Singapore’s endless fascination with Credit Cards shows no signs of abating going by stats released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which showed that as of April 2013 there were 7.6 million credit cards in circulation. For a population of 5.31 million!

However fascination does not always go hand-in-hand with moneysmarts as yet another telling statistic from the MAS reveals: As of April 2013 the amount of unpaid balances being rolled over each month totalled S$5 billion. Bad news! Bad news for your credit scores and bad news, maybe, for your future financial credibility. All because of the few bits of plastic so proudly sitting in your wallet.

Don’t mistake me, I am not knocking credit cards. Used well, they are a great tool to have in your financial toolkit. That’s right, used well! In the spirit of “Used well” we’ve put together a few tips that seek to help you make the most out of your credit card:

1. Limit the number of credit cards you have

In a nation of inveterate shoppers, the man with the most Credit Cards is King! Right? No! Firstly, managing all those credit cards, those different due dates and keeping track of your spends on all those cards soon spirals into a logistical nightmare. You’ve got a job, a life, maybe even a family. How much time can you devote to managing your rainbow collection of credit cards?

2. Rewards

Credit card issuers love to incentive their users. Which is why you will find all sorts of credit cards with all sorts of rewards packages appended to them. Reward points, cashbacks, rebates, perks, privileges, complimentary offers – there are all sorts of rewards out there. So, when you choose a card, go for one that offers you plenty!

3. More on Rewards – aligning them to your interests

Credit card issuers love to incentive their users. But with a caveat: Incentives are tied to spending. The more you spend, more the potential incentives that you could earn. Which is one more reason why you need to cut down on the number of cards you hold and stop spreading your spends on your vast cards collection.

But how would you go about choosing that one card? Simple. By aligning your cards’ rewards structure to your interests. For instance, the Citibank SMRT Platinum Visa Card is great for public transport and groceries and cashback. If you are a predator stalking the shopping highways of cyberspace then it makes sense to have the Citi Globeshopper by your side.

4. Settle in full

It makes great sense to settle your dues in full as that is when you can make the most out of those accumulated rewards. Still doubtful? Remember that a couple of rollovers and all those hard-earned rewards are dust. Time you wised up, buddy. Being able to settle in full means that you will need to Plan. Budget. Discipline yourself.

5. Keep your eyes open

That means keeping your eyes open to the terms, conditions and reams of fine print associated with your card. It also means keeping your eyes open to changes in these terms, conditions and communication that comes to you from the card issuer from time to time. Going a step further, it also, most definitely, means keeping your eyes open to new credit cards that fits financial requirements better.

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