How to manage your credit card

How to manage your credit card
07 August 2011

HANDS up who’s got a credit card? With millions of payment cards in circulation, chances are most people these days have got at least one tucked away in their purse or wallet.

For many, they are an indispensable part of our lives, enabling us to take advantage of the many conveniences and advantages they offer, such as daily purchases, online shopping, travel reservations and even payment of our household utility expenses.

But credit cards have somewhat of a challenging reputation in the Arab world, unfairly so in most cases, with many people having the perception that they get you into financial trouble. That’s only true if you misuse them!

For the most part, credit cards play an invaluable role in helping us to manage our personal and family budgets. They allow us to buy now and pay later on things that we need (or want) today. It’s like a loan that you pay back in one go or in part every month.

If you’re one of those people who struggles to manage your repayments, or perhaps don’t have a credit card but are thinking of applying for one, the single most important piece of advice is to set a plan for its usage from the outset – and stick to it!

Here are some tips to get you started and help you avoid the most common credit card pitfalls…

Stay alert and budget

The importance of budgeting can’t be stressed enough. By having a clear idea of what your income and fixed outgoings are in the month ahead, you will be know from the outset how much you left have to spend.

Stay on top of how much you’re spending, and adjust your budget accordingly. If you’re one of those people who juggle more than one credit card, make sure you know what and how much you are putting on each – and when they need to be paid by.

Review statements carefully

Check your credit card statement monthly to make sure there are no inaccuracies and that all the registered charges were actually made by you. This will help you stay on track of how much you are spending, and what you’re spending money on.

Pay your bills on time

Always pay at least the minimum payment and aim to pay off your full balance every month. If you plan your usage in advance and keep track of what you spend, this should be straightforward. In his way, you will save yourself the risk of interest charges building up.

Set up automatic repayments

This is a good way to ensure that you keep up with the minimum payments at the very least. Just make sure you have enough funds in your current account to make the payment. It will also help keep you on top of your budget and spending over time.

Pic credit: photostock/

What are your top credit card tips? Share them with the cashy community!


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Corporate communications manager, Middle East
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