UK consumers baffled by their credit cards

Do you know what you're being charged for?

Do you understand how your credit card works?

At this time of year, we're more likely than ever to be relying on credit cards cards to get us through the salary squeeze. It may be that we're doing so cleverly, and cost-effectively, but there's a good chance that most of us have just put our spending on plastic with no real understanding of what it's going to cost us in the long run. In fact, new data shows that a staggering percentage of Brits don't actually know how the cards in their wallets work.

See also: The best credit cards to take on winter sun holidays

See also: You'd need A Level maths to understand your finances

Two thirds of credit card holders only check their statement once a month while more than one in ten don't even know how much interest they pay on their card.

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As many as 66% of people haven't checked their credit score in the past year simply because they don't know how to.

Here are MoneySuperMarket's top tips on how to avoid credit card charges:

Always pay off your balance

You should always try and pay off the balance of your credit card in full each month to avoid paying interest. But if you can't pay in full, then you should at least pay the minimum. If you don't do this then you'll be charged a late payment fee, which is usually £12. An easy way to do this is to set up a standing order to make sure you're not left with a fee.

Don't use your credit card to withdraw cash

Don't get caught out by assuming you don't get charged to withdraw cash using a credit card. You will usually be hit with a charge of around 3% of the amount you take out. You'll also be charged interest, which is usually at an APR of around 28% - this will be levied from the moment you make the withdrawal.

Don't go over your credit limit

If you do you'll get charged. If you have always managed to keep within the limit and only exceed it accidentally by a few pounds, contact your credit card provider as soon as possible and ask if they can waive the fee.

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