Six ways to tame the credit card beast

by Norma

Managing credit 2010

Credit cards and the banks behind them have such a bad rap lately that it’s hard to remember that they do offer the small business a real service, allowing quick access to short term loans, letting us save by purchasing everything from inventory to travel tickets to brochures and office chairs online. Because credit cards are unsecured debt, we do not risk losing our home, car or furniture. Still they have grown some teeth and claws. Some of us have had to learn the hard way about protecting ourselves. Here are six ways to keep cards from biting into your tulip:

  1. Make payments online to rest assured they won’t be lost or delayed in the mail.
  2. To avoid overdraft bank charges, sign up for emailed bill payment reminders. Then check your balance ahead of the payment date as the reminders arrive.
  3. Get credit cards out of your purse or wallet. Leave them in a locked drawer, a safe, or even a freezer. You’ll not be tempted to make unplanned purchases and it reduces the likelihood of theft or loss.
  4. Frequently check your credit card charges, payments and balances online and always look over your statements and invoices for errors. Contact the card company immediately if you spot a problem or have a question.
  5. Never take cash advances on your credit card. The interest rate will be terrible, and you will miss an opportunity to establish a good relationship with a local bank or credit union.
  6. If you co-sign to help someone else secure a credit card, you are just as responsible for all purchases and payments. If payments are late or missed, they will show up on your credit report. Even if you pay off your card balance each month, but he/she carries a high balance on that new card you co-signed, you could find your FICO score slipping.

Please leave a comment

How do you use credit cards to help with your small business finances?
What do you advise someone just starting out in a new business regarding credit card use or misuse?

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