Credit cards offer a variety of perks that entice and appeal to individuals. Many of the things offered are temporary and are meant to attract customers initially to the card, like introductory low interest rates. However, once you start using the card, some of these perks taper off. The one big advantage of credit cards and the thing that keeps many people using them over and over is the grace period.
The credit card grace period is the time between when you receive your credit card bill and when the payment is due. It is typically a three week window of time, however some cards have a four week period before payment is due. If you combine this with the point in the billing cycle that you made your purchase, you may have from three weeks to almost two months before you have to pay. Buying now and paying later is very appealing to many.
Getting the Maximum Benefit from the Credit Card Grace Period
Many credit card users use their credit cards for the sheer convenience of them, paying them off in full each month. These individuals are getting the maximum benefit from the credit card grace period, as they are keeping their own money in the bank and using the card to fund a variety of purchases while their money earns interest, albeit with today’s economy it earns very little. When the credit card bill comes, they pay it, never incurring interest fees. If you have the discipline and the means to use your credit card in this fashion, you will get the biggest benefits from using it.
A tip to help you get the most from the credit card grace period is to track spending, billing dates and payment due dates diligently. Put a plan in place for addressing your bills on a timely basis, so you never have late fees and always pay on your credit card on a timely basis. Be sure to schedule online payments about a week in advance, as most payment systems will not let you make a timely payment if it is too close to the due date. If you pay by check, remember that the credit card issuer must receive the check by the due date. Postmarks alone will not be credited. Keep this in mind if you are mailing payments near holiday dates.
Knowing When There is No Grace Period
As the owner of a credit card, it is your responsibility to know the terms of the card you are using. Therefore, it is wise to read the information that comes with your card in the beginning and any special notices that are sent to you concerning changes in the terms and conditions of the card. While you may think you know how the grace period works and how you can delay paying for things by using your credit card, there are situations where there is no grace period.
If you get cash advances, there is no grace period. Interest begins to accrue immediately. There may also be extra fees associated with cash advances that you are not aware of unless you read the fine print. Unless you have a special introductory rate, balance transfers usually start accruing interest right away also. In addition, if you are already carrying a balance on your credit card, many credit card companies drop the grace period for new purchases, meaning you are paying interest on those new purchases right away, as well as the old balance.
Getting the Right Card
Finding the right credit card to meet your needs is important. Seek out a card that fits the type of credit card spending you usually do. Rewards cards and other cards that offer perks but have higher interest rates are good choices for those who are disciplined and able to pay off their card every month. If that is not your typical pattern, gravitate towards cards that have lower interest rates, as you may be paying more of them than you plan to. The grace period is a great part of every credit card agreement, but you may not be getting the benefit from it as much as you think.
To find the perfect card to fit your needs, use the consumer card tracker above. Simply answer a few questions that the Chaser tool will ask and in no time you will have a variety of great credit card options to choose from. Put the free Credit Card Chaser tool to work for you now!
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