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What is the likelihood of you misusing your credit card?

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If you constantly find yourself impulsively spending on your credit card, yet dreading to check how much you owe on your statement at the end of the month, there is a high likelihood you are misusing your credit card.

Jonathan de Beer, head of collections at FNB Credit Card, says a credit card can be quite convenient and rewarding if you need safe and instant access to cash. However, you can easily find yourself in an unnecessary financial predicament if you are not careful with your spending.

He points out five tell-tale signs you could be misusing your credit card:

  • Feeling guilty after spending – guilt could indicate that you are either buying what you do not really need, buying without checking your budget or you know you shouldn’t be making the purchase but you are still going ahead because you can.
  • Can’t pay extra on your credit card debt – if you can’t even afford to make an additional payment on the required minimum monthly amount, you could be heading for trouble and need to carefully monitor your spending.
  • Getting a shock when checking your statement – a good debt management strategy involves knowing your current financial position and putting measures in place to manage it. This involves keeping up to date with your spending on a regular basis.
  • Shuffling debt between different credit cards – having multiple credit cards and using them to settle your debt could leave you in serious financial difficulties. This should be avoided at all cost.
  • Not saving because of debt – being overstretched financially to such an extent that you are living off your credit card and cannot afford to save leads to money problems, especially when dealing with unforeseen emergencies.

“If you notice any of these signs or find yourself excessively spending beyond your means, it is not the end of the road, as there are important measures you can immediately take to gradually turn your situation around,” advises de Beer.

The first step is to list all your debt, spend carefully and only when it is absolutely necessary, formulate a realistic budget and stick to it. Lastly, try and pay a little extra towards your credit card debt every month.

“In extreme debt situations consumers are advised to seek expert advice as soon as possible in order to minimise the impact,” concludes de Beer.

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