You have applied for a credit card. You have read the form and the contract to understand the conditions of use of your new card. But do you know how to reduce or even avoid paying interest charges? Are you aware of the consequences of a late payment? Do you know what to do in case of unauthorized transactions?
Benefit from the grace period
When you make a purchase with your card, you get an interest free period (grace period) if you pay your card balance in full by the due date for the current month. The grace period on new purchases officially begins on the last date included in your monthly billing cycle.
Provided you pay the balance of your card in full by the due date for the current month grace period on new purchases is at least 21 days. The grace period of 21 days applies even if an outstanding balance is carried forward from the previous month.
To avoid paying interest charges, it’s recommended:
Always pay the full amount due shown on your statement of credit card no later than the due date;
Do not obtain cash advances or perform operations that resemble cash transactions such as wire transfer or money order.
Remember that paying only the minimum amount required; your credit card is very expensive because the interest charges continue to accrue.
Understand the consequences of late payment
If you do not your payment on the due date shown on your statement, you will have to pay interest charges on the entire amount due, until that you pay in full. You may also:
– Penalties, including an increase in your interest rate;
– Affect your credit rating;
– Cancel your credit card by the card issuer.
Unauthorized transactions: what to do in case of a problem
If you notice any unauthorized transactions on your account, the RAC suggests:
Immediately contact the card issuer to report unauthorized transactions;
Inform the police in your community (if you suspect fraud);
Check your credit card agreement (contract). By law, your contract should detail your maximum liability in case the card is lost or stolen, or if unauthorized use of your account number credit card.