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Below are some common tips that will help make you an intelligent credit card user, helping you avoid damaging your credit rating. If you have any questions, please contact

Don't buy on impulse!
One of the most important rules to follow is to never make purchases that are merely done on impulse. Any sort of impulse shopping spree is the most damaging use of a credit card.

Stay away from extra programs and/or services being offered to you by your credit company that cost money!
Credit card issuers offer all types of extra products and services that are usually not anywhere near worth the money they cost. For example, credit card insurance. Credit card insurance is an un-needed expense that is supposed to protect you if your credit card is used illegally. However, by law you are only liable for at most $50 worth of bogus purchases made with your card.

Another type of service offered by credit card companies that is not worth its cost is credit card disability insurance. Getting your credit card issuer to activate your insurance in the event you become disabled is not going to be easy. Also, credit card disability insurance does not mean you don't have to pay your credit card debt.

Don't go over your limit!
Exceeding your credit line will result in heft fees.

Pre-paid gift cards are a bad deal!
The fees associated with prepaid gift cards mean you end up paying more than what they are worth. Gift cards also expire very fast, meaning it is very common for them to never even get used.

If you are looking to give a gift, give cash, write a check or obtain a gift card directly from a retailer. Retail gift cards never expire and don't have any hidden fees associated with them.

Don't buy presents with your credit card!
Always use cash or something of the equivalent when buying gifts. It makes no sense to borrow money to buy something that you are going to be giving away.

Try and avoid using your credit card while abroad!
Most of the major credit card companies charge between a 1-3% fee for credit card purchases that are not made in the United States.

These fees can add up very quickly on a long vacation. A good idea would be to use a debit card or traveler's checks while on vacation.

One of the most important things you can when using a credit card is to pay your bill on time, every month! Utilizing online bill payment options is a good idea.

In conclusion...
If you have excessive debt already, or are concerned that you will not be able to use your plastic effectively, stop using credit cards immediately. The benefits of credit cards are inferior to the damage that can result of not being responsible. Poor credit card use will result in squandering money.

**We also feature an entire section related to credit cards and identity theft.

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