This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

3 Easy Ways To Bolster Your Credit Card Finances

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Credit card consumers face $46 billion in new credit card debt by the end of the year, even though they paid off $32 billion in card debt in the first quarter of 2013 alone, according to CardHub.com.

Couldn't households put all that card debt to better use?

You'd certainly think so, but like late-night fridge raids and using cellphones while driving, accumulating credit card debt is one of those unhealthy habits Americans just cannot seem to break.

But if you're a credit card consumer looking to shed your wicked ways, help is here, and it's simpler than you might think.

Jason Gaughan, a credit card product manager at Bank of America (BAC), says the quickest path to credit card sanity is just to have a plan and get the card that fits your needs.

"The key to successfully managing your credit card account is to understand your budget and stick to a plan that works for you when borrowing," Gaughan says. "You want a card with a rewards program that fits your lifestyle and how you manage your finances. If you typically carry a balance, look for a card that has low interest and reinforces good payment practices."

Gaughan and Bank of America are out with some new tips -- easy and simple ones -- to keep your credit card debt in check. Here's a look:

Use only a card or two. Bank of America reports that three out of 10 American adults carry four or more credit cards. That's at least two cards too many, the banking giant says. By keeping the number of your cards down, you can better handle issues such as minimum payments (you always want to pay more than the minimum monthly payment) and can better cap your credit card spending.

Be creative about card rewards. It's no secret that cards rewards programs are as pervasive as ice cream options at Baskin-Robbins (DNKN). But to get the most out of your card and keep debt to a minimum, you have to do your homework to "cash in on the things your family really needs," as Bank of America puts it. That requires some legwork, but you can keep things easy by using a credit card search tool such as this one.

Watch your spending. Track your credit card tab by keeping a running record of every purchase -- even the little ones. Try Toshl Finance, an easy-to-use smartphone app that allows you to track credit card and debit card spending.

Bank of America also advises evaluating all of your debts and paying down the ones that carry the largest interest payments.

You should also create a family budget for your credit card use. There's a good budget planner here.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,279.74 +13.75 0.08%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,579.7890 -13.6380 -0.30%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs