Credit empowers you to buy what you want when you need it, but it requires careful management to keep your credit record in good standing.
Make regular payments
Your credit rating depends heavily on you making regular payments. When you make a payment, your ‘last payment date’ is updated.
Lump-sum payments every now and then don’t make up for the missed payments in- between, and will make it look like you’re struggling financially. This has a negative impact on your credit rating.
Keep a sensible credit limit
High credit limits make it easy to overextend yourself. Keep your credit card and overdraft limit within reason, and only use high credit limits for emergencies.
You can always increase your limit if you really need to.
Be smart about credit
You should never be paying for things you no longer have or use.
If you’re forced to buy clothes or food on credit, settle quickly. Rather use credit for assets or appliances with longer lifespans.
Use a single source of credit
Avoid having multiple sources of short-term debt. It’s a lot easier keeping track of your spend using an overdraft and only one credit card instead of many.
Learn to add up the interest
Before buying something on credit, multiply the repayment amount by the number of months you’ll be paying it.
Compare this amount to the cash price. The difference is what you’re paying in interest.