Credit Card Debt Management

The following tips have been offered by the Federal Trade Commission for you to keep in mind when you purchase goods online or at a conventional retail outlet using your credit cards:


1. Create a shopping list


Sudden impluse buying or purchasing items when you have no intention of doing so, can add an additional amount to any credit card balance. It's good practice to remember thatyour credit card balance resembles a loan which must be paid back eventually. You credit rating can be damaged if you owe more than you can repay. That can make it difficult to get insurance, rent an apartment, buy a car or perhaps even hinder your chances of getting a better job.


If it's feasible, try and pay your bills in full, and on time. If you delay your payments then you will have to pay finance charges on the unpaid balance. Even paying just the minimum amount required (as most of us do) does not help in reducing your credit card debt.


2. Protect your credit card and credit card account number


Be careful about telling your account number when talking over phone unless you are confirmed that you are associating with a reputable company.


Always avoid writing your account number on paper. Additionally, it's good practice to  draw a line through empty spaces on charge slips above the total amount of money so that it cannot be tampered with.


Any problems with the bills can destroy the rating of your credit. You are responsible for paying your bills so avoid lending your credit card to anyone-else, even your spouse or children.


3. Keep contact telephone numbers of your credit card companies in case of theft or emergencies


If you discover your credit cards have been misplaced, stolen or lost, then you should notify your credit card companies immediately. Several companies have facilities like toll-free numbers and all day and night service to take care of such emergency situations. 


The sooner you inform your credit card companies the better. Not only will they deactivate your credit card but they may be able to trace who is using your card and where.



4. Maintain regular records

If you happen to purchase goods by mail, online or phone, keep copies or printouts with particulars about the transactions including any warranties, or refund and return policies. Other details include the name of the company, their address, phone number, the date of your order; a copy of the order form you sent to the company or an inventory of the items ordered and their stock codes, the codes of the confirmation of the order and the advertisement or catalog from which you may have ordered.


Keep track of your receipts and check them against your credit card statements when they arrive. If you spot any discrepencies, report them to your credit card company as soon as you can. Your credit card company will be able to rectify any accounting anomolis and possibly even get you a refund if you are unsatisfied with your purchase.