You have just received your new credit card and you probably are eager to take advantage of the rewards it offers, but it’s advisable to do a few things to maximize saving some money and avoid making mistakes that might end up being costly.
When you receive your credit card, go through relevant documents that might help you in understanding the usage terms and fees associated with the credit card. It is beneficial to become aware before you start purchasing with your credit card so that you can use it in a responsible manner.
Here are 7 things to do with your brand new credit card before you make your first purchase with it.
1. Activate your credit card
You have to activate your credit card before you start using it. Some credit card companies have a limited window to activate your credit card and might deactivate your card if it is not activated within that time frame, so ensure that the activation is done right away. It also helps in avoiding any hassles while you are making your first payment.
Although the procedure of activating your credit card varies for different cards, it is usually a fairly simple process. You can do it through either of the following
- Online Banking: To activate your card online, visit the card issuer’s website and follow the prompts listed under card activation.
- Mobile Application: Download the mobile app of the credit card, log in and register and click on activate your card. Enter the required details and follow the prompts to complete your activation procedure.
- Toll-free number: Most of the time you will get a toll-free number to contact in case of any queries, you can call on that and ask for guidance on the card activation process. Follow the steps that they tell you to activate your card.
- SMS: Many banks allow the activation of credit cards through SMS. Simply SMS the bank’s customer care number and you will be guided regarding the procedure.
2. Set up the credit card pin
Every credit card requires a pin set up before any transaction can be made. The easiest way to generate a PIN is through the online method but you can also set it up by phone, bank branch, ATM, or e-mail. You might get a 4-digit PIN along with your welcome kit that comes along with the credit card, but to increase the security of your credit card, you can choose to change the PIN.
3. Install the mobile banking app
The mobile banking app not only helps you in making transactions but also in managing nearly all aspects associated with your credit card. You can avail of the services 24/7, automate your payments, check your card statement and strengthen your credit card security through the app. To set up the mobile banking app, download the mobile banking app of the credit card issuer, follow the prompts and register for the mobile banking services. You might also receive an SMS to complete the verification. Once you submit the OTP, you’ll be prompted to enter the details and create your PIN and password for the application. After you enter that, your activation will be successful.
4. Manage transactional controls
To keep a check on your transactions and to avoid any frauds, you can control and modify the types of transactions that take place, via credit card mobile application or website. You have the option to temporarily block or unblock your card, online transactions, international transactions, and ATM withdrawals. If your credit card is lost or stolen, it is essential that you seize all transactions to prevent any further loss. You can also put a daily limit on the amount that can be transacted if you wish to increase the security of your balance.
5. Learn about the rewards program
All credit cards have a different rewards program. For some credit cards, you get reward points on all transactions while on others you may get it only for specific purchases. Nevertheless, you can discover the rewards associated with your credit card to obtain the maximum benefit. You get reward points on certain transactions and you can redeem these points to get attractive benefits like gift vouchers, discounts, or cash credit.
6. Understand the terms and fees associated with your credit card
If you aren’t aware of the terms related to your credit card, it’s essential to have a brief idea about them when you are just getting started. This helps you stay on track with your credit card and not put yourself in situations that might hurt your pocket. A few key terms to start with are :
- Minimum Payment: It is the minimum amount that you have to pay by the credit card’s due date every month.
- Cash Advance Limit: You can withdraw cash from your credit card up to a certain limit. This limit is decided by the card issuer and is different for different people. Usually cash advance limit is 40% of the credit limit
- Annual Fee: Some credit card issuers charge an annual fee every year that is deducted automatically. If an annual fee is associated with your account, know what’s the amount that will be charged.
7. Set up autopay
You can set up automatic payments to avoid the stress of remembering the dates and payments every month that are to be made towards your credit card. Autopay helps make payments timely and secures you from late payment fees. You’ll also have to make sure that there is enough balance in your bank associated with your autopay so that the payment isn’t canceled.
Learn here: Should You Automate Your Credit Card Payment?
Keep a tab of the features and terms associated with your credit card to use it optimally. Make sure that you use your credit card responsibly and follow practices such as making timely payments, staying under the credit limit, and checking your credit score regularly. This will help you in maintaining a high credit score which helps in establishing your creditworthiness.
Managing your credit card can seem like an overwhelming task but once you set it up properly and monitor your payments on a regular basis, you can manage it effortlessly.