With the way the economy is these days, you really need to be smart about how you spend every penny. Credit cards are a great way to make purchases you may not otherwise be able to, but when not used properly, they can get you into financial trouble real quickly. Read on for some great tips for using your credit cards wisely.

Have a clear understanding of all the terms involved with your credit card before signing on the dotted line. You could discover the interest rate, fees, and payment schedule are a lot more than you anticipated them to be. Read its entire policy, including the fine print.

Anytime you apply for a credit card, you should always familiarize yourself with the terms of service that comes along with it. This will allow you to know what you can and cannot use your card for, as well as, any fees that you might possibly incur in different situations.

If you are having a problem getting a credit card, consider a secured account. A secured credit card will require you to open a savings account before a card is issued. If you ever default on a payment, the money from that account will be used to pay off the card and any late fees. This is a good way to begin establishing credit, so that you have opportunities to get better cards in the future.

Know your credit history before applying for new cards. The new card’s credit limit and interest rate will depend on how bad or good your credit history is. Avoid any surprises by getting a report on your credit from each of the three credit agencies once a year. You can get it free once per year from AnnualCreditReport.com, a government-sponsored agency.

Keep one low-limit card in your wallet for emergency expenses only. All other cards should be kept at home, to avoid impulse buys that you can’t really afford. If you need a card for a large purchase, you will have to knowingly get it from your home and take it with you. This will give you extra time to think about what you are buying.

Many people, especially when they are younger, feel like credit cards are a type of free money. The fact is, they are exactly the opposite, paid money. Remember, every time you use your credit card, you are basically taking out a micro-loan with incredibly high interest. Never forget that you must repay this loan.

Do your research on the best rewards cards. Whether you are interested in cash back, gifts, or airline miles, there is a rewards card that can really benefit you. There are many out there, but there is a lot of information available online to help you find the right one. Be careful to not carry a balance on these rewards cards, as the interest you are paying can negate the positive rewards effect!

As stated previously, you really have no choice but to be a smart consumer who does his or her homework in this economy. Everything just seems so unpredictable and precarious that the slightest change could topple any person’s financial world. Hopefully, this article has you on the right path in terms of using credit cards the right way!