10 Things to Do Before Swiping Your New Credit Card

Did you just receive your first credit card? Congratulations! But before you start going on a swiping spree, do the 10 things below to make sure everything is in order with your new plastic.

1. Activate the card.

Check the sticker or paper that came with your new credit card. Usually, you will find activation instructions here. It is an easy process. Just dial the 1-800 number and follow the prompts. Call using the number you wrote on your application. Also, beware of sales pitches for add-on services that are only unnecessary expenses.

2. Read the terms and conditions.

It is not an exciting read but goes through it anyway. Do it in parts if it makes it easier. Take note of important pricing details, including fees, interest rates, and other features that involve fees and payments.

3. Note your credit limit.

All credit cards come with a credit limit. This is the maximum amount that you can charge on your credit card without incurring a fee or triggering the penalty rate.

4. Note the promotional interest rate.

A lower interest rate usually comes with new credit cards as part of a promo. Make sure you know when it expires. By law, promo rates must last at least six months, but some issuers extend the rates beyond that minimum period. Make sure you pay your balance before the promo rate ends.

5. Know your rewards program.

Rewards are always fun to find out how to maximize it. Get to know your new credit card’s reward program. Depending on your issuer, you can earn points by simply making purchases while others require you to register first.

6. Save the customer service number.

This is a number you do not want to use but it is nice to have. Call customer service in case your card is stolen, lost, or registers fraudulent charges. Save the number on your phone or write it on paper and store it in a safe place.

7. Open an online account.

Online access to your credit card makes your life easier so take the time to register and open an online account. You can conveniently check your balance, make payments, and monitor your account activity. Some issuers even give you extra perks when you enroll online.

8. Consider receiving paperless statements.

You can check your bill on your online account and make your payment, too. Go to your credit card issuer’s website and see if paperless billing is an option and sign up.

9. Set up automatic payments.

Avoid late payment fees by setting up autopay for your new credit card.

10. Keep your credit card safe.

Always store your credit card in a safe place to protect it from loss and theft. Memorize your PIN and never share it with anyone. You do not want to create any headache for yourself.