Following the top credit card do’s and avoiding the don’ts can help credit card shoppers and credit card users avoid costly mistakes.

Do review your needs before applying for a new credit card.  When looking at new credit card offers, first ask yourself why?  Why do you need a credit card and what will use the credit for.  By assessing your needs, it will be easier to review the credit card offer or offers that best match your lifestyle, budget, and spending habits.  Just because one card is popular does not make it the right card for your wallet.

Do read the credit card offers and all of the terms and conditions.  Low credit card rates are great but, if the card has an exorbitant annual fee to go with that rate, where’s the value.  Credit card rewards seem to be everywhere, but they frequently come with conditions that may not work well with your spending habits.  Credit card shoppers and users should do enough research to make sure they are receiving the best offer for their needs.  With the abundance of credit cards available in today’s market, reading the terms and conditions is important to find the right card and avoid the duds.

Do choose a card based on your credit score and credit history.  The chances of getting approved for a new credit card are greatly increased if the card you apply for is one that has a credit profile requirement or range of credit scores that closely matches yours.  By comparing credit card statistics and reviews, you can get a better understanding of what credit profile goes with a particular credit card offer.

Do pay attention to how you use your credit card.  Be mindful of the amount being charged on your card or cards, watch the timing and amount of the monthly payments, and try to keep an eye on the credit utilization rate.  A good credit history has been increasingly important for consumers searching or new credit access and it certainly impacts credit costs.  Cardholders should try and keep their overall credit card balances under 30 percent of their available credit limits, the credit utilization rate.  A low credit utilization amount will help build a good credit score and keep the credit card debt at a manageable level.

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