There can be no doubt that credit cards have the potential to be either useful financial vehicles or dangerous temptations that undermine your financial future. In order to make credit cards work for you, it is important to understand how to use them intelligently. Keep these tips in mind, and a solid financial future can be yours.

If you have credit cards be sure to check your monthly statements thoroughly for errors. Everyone makes errors, and this applies to credit card companies as well. To prevent from paying for something you did not purchase you should save your receipts through the month and then compare them to your statement.

Pay your minimum payment on time each month, to avoid more fees. If you can afford to, pay more than the minimum payment so that you can reduce the interest fees. Just be sure to pay the minimum amount before the due date.

Take the time to play around with numbers. Before you go out and put a pair of fifty dollar shoes on your credit card, sit with a calculator and figure out the interest costs. It may make you second-think the idea of buying those shoes that you think you need.

Do not use one credit card to pay off the amount owed on another until you check and see which one has the lowest rate. While this is never considered the best thing to do financially, you can occasionally do this to make sure you are not risking getting further into debt.

If you have several credit cards with balances on each, consider transferring all of your balances to one, lower-interest credit card. Almost everyone gets mail from various banks offering low or even zero balance credit cards if you transfer your current balances. These lower interest rates usually last for 6 months or a year. You can save a lot of interest and have one lower payment each month!

There are many different kinds of credit cards that each come with their own pros and cons. Before you settle on a bank or specific credit card to use, be sure to understand all of the fine print and hidden fees related to the different credit cards you have available to you.

If you can’t get a credit card because of a spotty credit record, then take heart. There are still some options that may be quite workable for you. A secured credit card is much easier to get and may help you rebuild your credit record very effectively. With a secured card, you deposit a set amount into a savings account with a bank or lending institution – often about $500. That amount becomes your collateral for the account, which makes the bank willing to work with you. You use the card as a normal credit card, keeping expenses under that limit. As you pay your monthly bills responsibly, the bank may decide to raise your limit and eventually convert the account to a traditional credit card.

Credit cards can offer convenience, flexibility and control when used appropriately. If you want to understand the role credit cards can play in a smart financial plan, you need to take the time to research the topic thoroughly. The advice in this piece offers a great starting point for building a secure financial profile.