Credit cards represent the best and worst in life. On the one hand, pulling them out of your wallet and sliding them at the store register means you get your hands on what you wanted to buy. On the other hand, you get to curse and swear at the bill that shows up in your mailbox a few weeks later. Read on the find out how to maximize the good while minimizing the bad.

Be safe when giving out your credit card information. If you like to order things online with it, then you have to be sure the website is secure. If you notice charges that you didn’t make, call the customer service number for the credit card company. They can help deactivate your card and make it unusable, until they mail you a new one with a new account number.

If you have the money to do so, pay your entire balance on your credit statement monthly. The best use of credit cards is for convenience to be fully paid within the same billing cycle. Using them will increase your credit rating and paying them off right away will help you avoid any finance fees.

Carefully consider those cards that offer you a zero percent interest rate. It may seem very alluring at first, but you may find later that you will have to pay sky high rates down the road. Learn how long that rate is going to last and what the go-to rate will be when it expires.

Keep an eye on your credit cards even if you don’t use them very often. If your identity is stolen, and you do not regularly monitor your credit card balances, you may not be aware of this. Check your balances at least once a month. If you see any unauthorized uses, report them to your card issuer immediately.

Those of you looking to get a new credit card should limit their search to cards that have low interest rates and do not have an annual fee. It wastes money to have to pay annual fees when there are lots of credit card companies that don’t charge these fees.

If you are having trouble with overspending on your credit card, there are several ways to save it only for emergencies. One of the best ways to do this is to leave the card with a trusted friend. They will only give you the card, if you can convince them you really need it.

Every time you decide to apply for a new credit card, your credit report is checked and an “inquiry” is made. This stays on your credit report for up to two years and too many inquiries, brings your credit score down. Therefore, before you start wildly applying for different cards, research the market first and choose a few select options.

The credit cards in your life can swing both ways. While they can mean the instant gratification of that new item you wanted at the mall, they can also mean a headache in the mail a month later. This article has provided you with ideas on how to reap your rewards without sweating the downside much. Apply what you have learned to excel at both.