step 1

Make sure it's not too good to be true

To begin with, a lot of us fall victim to flashy offers and campaigns promising us the world in a credit card, usually only available for a limited time with loads of fine-print.

  1. Do you need rewards?

    If you know what you’re doing when it comes to Credit Card rewards, and you use your card enough to make the most of them, by all means, go for it. Often a complicated rewards scheme can leave you paying many times more than the value of the reward due to hidden fees and high interest.

  2. Is Balance Transfer a good idea?

    Again, if you can get a great low rate for a balance transfer, do your research and go ahead. However, transferring for no reason is likely to inflate your debt due to balance transfer fees, and that teaser rates only last so long.

step 2

Watch your payments

An easy way to keep your Credit Card in your good books is to simply keep an eye on your payments and meet your commitments.

  1. Don't miss payments

    The nature of the Credit Card can make it tempting to skip payments when we’re a bit short with the intention of making it up next month. You should avoid this wherever possible, as you’ll likely be charged a late payment fee and your balance will continue to grow.

  2. Speak Up

    If you do happen to get behind in your payment schedule, the worst thing you can do is hope the problem will just go away. Speak to your financial institution sooner rather than later to discuss your options for repayments.

step 3

Pay as you spend

One of the simplest but one of the most important tips to help you get the most of your Credit Card is to pay off your balance in full if and when you can. By keeping your balance as low as you can, you reduce the amount of interest you pay over time.

If you can’t get your balance down close to zero, be sure to pay off as much as you can – never simply pay the minimum amount on your statement!

step 4

Get the right card for your needs

There are literally hundreds of Credit Cards on the market right now, all making different promises and with a range of features. Every bank or financial institution is going to say their card is the best for one reason or another.

Before you sign up for your next Credit Card, make sure you figure out what you need it for. Do you just want the lowest rate? Do you want great rewards? Is it only for emergency use, and you want low fees? Once you know this, you can ignore all the trimmings and marketing and examine each card’s bare bones. Find the Credit Card Key Fact Sheet for any card you’re considering and do your research.