Americans are using credit cards more than ever before, especially for day-to-day purchases. Many people carry little or no cash, since the cards can be used to buy almost anything. They're convenient, most offer at least some fraud protection, they help organize your monthly spending and with many cards, you earn rewards with each purchase. It all sounds good, but there are some ways of using a credit card that can backfire, costing you more money than you need to spend.
As Yahoo Finance explains, paying utilities with your card might cost more in the long run, if your utility providers charge a convenience fee for paying with credit. Paying college tuition, even a portion of it, on a card doesn't make sense when there are so many options with lower interest available. Charging business startup expenses to a card may prove costly if you aren't able to pay off those debts quickly. And cash advances from credit cards often come with very high interest rates.
To help your readers/listeners/viewers learn more about how to use credit cards wisely and not get trapped paying more than they should, interview credit counselors in your area, who can talk about how interest charges, fees and other costs can impact the bottom line. They can offer alternative strategies for making purchases, including other forms of loans, and can suggest ways to pay off debts more quickly.
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Tara Lynn Wagner of NY1 News entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with her ongoing series of reports about personal finance issues and consumer rights.