Tips For Using Credit and Charge Cards

Written by Paul Richard - Institute of Consumer Financial Education, Executive Director

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1. Reduce the number of cards you carry and use just one or two. (Optional: Place credit card warning labels on front of credit cards.)
2. Use credit cards only for essential purchases.
3. Return all unwanted credit cards, cut up into pieces, to the card issuer.
4. Keep unused cards in a safe place.
5. Carry credit cards separately from your wallet or purse.
6. Keep your card in view whenever you hand it to a merchant.
7. Destroy carbon papers on receipts.
8. Never lend your cards to anyone.
9. Promptly report questionable charges.
10. Avoid signing blank charge vouchers.
11. Don't give card numbers out over the phone on calls you didn't originate.
12. Enter charge purchases in your checkbook register as though they were a check.
13. If your cards are stolen or lost, call the card issuer(s) immediately. Most issuers have toll-free numbers for reporting missing cards and usually maintain 24 hour service. The law says once you make a report of the missing card(s) you have no further liability - in fact your maximum liability is $50 per card for unauthorized charges. If you suspect someone of using your account number write the issuer via certified mail. Only a letter protects your rights under the law.