How well do you know your credit cards?
Here are some common questions and answers about credit card basics.
Credit scores: Using a credit card has an impact on two of the biggest factors in your credit score: credit utilization and payment history.
• Utilization is the percentage of available credit currently used. Utilization tends to have a negative impact on credit scores once it passes 30 percent.
• Late or missed payments can put a dent in your credit score.
Credit reports: Most big card issuers report account activity to the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and Transunion — every month. But some card issuers report only to one or two, or even none. If you’re trying to build credit, get a card that reports to all three.
‘No interest’: Promotional language such as “no interest for 12 months” often hides the fact that interest is accruing on a purchase. Interest can be charged on the entire amount, going back to the time of the purchase, if any balance is left at the end of the promotion.
Closing a card: Closing an account lowers the amount of credit you have available, which can increase credit utilization — and possibly hurt your credit score. If a card doesn’t charge an annual fee, you may be better off leaving the account open and making the occasional purchase with it to keep it active. — Nerdwallet