Use Your Card

Using your credit card responsibly means knowing the places where it's accepted and when to pay it off.

Getting Set Up

Make sure that you're set up to succeed with the new card by configuring the tools and settings to easily stay on top of your activity. 

When Your Card Arrives

Activate It

A label inside the envelope or on the card itself will contain a phone number or URL to verify your card info and begin using it.

Create a Profile

Track your spending on your phone or computer by creating a profile for your account on the issuer's website or mobile app.

Go Paperless

Instead of dealing with paper statements, monitor your bill digitally to avoid the confusion that comes with mail delays.

Set Account Alerts

Issuers' apps allow you to set and customize alerts for daily spending, potential fraud and payment reminders. 

Consider Auto-Pay

If your checking account sustains a stable balance, consider linking it to your card, so the bill is paid automatically each month.


Think of your card as an extension of your checking account

If you see your credit card as separate from your checking account, you're much more likely to run into cash shortfalls that prevent you from paying the entire bill.
Instead, think of your credit card and the balance you carry on it as a reflection of your total net worth. App like FinDIY help you see your full financial picture in one place so you don't overspend.

The First Month Using It

Once you've activated your card, you'll begin the first billing cycle, which begins with a $0 balance and ends with a statement that reflects your card activity from that month.

Where to Use Your Card

In Stores

While most retailers accept card, you may have to spend a minimum amount (ex. $5) to use it, due to the fees stores are charged by issuers.


To pay with a card online, you'll need to enter the 16-digit card number, expiration date and security code (CVV) at checkout.

In Apps

Apps like Uber and Postmates will typically collect your credit card information at signup, so that it can be instantly charged going forward.

Where NOT to Use It

Paying Friends

Unless your friend is willing to cover the 2% to 3% fee charged by issuers for accepting their card as payment, stick with a bank account.

Paying Rent

Landlords usually require tenants to absorb credit card acceptance fees for paying by card, which can be substantial for rent.

Paying Other Bills

Like landlords, other billers add credit card acceptance fees onto the bill total, with the notable exception being cellular providers.

When to Pay Your Bill

Billing Period

The cycle concludes with a statement that reflects the prior cycle's balance plus the purchases and payments made in that cycle.

Grace Period

Instead of paying your bill right on the cycle end date, you are afforded a grace period if you didn't carry a balance in the prior cycle.

Statement Due Date

The balance shown on your statement is due at the end of the grace period, which tends to be between 21 and 25 days.

You're ready to do it yourself.

Do Personal Finance Yourself.

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