Credit cards are both one of the most widely used, and widely abused, financial tools in the U.S. For those of us carrying credit card debt, the average balance is said to be more than $15,600, according to Nerdwallet, a figure that has barely budged since the recession. The troubling part is that many Americans are taught very little about credit and the proper management of credit. 40% of Americans had no idea that their credit history played a role in determining whether they could qualify for new credit, according to a survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America. It was also found that one in four consumers admitted they didn’t know how to effectively improve their credit scores. Millennials are so spooked by credit debt that a nearly 63% say they don’t carry a credit card at all according to Bankrate.com.
When used properly, credit can be a powerful tool to build up your finances. Here are a few ways you may be using plastic the wrong way: