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Credit cards can be great, but only if used responsibly.

Due to the current economic climate of the country, more and more Americans are utilizing credit cards. Unfortunately, many are creating levels of credit card debt that are impossible for them to pay off. Rising interest rates and credit card fees only make matters worse and lead to more debt. But if you use a few easy tips and tricks, then you may be able to keep your head above water and utilize credit in a safe and responsible fashion.

One of the easiest things to do is review your credit card terms, interest rate, and fees, then ultimately decide if you should cancel your card and sign up through a different company. There is no shortage of options when it comes to credit, so why pay more when company A when you can get service for less through company B? You should preferably sign up for a card that comes with not only a great rewards program but a hefty sign-up bonus, too.

Whenever possible, pay off the full balance of your card each and every month.

The longer a balance is carried around on your card, the more interest you build up each and every month. Eventually, you may end up paying more in interest than what your purchases are worth. When you pay off your balance at the end of each billing cycle, you pay your debts off before you are able to accumulate substantial interest. If you have multiple cards but can’t pay the balance of all off in full each month, make sure you keep at least one card “clean” by paying it off every billing cycle.

In order to avoid paying your fees and interest charges, you should know your statement closing date. From your statement closing date to the day you have to pay, by law, you will have 21 days to pay interest-free. You should also wait until your cycle has ended to make any big purchases so that you have a whole new month to pay it off in full before the new cycle is over.

If you plan to travel out of the country, make sure to research the terms of using your card off of American soil. Some companies charge fees for foreign purchases and you don’t want to get stuck paying more just because you took a vacation.