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How to manage your credit card

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Written by Matt Fernell, Financial Content Writer

3 January 2019

Knowing how to manage your credit card can help you get the most out of it and save money. This is how to make using your new card hassle free.

managing credit card using laptop and mobile phone

Credit cards allow you to be flexible with your borrowing. You can use them for short term borrowing, or you can use them to spread the cost of larger purchases.

How much of your credit balance should you repay

Ideally, you should pay off your credit card balance in full every month. That way you won't be charged interest on your spending.

For many people that may not always be possible. Here are some rules you need to follow if you want to make the most of your credit card.

  • Always pay at least the minimum amount: This is set by your provider and is a percentage of what you owe plus interest.

  • Pay more than the minimum if you can: Paying off as much as you can will save you interest and clear the balance faster.

  • Pay off your most expensive cards first: If you have several cards, put as much as you can afford towards paying off the card with the highest APR, and make minimum payments on the rest.

Your credit card comes with a credit limit, which is the maximum unpaid balance that you can build up on your card.

You will be charged a fee if you go over this so make sure you pay off enough to stay under your limit. Here is how credit card limits work.

How to pay your credit card bill

You can set up a direct debit using either your online account or by phoning your provider.

Paying by direct debit is the easiest method because the money will come out of your account every month without the possibility of forgetting to pay.

You can set up your direct debit to pay the full balance, the minimum payment or a fixed amount. You can also pay your bill:

  • Through your online banking account

  • By bank transfer using internet banking or in a branch

  • By cheque sent to your bank when you get your bill

  • By standing order for a fixed amount to your credit card company

  • In person with cash if your provider has a local branch

How do you check your credit card balance?

You can check your balance online, on your most recent paper statement, or you can ask for your balance by phone or check it at a cash machine. Some providers also send text messages to confirm your balance and remaining credit limit either any time you text them to request it or once a week or month.

You can find out more about how to repay your credit card here

Reporting your lost credit card

If your card is lost or stolen, let your provider know immediately because someone else could use it online, over the phone or for contactless purchases.

You should be refunded in full for any transactions that happen after you have lost your card.

Record the time you informed your provider and the last transaction you made yourself. You can contact them by:

  • Phoning your provider

  • Logging into your online account

  • Going into a branch

  • Using your mobile banking app

Your provider will then cancel your card and send you a new one by post.

Getting a refund on your credit card purchase

If something goes wrong with a purchase, like the company you buy from goes out of business or they fail to supply what you ordered, you may be able to make a claim by using:

  • Section 75, which can protect purchases between £100 and £30,000

  • Chargeback, which could protect any purchases under £100

  • Purchase protection offered by your credit card provider

Although you can approach your credit card provider for a refund, you should contact the retailer you bought from first.

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