Tips on keeping an emergency credit card

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Tips on keeping an emergency credit card

Postby RebelGamer137 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:37 pm

I have been approved for a second credit card when I plan on only using during an emergency. I got a second student card from Bank of America. I did this since I plan on buying a computer with my existing credit card. I would just like a back up card to have if I am low on money and need food. Anything I should do? Would it harm my credit and all if I have a credit card and just not use it or should I occasionally make small purchases on it and pay them off quickly?

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Postby mathman314 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:57 pm

If I were in that situation, I would make small purcases and make small purchases on your emergency card. I recommend paying it off right after you physically recieve your statement as opposed to right away. If you live in a dorm and your statement goes elsewhere (like in my case), I would keep track as to when you would recieve your statement, and then pay it off at that designated date.
For example, I know I recieve one of my statements on the 15th or so, so I pay that card off on the 16th.
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Postby CarolM » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:34 pm

Payment protection for charge cards seems like a good option, as it is insurance in case one can't pay their credit card bill. However, people should stay away, as it's generally a waste of cash. It could cost you a cash advance to pay for the protection plan.

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Postby djrez4 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:42 pm

Keeping a card and not using it will not harm your credit.

Getting a second card to use if you are low on money, however, is a recipe for disaster. Credit shouldn't be treated as a loan to float you until payday (or however you receive money) or as a means to spend beyond your income.

The general rule for safe credit use is: if you don't have the money in your bank account to pay off a purchase on the card, don't use the card to make the purchase.
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Postby JoDa » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:31 am

You should use the card at least every 6 months to avoid cancellation from inactivity, ideally slightly more often. One way to do this quick and easy is to put a small recurring charge on the card. Say, something like Netflix or Hulu that runs you <$10/month. And then set the card up for automatic payment. So you never have to remember to use it OR pay it off.
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:05 am

I personally disagree with the whole autopilot mode. I want control over who gets paid what when.

Those bills can change as well. But I simply never want anyone having license to just take what they please from my account. To me that is a horrible idea.

Next, you STILL have to monitor the account activity for fraud. You only have up to 90 days to spot it. If you don't report it within that time, YOU are on the hook for whatever the crooks stole, not to mention your credit taking a hit as you pay for their theft in another way as well.

I've found the lazy way all too often in life ends up costing me more time and energy and money than just doing things right. Sometimes I still slip and take the lazy route, and I nearly always end up sorry I did. YMMV but that's how it is for me.

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Postby takeshi » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:53 pm

RebelGamer137 wrote:Would it harm my credit and all if I have a credit card and just not use it or should I occasionally make small purchases on it and pay them off quickly?

No -- just confirm with your creditor what minimum activity is required to avoid closure.

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