How to manage your debt wisely

An adviser on managing debt urges credit-card users not to charge more than they can repay promptly, among other tips.

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ABU DHABI // The simple way to avoid trouble with a credit card is to not spend more than you can afford to pay back promptly.

Ramesh Panicker, senior manager of commercial banking at Al Masraf Bank in Abu Dhabi, suggests that credit card users limit their spending to available resources and settle debts promptly to avoid late fees.

"Never withdraw cash from your credit card to settle debts on another card," he said. "You will only end up paying more interest and higher finance charges.

"You will be making more trouble for yourself."

Banks do specify particular rates at the time of issuing of the cards, but when trouble arises, service fees and interest rates can be renegotiated if you present the bank with a workable plan.

Set up a meeting with your bank manager to discuss the problem and go in armed with information about what you can afford and what other banks are offering in terms of interest rates and fees.

Mr Panicker also encourages credit card users to go through their monthly statements with a fine-tooth comb to ensure there are no suspicious transactions or faulty charges.

"Any discrepancies or anomalies  should be brought  to the notice of the bank and institution  immediately for timely action," he said.

"What's more, beware of the risk element associated with using your card online through unsecured platforms. As far as possible, avoid such transactions."