Make credit work for you
Some folks are just crazy about credit cards, lauding their convenience in paying for everyday products and services, including gas, groceries, clothing, and everything in between. Others, of course, declare that credit cards trap consumers in a never-ending debt spiral. In all fairness, credit cards aren’t “good” or “bad.” It all depends on how you use them.
It’s the savvy consumer who knows how to make their credit card work for — and not against — them. If you’re considering adding a new credit card to your wallet, you’ll want to check out our GOLD Credit Card. Low on fees and without sneaky gimmicks like teaser rates, our GOLD Credit Card reflects the same qualities as the Credit Union itself: fairness, transparency, and stability.
If it’s been awhile since you applied for a credit card, here’s a refresher on how the process works. You’ll complete our online application, which takes just a few minutes. When assessing your application, we’ll review your credit score and monthly income. In some cases, you can get approved online instantly!
Upon approval, we’ll assign you a credit limit, or the maximum amount you can charge within a given period of time. Having a high income, excellent credit, and little debt are key factors in qualifying for a high credit limit.
You’ll receive your GOLD Credit Card in the mail and then activate it, which you can do easily through Online Banking. And, just like that, you’ve supercharged your personal spending power!
Secure the best rate and terms
Before applying for a credit card, it's essential to understand the terms of your agreement. Each credit provider offers different deals, so you'll want to find the best fit for your financial situation. Pay special attention to the following factors:
- Annual fee: An annual fee is a fee charged each year to use your credit card.
- APR: APR is an acronym for Annual Percentage Rate. This rate determines how much interest you must pay to borrow money if you borrowed it over a period of a year — and it's a great way to compare rates between financial institutions. A lower APR means you pay less interest.
- Grace period: An account's grace period is the time you have to repay new charges without having to pay interest on the new balance. If you pay your balance in full each month, which is recommended, you'll need to worry little about your interest rate.
- Other fees: You may incur additional fees for making a payment late, exceeding your credit limit, receiving additional copies of your monthly statement, or ordering a replacement card, for instance.
Here at GOLD Credit Union, we're committed to eliminating unnecessary fees and gimmicks. With a GOLD Credit Card, you’ll encounter no introductory fees, annual fees, or teaser rates. You'll enjoy instant borrowing power with a variable rate as low as 5.75 percent APR*. Unlike with other credit cards, you’ll pay no fees for cash advances or balance transfers.
*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. All applicants applying for a GOLD Credit Card will be reviewed for creditworthiness. If approved, the rate and the credit line granted are subject to the Credit Union’s underwriting guidelines. The APR is equal to Prime Rate plus a margin and will never be greater than 18% and is subject to change monthly.
Borrowing and repaying with your card
When adding a new credit card to your wallet, it’s essential to stick to a responsible purchasing strategy. After all, your credit score is on the line! By swiping strategically, you can avoid impulse purchases and keep your credit utilization — how much credit you use versus how much total credit you have available — low. You’ll find your GOLD Credit Card can be an excellent tool for building your credit and for budgeting for your monthly expenses.
Security is, of course, also important. Your GOLD Credit Card is equipped with EMV chip technology. The chip generates a one-time-use code at any chip-activated pay terminal, making fraudulent retail purchases virtually impossible. That said, we still recommend keeping your card private in public and following digital best practices to keep your devices and networks with online access secure.
When it comes to repayment, we encourage our Members to pay off their balance each month to enjoy all of the benefits of a credit card without interest charges. Avoid carrying a balance, whenever possible. If you can't pay your full balance, decide how much you can realistically put toward it.
At the very least, you should aim to pay the minimum payment given on the statement. Doing so will help you avoid late fees, higher interest rates, and other penalty charges. Even missing one payment can have a negative impact on your credit score.
At GOLD Credit Union, we make paying your monthly bill easy. Our most popular option is to set up an automatic transfer linked to your GOLD Savings or Checking account. Of course, you can use Online Banking or stop by a branch as well — whatever is most convenient for you.
Requesting a credit limit increase
If you use your credit card responsibly, the lender will periodically raise your credit limit. Why does this matter? Of course, this gives you the option to make larger purchases on your credit card. More importantly, however, it's good news for your credit score!
An increased credit limit will often decrease your credit utilization. For example, if you have a credit limit of $1,000 and charge $950 to your credit card, you're at 95 percent credit utilization. If your credit limit is $1,900 and you charge that same $950 to your credit card, then your credit utilization will be only 50 percent.
Most experts recommend you maintain a credit utilization that's below 30 percent. As your credit utilization decreases, your credit score is likely to then increase. When you need to finance a larger purchase, such as a new car or home, down the line, you'll qualify for lower interest rates.
Our Loan Officers would be happy to discuss your current credit limit and how you can use credit to help reach your financial goals. Call 484-223-4216 to get in touch.