Albany, GA - (WALB) - With the holiday shopping season here, you'll probably be tempted to put some of those purchases on your credit card. As long as you don't rack up too much debt... That may not be so bad.
But one expert says there are some things you should never buy with a credit card-- because your credit card company is watching. Here's a look at some credit card no-nos.
Sometimes you should just keep your plastic in your pocket.
You should always carry cash for Credit Card No-No #1 . . . Traffic tickets.
Dr. Robert Manning, consumer finance expert and author of "credit Card Nation" says putting a traffic fine on your credit card makes you a credit risk. Manning says because of the recession... Card-backers have people at computer terminals pouring over your charges looking for either a change or something strange that screams "trouble" for paying your bill.
Like Credit Card No-No #2 . . . Discount or dollars stores.
Manning says, "The fact that you're suddenly shopping at cheaper stores implies you're going to have difficulty paying your bills." Dave Mueller of Fred's discount stores says, "The consumers are starting to recognize that, and we will probably see a shift to debit cards or to more cash."
Credit Card No-No #3 . . . Income tax returns. Manning says charging your tax service's fees to a card that will, in turn, add finance charges implies you're in financial distress.
Then, two vices. Repeated liquor charges and Porn sites. Manning says each credit no-no has the same "oh no."
"They could terminate your account. They can slash your line of credit which could have an adverse effect on your credit score."
Charles Dempsey used to manage credit card portfolios. He says credit card banks are not watching. what you're charging. "The only thing they're watching is that you stay in the middle of the road, that you're not exceeding your limits, that you're not past due, that you're staying within the limitations of what the card says."
He says all credit card companies really care about is whether you pay on time, but credit card critic Manning isn't so sure. "That was the view before the crisis of the great recession, and what's happening now is banks are so risk-averse that they are more inclined to lose a good customer."
Experts say you should limit your card use to online purchases and big ticket items such as appliances because those purchases are insured under your credit card's built-in protections.
And to avoid digging a hole of debt, pay off your credit cards every month.