Dealing with credit card shock

It’s easy to lose control of your spending during the holidays

News Canada

It’s easy to lose control of your spending during the holidays. But you don’t have to feel a shock when you open your credit card bills.

Here are some money management tips to keep your credit card bill in check:

• If you carry a balance on your credit card, pay as much as you can and as soon as you can since interest is charged daily.

Try to pay more than the minimum payment.

Credit card interest rates can quickly eat up any savings from a discount price on a big-ticket purchase.

The Government of Canada’s credit card payment calculator at ItPaysToKnow.gc.ca will show you how long it will take to pay off your credit card balance if you only make the minimum payment each month.

• Set a budget for gift spending before you start shopping—a budget for each person on your list as well as a total limit for all gifts, and stick to your budget.

• Don’t take cash advances on your credit card, as you will be charged interest immediately.

• Allow enough time for payments to reach your credit card company.

If you don’t, you may end up making a late payment, which could mean paying more interest. It could also negatively affect your credit rating.

• When your statement arrives, check it carefully.

Report any unauthorized transactions immediately.

This is especially important during this time of year since credit card fraud often occurs during the holiday season.

• If you can’t pay off your entire balance by the due date, pay as much as you can.

More information is available online at ItPaysToKnow.gc.ca.