• June 22, 2021
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 5 read

Credit Card Phobia? Overcome It and Reap the Rewards

Does the thought of having or consistently using a credit card make you break a sweat? You’re not alone. In fact, some millennials note they fear credit card debt more than death itself.1 Yep, you read that right! It’s ironic then, how proper credit card use can actually help you during many stages in life. There’s nothing wrong with exercising caution. But, it’s important to consider the many benefits of credit cards to ensure you aren’t writing off opportunities.

Opening doors

To rewards

The best credit cards reward you for every purchase. Some help you earn points to redeem on merchandise, gift cards, cash, and more. Others offer cash back which is applied to the credit card’s statement balance, lowering how much you owe.

To new adventures

Ready to start traveling again? The right credit card can help you avoid foreign transaction fees and even give you access to discounts at travel and retail merchants.** Points earned could potentially cover the cost of a plane ticket.

Credit cards allow you to save on excursions close to home, too! Get deals on entertainment, sports, shopping, and more.

To more credit history

On-time payments, missed payments, and how recently payments were missed all heavily impact your credit score. The length of your credit history is also important. If you don’t have a credit card or another line of credit, a lender won’t have a track record to review and may struggle to determine your creditworthiness. This can affect the interest rates and credit limits offered to you.

Poor credit history is another obstacle. The only way to establish a trend of improvement is to start today with the tools available to you.

As your credit history grows and you continue to make consistent on-time payments you’ll enjoy:

  • Lower interest rates. A better score indicates you are more likely to pay back a loan, which means credit unions or banks will offer you lower interest rates (and a more affordable monthly payment!).
  • Higher limits. Proving your creditworthiness gives you leverage to ask for higher credit limits or a larger loan.

Trusting yourself

Some people worry they won’t stay on top of credit card payments because they weren’t able to in the past. Don’t be ashamed – nearly everyone has missed a payment at some point, and this is something you can recover from. Recognizing your struggle is a step in the right direction. The next is to enlist the right tools to make it easy and fool-proof to manage payments.

Set up account alerts in online or mobile banking so you always know when payments are due, when they post, and if anything is past due.

Don’t get into the habit of paying the minimum balance each month. While it can be tempting, doing so will leave you paying more in interest over time. As a result, making a dent in credit card debt could prove difficult. If possible, pay in full each month to avoid added interest and financial setbacks.

  • GECU Online Banking and mobile app users can set up text messaging (SMS) alerts or text the following codes to 84164 for account updates: BAL (balance and available credit), ACT (most recent posted transactions), or DUE (minimum amount due, due date, and last payment date or amount).

If your credit card anxiety stems from the fact you’ve never had one, think of payment reminders like training wheels used to learn how to ride a bike. You’ll get the hang of it with practice and eventually it will become second nature.

Always have a budget to ensure you’re not overspending. Taking on a higher credit card balance than you can reasonably pay off could start a snowball effect. Once you know how much you can allocate toward items like eating out and entertainment, you can spend the money guilt-free!

Keep tabs on spending with GECU’s budget planner. See what categories you’re spending money in, set and track savings goals, and get a complete picture of your finances.

Ready to take the plunge into the exciting world of credit cards? Check out the industry-leading options from GECU (we weren’t named Cincinnati’s best credit union for no reason!).

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