We love credit! It’s a powerful tool that can give us the things we really want in life. Try buying a house completely in cash. You might have great-grandchildren before you actually pull off this goal. If you’re going to buy a house, chances are good that you’re going to need a mortgage. A bad credit score pulls down your ability to get a great mortgage. You can still find lenders that will take a chance on you, but they have to make money. They’re more than happy to charge you an enormous amount of interest just to have you own your own home. And since they’re shelling out the cash, they get to make the rules. You might have a lower limit of purchasing than another person, which means it’s going to be three times as hard to find your dream home. What a drag.
But it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to use credit wisely and rebuild your score. Even if you have excellent credit, be aware that it only takes a handful of mishaps and mistakes to send your credit score plunging down.
Here are 3 pitfalls to new credit card offers that you should be aware of.
1. Expiration Dates on Promotions
When the credit card says “0% APR for six months”, they really do mean it. So you need to make sure that you get your purchases paid off on time, every time. If you have any balance due when that promotion is up, guess what? They will charge interest on it.
2. Order of Purchases
Cash advance? Purchase? Did you know that the credit card company categorizes these things ahead of time? If you are given a special promotion, you need to make sure that it actually goes for the type of purchase that you’re doing. If your promotion is for new purchases only, don’t expect to be able to use it with a balance transfer. And speaking of balance transfers…