What’s easier than putting a charge on a credit card and then paying it off later? Simply put, nothing. In addition to rewards and other incentives, you don’t have to worry about overdrafting your account on accident if your significant other spends a bit too much at the grocery store.

Credit cards are extremely handy, but at the same time, they’re incredibly easy to misuse. Once you begin to carry a balance on a credit card and rack up more interest than the rewards are worth, you’ve fallen into one of the biggest mistakes credit card users make, and it can get worse from there. Here are just a few of the mistakes you should aim to avoid as a credit card user.

1. Getting the Shiniest Card

A lot of credit cards these days offer all kinds of amazing incentives, especially if you choose that particular card over another. A sign-up bonus offering is common, and so is customizing the card to your heart’s content so you can feel good about your children or your puppy every time you pull the card out to spend.

However, while these little perks are neat, they just aren’t as important as the bottom line. Does the card have an annual fee that wipes out your sign-up bonus and potential rewards? What does your interest rate look like, and is it variable? Naturally, you want to go after a card that has some particularly nice perks, but only if those perks outweigh the potential downsides of the credit card.

2. Falling for Pre-Approval

So you know your credit isn’t good. Maybe it’s because you:

Are young
Have had credit problems in the past
Have a bankruptcy
Have some issues with collections
Have way too much debt and not enough to pay it down as quickly as you’d like
For some reason, however, you keep receiving these little pre-approval offers in the mail. You probably think this means your credit is good enough to attract some people who think you’re trustworthy enough to take on some more credit, but it’s more likely that you’re being played in at least some sense. Sure, you might be low-risk enough for a credit card issuer to take a risk on you, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to offer you the best terms possible. For the most part, you should ignore any offer you receive in the mail and do your own research instead. Find a card that suits your lifestyle and don’t just pick up the first one that comes to you via envelope.

3. Neglecting to Read the Fine Print

Fine print is especially devilish in the credit card world, and far too often, people skip over it entirely. Your fine print tells you everything you need to know about your credit card, including annual fees, APR, and “penalties” you can receive for making a late payment. For example, some cards will raise your APR for a number of months as punishment for not paying the card on time, and there’s nothing you can do to get that interest to go down except pay on time until the rate goes back to normal.

While the 2009 Credit Card Act does protect you from a number of nasty fees, credit card companies still have sneaky ways of making sure they get a buck out of you when you make a mistake. It’s important to know what happens when you do, so read your find print carefully.

4. Sticking to Minimum Payments

Minimum payments are intentionally set at a level that pays more interest that principal. For example, if your minimum payment is $25, it’s likely that about $18 of that is going towards interest while $7 goes towards your balance. This means your $25 isn’t really going all that far at all, especially if your balance is high.

Just because you’ve paid what you’re obligated to pay doesn’t mean you’re paying enough. A combination of what you pay, your balance, and your interest rate is the deciding factor on just how much interest you’re going to pay over the lifetime of the credit card. If you can’t manage to pay the balance in full, at least do some math to help guarantee that you’re making significant progress on paying your card down.

Bottom line: Credit cards are a wonderful thing if chosen and used wisely. So be wise about your decision. Make sure you do the research, seek out the right card, pay off as much of it as you can every month, and stay disciplined so you can simply enjoy the benefits.