Credit cards can deliver points, cash back, and buyers protection. The same cards can cause great disaster, high interest, late fees, and other surprises.
Managing your credit cards right positions you for greater use of benefits. Yet too many high-income professionals and entrepreneurs get in trouble with credit cards.
Here are some tips to maximize your credit cards without getting yourself in trouble. Which of these could you adopt today:
- Pay on credit cards WEEKLY. If you cannot pay your credit card in full each week, then you are overextending your benefit. Maximizing use is about making money, not overextending.
- Maximize your billing window float. If you have a 25-day billing window, then pay off balances older than 20 days letting more recent items age. Use conservative measures of aging.
- Ledger your APR and limits. Do this to maintain below a 50% use ratio for all credit sources AND any individual credit card. This protects your credit score.
- Zero balance cards MONTHLY. By the end of each month clearing the entire balance either though automatic minimums or weekly payments. Send this payment the week before the due date.
- Schedule automatic minimums. Determine your minimum payment based on credit line rather than statement. Means reading your card agreement to determine calculations.
Start with these simple five habits to adopt around credit cards. Consistent payments reduce cost of debt while improving your credit score. Best of all you’ll be avoiding fees.
One formula for determining how much to pay each week on your credit card is:
Outstanding Balance – Recent Activity = Minimum Payment (or Current Balance)
This provides you a number for all aged balances beyond the current billing period. This is an example of conservative measures of age.
Your statement may have a Current Balance listed or look in your accounting system. Depending on your debt load you’ll pay off all credit cards, or highest interest cards first.
When you follow these five steps, you’ll tend not to have any credit card debt. No need for debt reduction in this area. Can you see how you’ll save on fees and interest?
With weekly payments give you a 7 to 10-day float on the money. Meanwhile reserve funding for investments, especially if you’ll set aside full credit availability.
This kind of tight cash management means surplus cash can generate income in funds without disruption.
It’s a more advanced strategy to reserve the entire credit limit, then spending only up to the income of that reserve. You’ll be able to pay all credit debt at any time.
What’s more valuable is these funds earning for you, while debt is not accumulated. This is how Elon Musk covered living expenses on credit cards while millions while investing in SpaceX and Tesla.
If you ever run into trouble with the credit card account, you can then flush the reserve. See elsewhere in this resource for details about liquidity.
Floating household expenses on my AMEX gives us a 2% discount on purchases and a 15-day float which only works when paying the card in full. I saw this method used to buy $25,000 in fleet fuel each month creating 5% cash back.
Many contractors use store cards for materials where they cannot get terms. In many cases they will get paid by clients in advance of any credit card payments being due. Saves them thousands.
At the time of this writing I use the United Explorer MileagePlus credit card. It pays points, has benefits at airport lounges, and offers a solid cash back. Choose what works best for you.
SIDEBAR: For a limited time: Click here to get 40,000 bonus miles with your application. Same United Explorer MileagePlus credit card I use frequently.
Today’s credit scoring system nearly requires some credit card usage. How you use these credit cards can transform your lifestyle, save you money, and earn you benefits! And the right system keeps you out of trouble.
If you would like to never pay a credit card late fee again, then write my offices about NEVER PAY LATE FEE. This special report covers cash and credit management. Meanwhile, write with your questions.