Getting your first credit card is a big step – and one that affects your future.

Using a credit card properly can help you build a strong credit profile that will allow you to make the important purchases later in life.

By the same token, improper use of a credit card can be detrimental to your financial future. Be sure to make informed decisions so you can use credit wisely.

Pros and cons of using credit cards


  • Convenience in making purchases.
  • Use credit card statements to track your spending.
  • Revolving credit equates to quick loans when you need them.
  • Benefits, incentives and rewards.
  • Less cash tied up when renting cars and hotels.


  • Credit cards make it easy to spend beyond your means.
  • Credit card statements equal more paperwork.
  • Fees imposed if you carry a balance or miss a payment.
  • Fees for ‘conveniences’ like cash advances.
  • High interest rates often outweigh a credit card’s benefits.

Basic guidelines for credit card use

  • Make 100 percent of your payments on time.
  • Keep your credit card debt low.
  • Avoid opening up too many accounts at once.
  • Understand a credit card is a serious responsibility.
  • Do not use a credit card to try to upgrade your lifestyle.

Boost your credit score with your credit card

Using credit cards can either help or hurt your credit score. Responsible use of your credit card can help bring up your credit score and make the purchases you need. Misuse of a credit card can mean you are denied a loan or a mortgage.

Here are five tips for boosting your credit score, one statement at a time.
  1. Pay bills on time and reduce the amount of debt you have. This includes credit cards and every kind of installment debt you currently owe.
  2. Pay off credit card bills entirely each and every month. If that’s not feasible, make sure to pay by the due date and come up with a plan to pay off your debt soon.
  3. Set up text and email reminders. Forgetting a payment can have an adverse effect on your credit.
  4. Automate your bill payments. You can’t miss a bill payment if it is paid from your checking account automatically.
  5. Consider ownership of credit cards carefully. Closing and opening credit card accounts can actually have a negative effect on your credit score. Try to only rely on a few credit cards that you can pay off monthly to build your credit.