A lot can definitely be said about credit cards — which to choose, how they work, and how to manage them. However, despite the great number of blogs and articles over the internet on these topics, the chances of finding one that you can surely understand and apply to your everyday life is a chance that you may not be so lucky to have.

My dear friend, your search is nearing its end. Here is a credit card basics guide (which you can also consider valuable training, provided you try to live each newly-learned lesson out) that would enlighten you, and not puzzle you.

A common problem that arises in your use of plastic is usually the element of surprise that your credit card bills have for you. Things like late charges, sudden rate increases, grace period changes, and a lot more are some of the things that you are likely to dispute (or grieve about) after reading your credit card bill.

If you plan to file a complaint over these things, chances are, you would be in for great disappointment. You may not know it but your credit card provider actually ‘informed’ you of these things. Surprised? You should have read the fine print!

Surprise #1: Sudden Rate Increases. There is no doubt that you are aware of your initial interest rate. The question is: Are you aware of the reasons that can cause it to skyrocket? Educate yourself some more and read your fine print closely and you would know the answer to this.

Surprise #2: Late Charges and Grace Period Changes. Like the first one, you are surely aware of this but still, nothing prepares you for changes if you are unable to read the fine print carefully. Most credit card companies would state on the fine print that the grace period can change (in the tiniest font size, of course!) and you cannot complain about this if it is there. Therefore, it is your obligation to keep yourself informed to avoid shocking grace period changes and eventually, late charges.

Surprise #3: Transaction Fees. Fees differ, depending on what kind of transactions you make. So, before signing up for a credit card, ask yourself first what you are likely to use it for so you can get a deal that would serve your best interest.

All these surprises can be avoided if and only if you would have the initiative to find out everything that you need to learn about you card. Owning a credit is not all fun anyway — it comes with responsibility.

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