As midnight on New Year’s Eve approaches, Americans are setting resolutions to lose weight, reduce bad habits and treat loved ones better, but it should also be a time for consumers to evaluate credit card usage. Consumers should begin by tracking all cards on a free credit report, examining balances versus spending limits as cards that are close to being maxed out can negatively affect credit reporting.
Consumers should then consider spending patterns, noting locations where plastic is most frequently swiped at the credit card terminal. Changing regulations and new oversight on lenders may alter approval frequencies and it could be more difficult for consumers to secure new credit lines, so any new needs should be addressed as soon as possible. If their cards hold high interest rates, they might consider a balance transfer or paying off the card to eliminate extra charges.
Taking control of credit scores and debt is important in the new year, and evaluating what merchant services are used and how frequently allows consumers to set better budgets and plan repayment methods. In this way, rewards and member privileges can be taken advantage of, and spending efficiency is increased. Taking stock of credit will also reveal any suspicious activity that may be linked with identity theft, and should also involve an analysis of credit health.
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