5 credit card resolutions to make for 2021, from improving your credit score to earning the most rewards

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It's that time of year again — to start thinking about what goals to set for 2021.

While you might be focused on a new work plan, diet, or hobby, it's important to think about what personal finance and money goals you want to accomplish for next year as well. For example, what about improving your credit card strategy?

Credit card resolutions to make for 2021

Make a plan to pay off debt

The first and most crucial credit card goal, no matter the time of year, is to pay off any credit card debt you currently carry.

You don't necessarily need to pay it all off at once, but you need to make a plan to eliminate your debt as fast as possible. In general, you have a few options when making a plan:

The most important thing to do when paying off debt is to chip away at it consistently, even if it's unlikely you'll even get rid of it this year — just focus on making progress every single month.

Check and improve your credit score

The second credit card resolution for 2021 is to check your credit score and improve it as needed.

There are lots of ways to check your credit score for free. For example, until April 2021, you can access your Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion credit reports for free once per week at annualcreditreport.com. Many credit cards offer free access to your credit score as well, and in some cases, you don't even need to be a cardholder.

Then, you can compare your score to the FICO scale below:

  • 800 to 850: Exceptional
  • 740 to 799: Very good
  • 670 to 739: Good
  • 580 to 669: Fair
  • 300 to 579: Very poor

If your score is very good or exceptional, you should keep doing what you're doing! But if you have a bad credit score, you should likely look into actions you can take to improve it. After all, the benefits of a good credit score are nearly endless, and you don't want to miss out on them.

Use your credit card rewards

Here is a fun goal for 2021 — use some of your hard-earned points, miles, or cash back!

I know more than a few people who let their credit card rewards sit in their account year after year without redeeming them. Even during a quarantine, there are plenty of good ways to get use out of your points.

That said, if there's an extravagant vacation you are saving up for, of course, don't blow your points on gift cards or something that isn't worthwhile. But if you've been accumulating points or cash back with no current plan to use them, make a goal to use at least a portion of them next year.

Find the best credit card for you

Do you know why you are using your current credit card? Was it because a friend recommended it, or maybe you saw a commercial for it that looked promising?

I ask because you might not be using the best credit card for you. There are many types of credit cards out there, each offering different rewards and geared to a variety of spending habits. Someone who spends a lot on groceries might do better with a different card from someone who likes to dine out and travel.

Next year, I urge you to analyze your spending and find the best card — or cards — to maximize the rewards you earn.

Always spend below your means

Last but certainly not least, make sure to spend below your means in 2021.

I know credit cards make it easy to overspend, but you need to resist the urge to spend more than you can afford. There are two things you can do to stay out of credit card debt:

If you still struggle with overspending, you can test some new ideas on how to stop spending so much money.

Hopefully, one or more of these credit card resolutions make your list for next year. Good luck in 2021!

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