Even though credit cards are very convenient, it can be a pain to track each of your credit cards and pay them off. It can also be difficult to figure out how much you should pay. You can pay the minimum amount due or even more to reduce your interest expense, or you can clear the dues of one card while paying the minimum due amounts on the rest – the permutations can be endless. Some practical strategies to help you to manage your credit card balances and keep them in good standing:
Pay At Least the Minimum Amount Due on All Cards
You need to pay at least the minimum payments by the due date on the statement every month without fail, otherwise, it will be considered late and a fine imposed. If you regularly miss making your payments, your APR is likely to rise and make carrying balances more expensive. If your payment is late by 30 days, the card issuer will report it to the credit agencies. If you habitually miss payments, it will hurt your credit score. You should know that by paying only the minimum due amounts, you will incur the maximum expense on interest, especially if you have a car repair credit card with a high APR.
Regularize Your Past due Card Accounts
If you have money left over after paying all the minimum dues, you should use it to make your accounts current. Otherwise, you will continue to have to pay the late payment fees and also delay the rollback of the increase in the APR. Also, the sooner you pay the due amounts, the earlier your credit score will improve. If your account is delinquent by more than 180 days, your card issuer will block your card, charge it off, report it to the credit bureaus, and also hand over the account to a collection agency. If you have a genuine financial hardship, discuss it with the card issuer to lower the minimum amounts due and/or the APR.
Lower the Balance of Your Maxed Out Card Accounts
If you max out any of your credit cards, you may be unable to use them anymore to purchase anything. It also hurts your credit score, according to CNN. Going over-limit can also attract over-limit fees if you have given your permission for over-limit transaction processing. Having high balances in your credit cards can damage your credit score. Ideally, you should keep your card balance to less than 30% of your credit limit to keep your score in good standing. By keeping your credit utilization ratio low, you demonstrate your ability to handle your finances responsibly.
If you want to save on your interest expense and get rid of your debt, you should focus on paying off the balances on the cards with the highest APRs. After you pay the minimum balances on all your cards, use the money left over to settle the dues of cards with the highest rates of interest to save on the interest expense. Find out if you qualify for a zero percent balance transfer offer so that you can save more on the interest expense.