Georgia Consumers should Approach New Credit Cards with Caution

New credit cards aren't always bad news, but they should be approached with caution by consumers.

A recent report from TransUnion has revealed that more consumers are gaining access to credit cards. In fact, the number of consumers who have at least one credit card is higher than it’s been since 2005 (before the Recession). Credit card issuers are also taking chances with more subprime customers. This could be good news for Georgia consumers who are rebuilding low credit scores. However, a lot of Georgia residents already have a substantial amount of credit card debt. It may not be wise for those who are already burdened with high credit card balances to have access to more plastic.

How Georgia Consumers can Use Credit Cards to Build Credit

If you’re new to credit cards or are just getting back into the credit game after a hiatus, you should approach credit cards with caution. It’s easy to look at credit as “free money,” but this is far from true. If you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll incur interest charges and all of your credit card purchase will end up costing more. At this point, you’re paying the credit card companies for the privilege of paying for items over time. Credit becomes “expensive money.”

On the other hand, if you only charge what you can afford and pay the balance off every month, your credit card becomes a credit building tool. This is especially true if you keep your balance at or below 30% of your spending limit. Managing a credit card account this way shows future lenders that you are responsible with credit. It is clear that you don’t rely on credit cards to spend beyond your means.

When Georgia Consumers Use Credit Cards to Build Trouble

In 2016, ValuePenguin reported that the average Georgia household carried $5,800 in credit card debt. This is fairly high compared to the average household credit card debt in other states, and reason for a lot of Georgians to start being more conservative with credit card use.

Building up too much credit card debt can lead to trouble down the road once interest charges start to accumulate. It can also throw off a consumer’s debt to income (DTI) ratio and cause future lenders to regard them as risky borrowers. This is because using more credit than your income can support makes it look like you’re relying too much on credit cards. It also causes lenders to doubt your ability to take on new loans or credit lines.

It can be difficult to refuse a new credit card if it’s offered, especially around the holidays. Once again, though, credit cards should be viewed as credit building tools. They can quickly become liabilities instead of assets if you overuse them and/or have too many in your wallet. If your credit ever gets out of hand, you should reign in spending and pay down your balances.

Why Checking Your Credit Reports is an Important Part of Credit Card Use

Using credit is the only way to build credit. So it’s important to verify that your credit card activity is being accurately reported on your credit reports. About 80% of consumer credit reports contain errors of some kind. Many of these mistakes are big enough to bring down credit scores. With all of the hard work that you’re doing, you don’t want inaccuracies to undermine your credit building efforts. So take the time to check your credit reports regularly. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus every twelve months. You can easily request credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

If you spot any errors while reviewing your credit reports, you should dispute them and have them removed. This is the easiest way to instantly improve your credit score. Also, Credit Repair Lawyers of America can help you with the process by providing you with a FREE credit repair lawyer.

The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit

Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.

Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (404)591-6680 or sending him a message through our contact page.