Smart management of credit cards is an integral part of any sound personal finance plan. The key to accomplishing this critical goal is arming yourself with knowledge. Put the tips in the article that follows to work today, and you will be off to a great start in building a strong future.

Keeping several lines of credit open is helpful to your credit profile. This will assist you in raising your credit rating if you pay all balances in full monthly. You should have no more than three open credit cards. If you have more than three credit cards, it may be more difficult to qualify for a loan.

Never get rid of an account for a credit card prior to going over what it entails. Sometimes it is better to leave an unused credit account open than it is to close it. Also, maintain cards that have most of your credit history.

Do not lend your credit card to anyone. Credit cards are as valuable as cash, and lending them out can get you into trouble. If you lend them out, the person might overspend, making you responsible for a large bill at the end of the month. Even if the person is worthy of your trust, it is better to keep your credit cards to yourself.

Do not accept the first credit card offer that you receive, regardless of how good it sounds. While you may be tempted to jump on an offer, you do not want to take any chances that you will end up signing up for a card and then, seeing a better deal shortly after from another company.

It is common for card issuers to offer big incentives for opening accounts. Make sure that you’re fully aware of what’s in the fine print, as bonuses offered by credit card companies often have strict requirements. The one that comes up the most is that you’re supposed to spend a very certain amount in the next few months to qualify for the bonus offer.

Check your credit report regularly. By law, you are allowed to check your credit score once a year from the three major credit agencies. This may be often enough, if you use credit sparingly and always pay on time. You may want to spend the extra money, and check more often if you carry a lot of credit card debt.

Do not pick a pin number or password that could easily be picked out by someone else. It is a terrible idea to use things like middle names, birthdays and children’s names because anyone can learn that information.

Every time you decide to apply for a new credit card, your credit report is checked and an “inquiry” is made. This stays on your credit report for up to two years and too many inquiries, brings your credit score down. Therefore, before you start wildly applying for different cards, research the market first and choose a few select options.

Using credit cards wisely is an essential aspect of being a smart consumer. It is necessary to educate yourself thoroughly in the ways credit cards work and how they can become useful tools. By using the guidelines in this piece, you can have what it takes to seize control of your own financial fortunes.