New Budget Management Features from Credit Card Companies

The recession has made consumers much more aware and vigilant about their household budgets – especially when it comes to potentially hazardous credit card spending – and it has also hit banks and other lenders hard. So while cardholders strive to hold on to their savings and avoid high credit card debt, late fees, and other related charges those companies that issue credit cards are trying to ensure that their customers do not get overextended on their payments.

As a result there are interesting new features being added to several major credit cards that are specifically designed to help consumers manage their credit card balances. The hope of banks is that those who carry their cards will use these features to better manage their money and their credit card obligations.

Some of the features being rolled out now include those that let you set aside specific purchases and pay them off right away, while still carrying a balance on your other credit card charges. Normally if you make a new purchase but have not already paid off your balance, it just gets tacked on to your current outstanding balance and you have to pay interest on the entire total. Another feature lets you pay for one selected purchase over time at a better interest rate, while still using the card for other purchases at your normal rate. That enables consumers to finance a large or important purchase without incurring a burden on their entire card balance. This way you can isolate certain purchases, pay them off faster, and avoid getting charged all that additional interest. There are more available accounting options, too, like itemized monthly statements that categorize your expenses from month to month so that you can get a better idea of where your money is being spent.

The whole idea is to help you pay off as much of your outstanding credit card debt as possible while still having the flexibility to use the card for paying some expenses off over time. In many ways that is the best of both worlds – and card companies now offering these features think that what is good for your budget and wallet is also good for theirs.

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