Keeping credit card costs to a minimum

If you can't pay off your full credit card balance each month, try to use your own money rather than your card. At best you might be getting 5 to 6 per cent interest on deposit funds, so why pay 10 to 18.5 per cent to use somebody else's money. This might mean using a debit card to give you the same plastic convenience as a credit card. If you only use your card for irregular convenience purchases of petrol, take-aways or the occasional small purchases and don't need the added benefits such as reward programs, it is probably not worth paying a fee for a card. Stick to a no-fee, low-interest, no-free-days card. If you want the benefits of a higher interest rate card with a fee, and you aim to pay in full by the due date, choose the one which offers the lowest annual fees or best benefits to suit your lifestyle. Such as travel rewards, discounts on mortgage fees, travel insurance, purchases insurance. If you use the card regularly, try the cards which waive the following year's fee if you spend over a certain level the previous year. One alternative if you are disciplined is to have two cards. Use the card which offers interest free days for all your purchases to take advantage of the various financial and lifestyle benefits offered, and pay in full on the due date by drawing a cash advance using a low interest, fee free card. This way, you get the best of both worlds – interest free days from one card and a low interest rate from the other. The cheapest way of all however is to pay everything by the due date every month, or don't use a card at all.

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