Bad habits could lead seniors into credit card debt

Due to the convenience credit cards provide, many seniors frequently use them to make basic purchases both online and in retail stores. While the most responsible of these consumers pay off their card balances in full each month, this may be more difficult for those on a fixed income.

The elderly tend to rely on credit cards because of the likelihood they may have a sudden medical or funeral expense to cover. Recent research suggests 75 percent of seniors use their cards to pay for these costs, Investopedia reports.

As a result, seniors who currently have low levels of debt should be careful to choose the right credit card, according to the news source. By avoiding high interest rates and frequent penalties, members of this demographic will be able to reduce the expenditure associated with their monthly credit card bills.

Seniors can better manage their credit card use by applying for a zero percent balance transfer credit card or by using rewards options, the report said. Older Americans may also want to avoid annual fees on plastic options, as these can often be sidestepped by simply applying for another card.

In recent months, many credit card companies have upped the rewards on basic purchases to as much as 2 to 3 percent cash back on select items.