Education, Tips & Techniques

Unspoken rules they don’t explain when you open a credit card

Long-term financial wellness is the goal.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Mar 8, 2022

When I moved into my own apartment last year, I underestimated the costs it would take to furnish a two-bedroom alone. There’s a couch, desk, multiple chairs, bed frame, mattress, bedding, pillows, hangers, kitchenware, rugs, curtains, and a plethora of other items I still haven’t gotten to.


To make this process a bit easier on my bank account and prevent paycheck-to-paycheck living, I opened up my first credit card. I won’t share the name, but there are a lot of things I wish I knew before racking up thousands of dollars furnishing my flat. And I’m not alone—Americans carry an average of $6,194 credit debt a year—and with the trauma from the pandemic, that number could very well go up.


It’s time to reevaluate our finances and make good use of our credit cards. But most importantly, make a plan to get the balance out of the way. In efforts to make your life easier, I am sharing the sneaky little unspoken rules that credit cards neglect to share to get our coins. Hopefully, you read this before you’re in too deep. And if you are, that’s okay too.


Don’t use your credit card for anything you can’t pay in full

Something I never understood that is probably common knowledge: Pay your credit in full, every single month. That’s right, every month. No exceptions. If you don’t bring in enough income and can’t meet this obligation, then don’t get a credit card.


Say you have $4,000 on the card, that amount should be paid by the next cycle. If not, interest is charged on top of it. The best advice I can give you is: Treat your credit card like cash. If you don’t have $4,000 in cash, don’t think you do in credit.


Never ever pay your rent via credit card

Thankfully, I have never even thought to do this but after much research, I discovered this was a common solution for people with high rent. Your landlord or property management company might allow you to charge your monthly rent or mortgage on a credit card, but seriously, pause before you do so.


Yes, it’s an easy way to rack up extra reward points, but more often than not, it will come with a 2% to 3% processing fee that will delete all the benefits. It’s vital to know all the hidden costs or processing fees that come along with it before charging.


Need more credit advice? Here’s how to build credit quickly and how to improve your credit score without a credit card.