis of a person's credit files. This score represents the credit worthiness of a person. A credit score is assigned to each individual, to rate how risky a borrower he or she is--the higher the score, the less risk the individual poses to creditors. In most cases, your credit score will determine whether you will be approved for a credit card.

Credit Score Facts

  1. Credit Scores range from 300-850, the higher the better.
  2. Most lenders base approval on your credit score.
  3. Higher Scores mean lower payments and better deals.
  4. Higher Scores mean Lower interest rates.
  5. Scores are determined by 5 main categories:
    • Payment History
    • Amounts Owed
    • Length of Credit History
    • Type of Credit Used
    • New Credit

Note: Credit scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any credit card product.

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