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Tips for Responsible Credit Card Use During Inflation

Jennifer Rodriguez, Gilene Janvier

September 14, 2022

woman at a laptop with credit card

During times of increased inflation, people are more likely to rely on credit cards to help get through their daily expenses. Inflation can impact a lot of services that people rely on, like food, shelter, gas, and electricity, so it’s understandable that credit card use tends to increase as inflation does.

If you need to rely on your credit card more often during times of high costs, you still should make sure to use your cards responsibly. Here are some tips to help you keep your credit in a good place during times of need:

Make Your Credit Card Payments on Time

Generally speaking, it’s best to not carry too much of balance on your credit card from month to month. When possible, you want to try to keep it to no more than 30% of your overall credit.

However, when increased prices make you rely a bit more on your credit card, it’s important to make sure that all of your credit card payments are made on time. Even if you’re only able to make the minimum payment, it will help you keep your account in good standing and avoid potential fees or penalties.

Payment history is the largest factor in calculating a credit score. Since 35% of your score is determined by on-time payments, late payments or missing a payment can cause a decrease in your credit score.

Consider a Credit Card Balance Transfer

If you’re using a high interest rate credit card during a time when you’re already relying on credit cards more often, you will have to pay higher rates on the balance you carry. That can really add up during times that are already tough.

One possible solution to this to transfer your balance from your current high-rate credit card to a credit card with a lower rate. This can help you save money because you’ll pay less interest on your balances.

Keep in mind that sometimes a balance transfer offers a lower rate for a limited time only, so make sure you understand the offer before you apply. If the rate is low for an introductory period, then significantly increases, make sure you will be able to pay off balances before the higher rate kicks in. Or you can transfer your balance to a credit card that lets you keep the low rate until the balance is paid off.

Make the Most of Credit Card Rewards

If you are using your credit card more to help get by during times of high inflation, it could be beneficial to have a credit card that offers cash back or some sort of rewards. Credit card rewards accrue based on use, so the more you use your card, the more rewards you will earn.

During periods when you’re a bit more reliant on your credit card, keep a close eye on how your rewards stack up so you can make the most of them. Cash back can put some money back in your pocket, or you can use other rewards for essential items or even to treat yourself to something you might not want to spend money on.

Find a credit card that works for you with low interest rates, no annual fees and your choice of rewards!

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