Did you know that you can improve your credit score with the wise use of credit cards? Credit cards can help you build or restore your credit rating. As long as you pay your bills on time and use only a portion of your credit limit you are working hard at improving your credit scores. Using less than 30 percent of your available credit limit is good, but using less than 10 percent of your available credit limit is optimal.

Another piece of information that you need when reassessing your credit is knowing that credit report information is frequently used by employers, insurance companies and landlords. What this means is that you need to be very concerned about your credit standing not just from a credit-worthiness standpoint. Not only is the current credit crunch making getting loans more difficult and certainly more expensive, it can also mean that you may not get that apartment you want, or your automobile insurance will be more costly. A good credit score helps you get what you want, when you want it, at a cost you can afford.

When taking another look at your current credit cards, or cards that you are considering applying for, remember that all credit cards come with directions. When you sign on the dotted line, this means that you agree to the credit card contract that outlines guidelines for consumers or businesses and the credit card company. As a wise consumer, you MUST read the directions and disclaimers and be aware of your rights and responsibilities in the agreement. Not taking the time to read and understand what you are signing will cost you money in the long run.

Everywhere you look these days you will find offers for credit cards that offer rewards ranging from cash back to travel, gas, home improvement and everything in between. If, like many consumers you find yourself wondering if these rewards actually are worth pursuing, this may be a good time to revisit those cards and take a good long look at them.

There are often many benefits to credit cards that are offering rewards. Some offer arbitration services, extended warranties, transaction dispute services, automatic bill paying service, free hotel stay or flight, or discounts for services ranging from theme park tickets to car rentals. Some cards offer a cash back program with 1 or 2 percent or more on your purchases. Something new for consumers is the savings programs with a variety of offers that assist you with putting aside cash for a rainy day. This includes an investment plan or even an offer to pay down on your mortgage, or get discounts on major purchases like cards and trucks. Many come with free identify theft protection.

By taking a good long look at your rewards credit cards you will be able to see where some of these "free" rewards could be used to enhance your current lifestyle. If you are planning a vacation you should consider using a low interest rate credit card that offers rewards, hotel stays or free flights.

But, all this being said, some surveys indicate that more than half of all credit card holders do not use the rewards gained with the use of their cards. The trick here, is if you really don't need those rewards, or anticipate using them, then apply for a low interest card that doesn't offer rewards and keep it paid down or paid off. Being debt free will be the best reward you can earn.

(C) Copyright - THJ & Associates

Author's Bio: 

Theodore Henderson, DTM - Distinguished Toastmaster
THJ Associates, LLC
Plan - Communicate - Prosper

During a career that spans over 20 years, Theodore Henderson has excelled as an articulate, organized, and successful business manager with a career in commission sales and sales management. He has demonstrated the ability to build and maintain profitable, long-term relationships with a sophisticated client base. From international computer applications and telecommunications expertise to excellent management/team leadership skills, he is known for his willingness to take charge and produce bottom line results. His success-oriented attitude has enabled him to become a top-ranked sales professional and sales manager. He is a senior professional with a proven track record in preparation and implementation of marketing plans and complex sales proposals. This lifelong native of New York City is a vivid, persuasive communicator experienced in establishing new, profitable territories.

Looking for a new challenge, he launched THJ & Associates, LLC in 2003. His company provides both non-profit and for-profit consulting. Key focuses include entrepreneurship, education, and self development. He works with individuals or groups who have a keen desire to build a small business that reflects their passion and purpose by guiding them through a direct, simplified, and functional business planning process. THJ Associates specializes in facilitating a thorough business planning process that delivers a coherent, easy-to-read business plan appropriate for either a person who is new to owning a business or a banker to review for investment. His clients are able to properly stand before an audience of 1 or 100 and present their plan, vision, and benefit with confidence.