In our society, the use of credit cards is really common. So common I think some people are embarrassed to ask anyone how credit cards actually work. Like, how does a person use a credit card? I know I had these questions when I was getting my first credit card. Things like, “When do I pay the bill?” I had never wondered before. To answer a lot of these questions, I had to call my credit card company directly. This post is meant to save you from that hassle.
“When do I pay my credit card?”
There are usually two dates to keep in mind: the billing date and the due date. For me, my Discover card bills on the 18th and is due on the 23rd. That means everything I’ve charged from the 18th of last month to the 18th of this month is due on the 23rd.
“How do I pay my credit card?”
You can pay with a check but that’s a hassle. My favorite way to pay is with electronic bank transfer. All you do is go to your card’s website and enter these 3 pieces of information:
- Name of institution
- Routing number (just Google ‘routing number of xyz bank’)
- Account number found on your account statement
The best part about paying electronically is you don’t even have to remember to pay your bill! It’s sooo easy! With Discover, I had to pay manually for the first month. But now I have it set to automatically take funds out of my bank account and pay off my credit card bill every month. I have it set to pay on the 22nd. The only thing I have to remember is to have enough money in my bank account to pay off my credit card.
“Should I have more than one credit card?”
Yes. No. Maybe. It just depends on your situation. For me, I find it perfectly appropriate to have as many cards as you feel responsible handling. But you also have to use these cards regularly. Some cards will charge fees or nag you to close them if you don’t use them semi-frequently. A word of caution: managing a lot of credit cards can be a hassle. That’s a lot of terms and agreements you’ll have to keep straight. It’s similar to racking up frequent flyer miles – staying loyal is easiest.
“What happens if I lose my credit card?”
This will happen to probably everyone reading this article. It’s okay. What you’ll want to do is call and report the card stolen. Just Google, “Discover/Visa/Whatever report lost card.”
Just released last month is a new service offered by Discover. It’s called ‘Freeze It’. If you forget your credit card or leave it unattended, you can freeze it for the time being. Just sign into the Discover app and select ‘freeze’. Then, when you want to use it again, all its features are working again. I’ve not used it but it seems really slick.
Do you have any other questions about using a credit card? Leave a comment and I’d love to write a Part 2. Thanks for reading!
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com