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    Managing your credit card

    Standard Chartered Bank

    At Standard Chartered, we are committed to giving you useful and relevant advice that gives you valuable insights into planning, building and protecting your future. In this article, we will share with you some tips to make the most of your credit card, a great money management tool when used wisely.

    KEEPING YOUR CREDIT CARD SAFE

    While the credit card industry continues to develop better and more effective methods to fight fraud, one of the best ways to combat the problem is to stay vigilant at all times. Here are some ways to reduce the possibility of fraudulent use of your card:

    • Sign your new card immediately when you receive it
    • Look after your cards as if they were cash
    • Ensure that your wallets and bags are not left unattended
    • Check regularly to ensure no cards are missing
    • Ensure that the card bearing your embossed name and account number is returned after the completion of every transaction
    • Report lost or stolen cards as soon as discovered
    • Do not lend your card to anyone
    • Check transaction receipts for the correct charges before signing for them
    • Be alert of cashier processing your credit card transaction out-of-sight
    • Be alert of cashier swiping your card through another device besides the terminal, and/or cash register
    • Never sign a blank, incomplete or altered transaction receipt. Do not forget to destroy any altered transaction receipt

    UNDERSTANDING YOUR CARD BENEFITS

    Using credit cards gives you a number of benefits that you don’t get when paying with cash or cheques. Make sure you are fully aware of these benefits so that you take advantage of them.

    Going shopping but don’t want the risk of carrying too much cash? Your credit card will serve as a convenient payment tool as it is widely accepted both locally and overseas. It also allows you to have access to cash virtually anywhere in the world to meet emergency needs.

    Most credit cards reward you with loyalty or reward points when you use your credit card.

    The actual points vary with each card issuer. These points may be accumulated and subsequently redeemed for a variety of rewards such as hotel stays, shopping vouchers, air miles etc. A good reward programme that suits your needs are an added advantage as you receive a benefit for your spending that could carry an overall cost saving factor to you such as when you convert your points for shopping vouchers or air miles.

    Many credit cards also offer discounts and other special offers for example 30 per cent off your dining bill. Look out for such discounts as it could save you money if you dine out often. Besides points gained with your normal purchases, most credit cards also allow you to put your monthly subscriptions like your mobile phone bills and insurance payments on your credit card bill, so you can earn additional reward points. Doing so also helps you better manage your bill payment.

    Many card issuers offer interest-free installment plans at a wide range of merchants, sometimes with a very minimal fee. So, before you make a major purchase, ask if your retailer offers the option to convert your purchase into interest-free installments. Do bear in mind that you will need to have sufficient funds to pay for the future installments and it’s wise not to spend beyond your ability to repay. Effective use of these installment plans can be cost effective and helps in cash flow management.

    Enjoy travelling? Then it may benefit you to know that many credit cards give you free travel insurance coverage if you charge your full ticket fare to your credit card. Some credit cards also include free coverage against accidental loss or damage for purchases made, subject to certain limitations. Plus, you may also have access to discounts and privileges overseas.

    As mentioned earlier, most card issuers leverage sophisticated fraud prevention software to help them detect unusual card activity, such as a sudden foreign purchase or purchase of unusually large amount. The issuer may then call you to confirm that you indeed have made the purchase in question. It is a good practice to inform your card issuer whenever you plan to travel overseas, so that foreign transactions on your card are anticipated.

    GOOD CREDIT

    It is important to maintain a good credit record and here are a few simple rules to help you manage your credit effectively:

    • Pay in full if possible or at least the minimum payment due, on time every month. Consider having the repayment automatically deducted from your deposit account each month.
    • Don’t spread yourself too thin by using too many credit cards or credit lines.
    • Notify creditors when you move to a new address to ensure that your bills arrive on time and your meet repayment deadlines.

    Most importantly, don’t over-borrow and live within your means. Used wisely, your credit card can be a powerful money management tool as it features detailed tracking on all transactions through your card statement in addition to the many other benefits that comes with a credit card.

    This article is for general information purposes only and while the information in it is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by us. You are advised to exercise your own independent judgement with the contents in this article.

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