How Do You Become Responsible With a Credit Card?


Credit cards can be an effective way to build up your credit rating if you use them well. If you’re ultimately saving for a house or considering buying a car, using a credit card to make necessary purchases, such as rent and groceries, then paying the balance each month may make it easier to get a better loan rate.

Pay On Time

Start with paper statements, so you have a reminder to make the payment. It’s easy to miss an email reminder of payment due and end up with late fees or a negative mark on your credit rating. Try to submit the payment ten days before it’s due, so you don’t have to worry about it.

If you have gotten into trouble with credit cards in the past, take home your receipt and pay the balance due each time you make a purchase until you develop an awareness of just how much you’re spending.

Only Buy What You Need

Use your credit card for necessary expenses. If you’re planning a trip and you have the money in your vacation savings, book your flight and immediately make the payment.

Becoming aware of just how much you’re spending can be hard when you’re using a credit card. If you notice that you don’t have the money to pay the balance in full when the bill comes, it’s time to put the card away and go back to cash to rebuild awareness.

Once you’re behind on your credit card balance, catching up can be extremely difficult. You may start to receive offers for 0% APR cards and be able to roll the balance due, but this can lead to bigger problems if you can’t manage the use of the original card.

Look for Benefits That Work for You

Credit card rewards can be quite lucrative. For example, if you have a large purchase you need to make, and you have the cash, it can make sense to

  • get a new credit card with points or miles that you can immediately use
  • make the purchase with the new card
  • pay off the balance
  • enjoy the points

A credit card should never be used in place of an emergency fund. If you don’t have savings, don’t get the card. Never purchase anything if the only benefit is the rewards you’ll get.

If You Over-Pay

According to the experts at SoFi Invest, showing a negative balance on credit card statements is not a problem. If the balance is large, you can request a payout from the lender. If the balance is not large, you can go ahead and use the card to pay off regular expenses with that card.

When you’re first starting out in your working life, a credit card properly handled may be the easiest way to build a healthy credit rating. A simple rule to follow is: Do I have the money in my bank account right now to cover this purchase? If not, don’t put it on the card.