Bought a few too many tools at the hardware store, or splurged a little excessively on a new spring outfit? It’s easy to exceed the spending limit on your credit card; not as easy to fix the problem.
What to Do if You Have Gone over Your Credit Limit:
- Call the card issuer immediately. If this is only the first time it has happened to you, or you haven’t exceeded your limit in more than a year, ask the company to take the fee off your bill. Over-the-limit charges can run up to $30 or more. Be firm but polite. Don’t be afraid to ask for a manager. Remember, if you are a good customer, they don’t want to lose your business over one penalty charge.
- Ask for a higher spending limit. If you constantly exceed your credit ceiling, but manage to pay your entire bill every month, ask for more credit. But remember, if you are carrying a balance every month, getting a higher limit will only make your problems worse. You’ll not only have more interest to pay, but you’ll likely get farther and farther behind, making your debt that much worse.
- Switch credit cards. If your card issuer won’t remove the charge even though you rarely exceed your limit, it might be time to find a new credit card. Pay off the entire balance on your old card and start fresh with the new one. If you decide to transfer your balance you might be slapped with a big balance transfer fee, up to 3%.
How to Prevent Exceeding Your Spending Limit in the First Place:
- Track every purchase on your credit card. If you keep a list of exactly what you’re buying every month, you’ll not only prevent going over the limit, but you’ll also have a better idea of how much you’re spending on what. By tracking of all your expenses, you’ll keep extraneous expenditures at bay. Also sign up for an e-mail alert that will notify you if you’re getting near the limit.
- Take a hard look at your spending habits. If you budget wisely, you shouldn’t need to exceed the limit on your card. Ask yourself, are you spending too much time at the mall when you could be exercising or doing volunteer work? Is spending becoming an out-of-control habit? Maybe you need to look at what’s missing from your life…And it’s probably not anything you can find at the mall.