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1. Don’t overspend

Credit card is an alternative means of payment which makes payment very convenient, especially online payment. With a credit card, you can slim your bulky wallet . Indeed, most of the time, what you need is merely a cardholder. That being said, the temptation to pay instantly with credit cards can be very hard to resist. There exists a much higher risk of overspending than the era before its invention. There are two major reasons. Very often, monthly credit card limits are set higher than your monthly income and we usually possess more than one credit card. Also, since actual cash outflow is deferred, it's easy to forget that you are still spending money. If you do not keep track of your spending regularly, it is not uncommon for cardholders to discover at the end of the day that they are spending a lot more than what they can afford.

Overspending can be detrimental to your finance management. If you are unable to repay your credit card debts on time, you run the risk of having to pay a very high interest rate computed daily on a compounding basis. This will also lower your credit score which in turn affects your ability to borrow bank loan at a low interest rate in the future, amongst other things.

Prevention is better than cure. Set a budget and plan your spending now. Start with your monthly income, subtract necessary expenses such as rent, food or transport to find your usable income before you give allowance for other expenses. Set a goal, track your spending and adjust your budget. Let's see how much you can save each month. Don’t wait until it is too late!

2. Automate payment

Different credit cards have their own statement date and due date. Unless you pay off your debts immediately once you receive your statement, you will have to remember so many different due dates. Although you can easily mark them on your calendar and even call your bank to change all due dates to the same one, a more convenient alternative is to automate your payment. By doing so, you don’t even have to pay off your debts manually every month.

But do remember to make sure that your saving account has sufficient funds at all times. And always keep track of your credit card statement regularly to avoid late payments.

As a side point, if you desire greater convenience in making other type payments as well, such as rent or salaries, automate bill payment is also available on Reap even if the recipients do not take credit cards.

3. Select the best credit cards for you

There are so many different credit cards out there, do you know which suits you the most? How can you get the most out of your credit cards?

Indeed, it depends a lot on your expenditure patterns. If you enjoy online shopping, you may want to go for credit cards that provide extra rewards for online transactions. If you like travelling, you may prefer cards that have attractive plan for miles or extra cashback for foreign transactions. You may also want to consider cards that provide huge discounts to your favourite restaurants or stores. Affinity cards may be a wise choice. In choosing a credit card, you can conveniently refer to online comparison platforms such as gobear which provides the latest information on credit cards offers.

But before that, there is one essential thing that you must first do: identify and understand your expenditure patterns. And this is not static. It gradually changes alongside your changing lifestyle and preferences. Wish to have a better idea of how you spend your money across lifespan? Personal finance management platform such as Gini may be of assistance to you.

4. When you can use credit card, don’t use cash

Unlike countries such as South Korea, Canada or Norway where credit card dominates, in Hong Kong, cash is still the mainstream. Recent development of mobile payment helps to promote credit card usage as its complement. However, due to transaction costs and other reasons, not all businesses are willing to set up a credit card system. Fortunately, business practice is evolving as more suppliers realize the convenience and benefits that credit card system could bring to them.

But sometimes, we as the payee ourselves, tend to forget that we can indeed pay with credit cards since the default in this society has long been cash. The younger generation may not find it difficult to build such awareness but what about your parents and your grandparents? Spend a few seconds to check if that shop accepts credit cards before you pay. Simply by that, you can gain rewards and miles following a more frequent usage of credit cards.

What’s more? Even if unfortunately the recipient does not take credit cards, there is still a way out with Reap.

1. 不要超支

信用卡的出現,令付款變得十分方便,特別是在線上購物的時候。有了信用卡,你的錢包必定會輕了幾圈。很多時候,只要有一個cardholder,你就能夠輕鬆出門了。話雖如此,使用信用卡付款的引誘有時會大得令人難以抵抗。比起還未有信用卡的年代,超支的風險大了很多。主要原因有兩個。首先,每月的信用額通常都比持卡者的月入高,而且一個人通常會有好幾張信用卡。另外,延遲付款令人失去花費的實感。如果你沒有定期留意支出的話,很容易就會超支,花費遠超於你財政上可以承擔的消費額,變成「先洗未來錢」。

這種情況對你的財務管理有害無益。如果你不能按時還清卡數,更需要支付按日計算的循環利息,債務越滾越大。這也會令你的信貸評級下降,日後銀行未必願意以低息借錢給你。

預防勝於治療。現在開始打造一份屬於你的財政預算案吧。由你的月入開始,扣除必要的花費,例如租金、食物、交通費等,看看你有多少可用收入,下一步才計劃其他花費。訂立一個儲蓄目標,留意你的實際花費,再修改你的預算。看看你每個月能夠存下多少積蓄吧。不要等到需要資金的時候才後悔莫及!

2. 自動化繳費

不同的信用卡有各自的截數日和還款日。除非你一收到月結單就立刻付款,否則就要一直記著好幾個不同的還款日。雖說你可以在日程表上記低這些日子,甚至致電銀行更改截數日至同一天,但另一個更方便的方法就是申請自動轉帳,連清還卡數的功夫也省下了,一了百了。

自動轉帳方便是方便,但你要確保你的儲蓄戶口有足夠的存款。另外,也要記得查閱你的月結單,確保你已經按時還款,不然,銀行就會收取逾時還款的手續費。

題外話:如果你想在繳交其他費用時(例如租金、薪水等)也使用自動轉帳,可以考慮Reap的服務。即使收款人不接受信用卡,你也可以通過Reap,定期以信用卡繳費

3. 選擇適合你的信用卡

市面上的信用卡那麼多,那一張最適合你?你該怎樣做,才可以善用信用卡的優惠?

這就要視乎你的消費習慣了。如果你喜歡網上購物,可以考慮在網上購物時可以賺取更多積分的信用卡。如果你喜歡旅行,可以申請一些在賺取里數和海外簽賬上有優惠的信用卡。如果你最喜歡的餐廳或店舖和銀行合作推出了聯營卡,也是一個不錯的選擇。通常聯營卡的優惠更多。選擇信用卡的時候,你可以參考網上比較平台例如gobear等,它們提供信用卡的最新資訊,令人一目了然。

但要作出明智的選擇,你有一件很重要的事需要做:就是了解你的消費習慣而消費習慣是並非靜止不變的。你需要定期留意自己生活習慣或喜好上的轉變。想更了解你在不同人生階段的消費習慣?個人理財app例如gini等,這時候就大派用場了。

4. 可以用信用卡的時候,不要用現金

如果你居住在南韓、加拿大、挪威等國家的話,已經很少需要用到現金付款了。但在香港,現金依然是主要的付款模式。近年來,電子錢包大行其道,連帶信用卡的使用也變得更加頻繁。可惜,因為成本等原因,不是所有商鋪也會接受信用卡付款。幸好的是,越來越多店舖開始了解到收取信用卡對他們的好處,漸漸改用這種新的模式。

需要留意的是,有時候,我們作為消費者,反會忘記自己其實可以使用信用卡付款。當然,這也情有可原。畢竟在香港,付款一向都是以現金為主。要改變付款方式,對於新一代而言未必困難,但你的父母或祖父母卻未必習慣。付款之前,花一兩秒的時間,看看這間店鋪是否收取信用卡吧!只需培養這個簡單的習慣,你就可以得到使用信用卡帶來的回贈和里數。

另外,即使店舖不收取信用卡,也不是別無他法:考慮一下使用Reap的服務吧

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