You have decided to take the plunge after years of trying to live within your means. Possibly you had been warned off getting a credit card by well-meaning folks who did not want to see you entangled in a web of unmanageable debt.

Or you could be on your first job after college, enjoying the independence of living on your own paycheck. The perks of entry-level jobs being limited, and with no savings to bank on, a credit card may seem the only way to get furnishings for your apartment. And as you use your credit card, you begin building a good credit score that will help you secure a future mortgage on favorable terms.

Handy and liberating as a credit card can be, it can become a financial burden that can keep you from achieving your short and long-term goals. To ensure your credit card helps you realize your goals instead, here are some pitfalls you should avoid when signing up.

1. Not Reading Terms

 In the excitement of receiving their credit card for the first time, many cardholders overlook the fine print hidden in the terms and conditions. Credit card issuers are required by law to make these clauses plain to potential buyers before they sign up. But they will usually magnify the benefits and the so-called freebies you will enjoy while downplaying the fees and interest rates you will incur.

Often the interest rate and other elements of your credit card are likely to change over time. This is because a tiny clause in terms of most cards gives the vendor the right to tweak the APR as long as they inform the cardholder within a certain period. Late payments on your credit card can also give your vendor the leeway to penalize you with a higher interest rate.

2. Applying For The First One You See

There are many types of credit cards available for the potential first-time cardholder. Before settling on any credit card, be sure you have fully assessed the options. A credit card is marketed as a student’s or starter card doesn’t necessarily make it ideal for you. Your end goal should determine your choice of credit card.

A clear understanding should inform it of three key elements; the interest rate, credit card fees and the grace period allowed before interest kicks in. Besides an annual fee, you may incur other charges depending on your credit card usage. Different credit card vendors will have different grace periods for their products. Repaying a purchase within the grace period will help you make savings on interest charges.

3. Not Searching Enough

 Taking the first credit card, you see in an ad or recommended to you may make you miss out on great benefits. A number of credit cards offer the holders cash back or have a system in which they can accumulate points depending on their usage of the card. Others will allow you to enjoy great discounts whenever you shop at designated retailers.

Credit cards can enable you to build your credit rating for when you need to make that major purchase in the future. But they can also help you repair your credit rating if you have had challenges with loans in the past. If you know how to use 500 credit score credit cards you can rebuild your credit profile while achieving your financial goals.

4. Frequent Applications

Having more than one credit card is not necessarily bad; it may help you realize your financial goals faster while simultaneously enjoying multiple benefits and rewards. But if you apply for more credit cards than you can manage to pay for on your income, you may be setting yourself up for difficult financial times.

While multiple credit cards can boost your credit rating and increase the amount of credit you can access, it can also have the opposite effect. Applying for a new card within six months of getting your previous card can lower your score when your age credit accounts is considered.

Look Left, Look Right Before You Cross

Being a credit card owner can unlock a new world of possibilities that you may not be able to achieve by relying solely on your income. However, you must ensure you have your facts right and are fully aware of what you’re signing up for before committing yourself. Consider as many options as possible and acquaint yourself with the terms and conditions of each card before you sign the dotted line.

By Manali