Get set for Cyber Monday

Monday, December 3rd sees 2012's annual ‘Cyber Monday' the day that heralds what is expected to be one of the year's busiest and most profitable weeks for online shopping websites as Christmas gets closer.

Not only is it the busiest day of the year for internet shoppers who wish to ensure their order arrives in time for Christmas, but it neatly coincides with a different Monday - the one that immediately follows most people's final payday before the need to go Christmas shopping.

As a result, enough people feel flush with disposable income to be able to do their online Christmas shopping now, in good time to get it delivered.

Experian figures show that last year's Cyber Monday saw almost 85 million visits going to retail sites, a rise of 18% from 2010, with 2012 figures expected to reach up to 115 million – a rise of 36 per cent. UK consumers are predicted to spend 15 million hours shopping online on Monday 3rd December - that's 15 mins per person in the UK.

With Christmas just around the corner and many of us already planning our Christmas shopping lists, It is of course vital to ensure we properly manage any credit we need to make the most out of our festive spending.

Here are some Christmas tips to help manage your shopping credit:

When to apply: Check your credit rating before you apply for a new store card or credit card. This will give you the best chance of knowing if you will be accepted or not. A 30-day free trial of Experian Credit Expert could help tell you what factors are affecting your rating, positively and negatively, and can help you improve it. (New members only. Monthly fee applies after free trial. Free trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access full service, which may take up to five days.) If you check early you may have time to improve things before Christmas, or ahead of the sales.

Store/ credit cards: These are a good way to spread your payments but make sure you can afford to pay off what you put on them. Only making the minimum payment will cost you far more in the long run, and lenders will question your ability to afford your borrowing, which can harm your credit rating. But whatever you do, never miss a payment – they stay on your credit report for six years and will deter lenders in future. If you can't make the minimum payment, speak to your lender and pay what you can.

Avoid a rejection spiral: If you apply for a credit card and are declined, it's best not to apply another one straightaway - find out why you weren't successful. Although being turned down by a lender won't affect your score, too many applications in a short space of time will. Lenders can view this as a sign that you are struggling with your finances and are therefore a high risk. Likewise, try not to apply for too many cards in a short space of time – to see if you could get one – even if you have no intention of using them.

Budget Planner: Avoid over-spending or incurring fees for going over your limit, by keeping a close eye on the balance of your accounts using money management software. Money Dashboard is the simple way to get the true view of your financial situation.

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All content is for informational purposes only and is the opinion of the author. Nothing on this website should be interpreted as "advice". Money Dashboard Ltd make no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or any damages arising from its display or use.

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