credit card convenience check

When you open a credit card, you will likely receive several blank checks attached to your account. It may be tempting to use these or view them as “free money,” but caution will serve you well, especially during credit repair.

Convenience checks (not to be confused with a cashier’s check, which you have to have actual cash in the amount of the check to obtain) are a holdover from the days before credit cards were accepted everywhere, including a vending machine. The conveniences of modern life allow us to move our money more freely. We can now pay bills online, use our phones to pay our friends back for brunch while the bill itself is still being processed, and even use our debits card to get a car wash. Some of these conveniences were not available to us as recently as five years ago.

A convenience check (sometimes called a credit card check) can be useful in emergency situations. For example, if your car breaks down, and you take it to a small auto repair shop that doesn’t accept credit cards (a rarity, but still possible), and you don’t have the money to pay your repair bill with cash, a credit card check would allow you to pay for your repairs. You’d be able to write the check to yourself in the amount you need, or write it directly to your mechanic.

However, these checks should only be used in cases of absolute emergency. Treat them as you would any credit card purchase and spend with caution. If you’re someone who can and will pay off your credit card balance every month, then you may not have an issue. But if you’re the type of person to be a little more cavalier about your credit card balance (as many people are), then you may want to avoid using these checks altogether and store them in a safe place for a rainy day.

Not paying off the balance on these checks could result in credit issues for you. Ultimately, it will all come down to what’s stated in your credit card agreement. Here are a few things to consider before using one:

  • Qualification for credit card rewards.

    If you chose this credit card specifically for the rewards it offers, you should check to make sure cash advances are included in the rewards. If the amount you spend doesn’t apply towards rewards, you may want to choose one that does, or find a way to avoid using them.

  • Different interest rates and fees attached.

    The money spent using a credit card check may not have the same interest rate as regular credit card purchases. Check your credit card agreement to be sure.

  • Credit limit

    Don’t forget to include the check amount when you consider your credit limit. Going over the limit could be detrimental to your credit score and lead to needing to fix your credit, and these things are reported regularly.

  • Grace period

    Some credit cards offer balance transfers for zero percent interest for a certain amount of time. These grace periods are helpful if you are working on paying down debt and want a break from paying interest, but they do end, so make sure you can pay it off within the allotted time–or risk paying back the full amount of interest from your transfer.

Before diving into any financial decision, make sure to do your research and find out how it could affect you down the road. For more information on credit card convenience checks, or how to repair your credit after using one, visit www.creditrepair.com.

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