Authored by Pier Yvette Alsup, American Eagle Credit Union
It is easy to go overboard with spending during the holidays—-with all of the entertaining, shopping, eating, and traveling that many of do during this time of the year, it can be hard not to.
Previously, we shared with you tips on how to budget while staying in the black this season, but with the ability to pull out a card and charge it and shop online whenever the urge hits, we want to give you some ways to be credit smart AND safe.
Here are Pier’s tips for a credit friendly, credit safe holiday shopping season:
1. Beware of opening store credit cards
Don’t open a “store credit card” while shopping just to get an extra 10%, especially if you don’t frequent that store often. Keep in mind that spending habits, new credit applied for, and new credit received all impact your credit score, so it’s may not be a smart move just to save a few dollars on a gift!
2. Don’t overspend on a store credit card
If you have a “store credit card” it’s easy to be tempted to spend more than you typically would just because you get a discount or can reach a specific level or receive points. It’s easy to get pulled into this.
3. Redeem those points
If you currently have a credit card with perks or points, consider redeeming some and giving as gifts. Points can often be redeemed for merchandise and gift cards. This is a budget-friendly way to check a few folks off your gift-giving list.
4. Shop online only at websites you trust
This may go without saying, but you would be surprised how many people shop on websites that aren’t secure, and aren’t reputable. To make sure that you receive what you pay for, only shop online with sites that have earned your trust and have strong positive consumer ratings.
5. Look for the SSL lock
When shopping online, always look for the padlock icon in your browser window and for the “http-S” before entering your credit card information. The “S” in https means “SECURE”. Web pages that are not secure do not have privacy protection.
6. Passwords, please
Create strong passwords to your online accounts. Santa2018 won’t do it. And, neither will your date of birth. Choose a complex set of lowercase and uppercase letters plus numbers and symbols. And, don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. If one of your accounts is hacked, having the same password on others gives fraudsters the key to access.
7. Make the most out of the holidays
Finally, enjoy the season! Credit scores and credit security shouldn’t become a worry when you’re making smart choices. These are just a few mindful habits will help keep your credit safe and friendly with your finances.