17 October 2014
Use Credit Cards Wisely: Don’t Miss Out on Rewards

Chances are, you always know where your credit card is. Credit cards are that important. However, you may not be getting everything you can from using that plastic to make routine purchases.

Reward cards deliver points that can be used as a cash-back bonus or to purchase plane tickets, hotel rooms, or merchandise of your choice. Banks want your credit card business, so they compete by offering rewards that can save you money and even earn you a little cash back every time you swipe that card and make a purchase.

It’s important to maintain a low credit card balance, or better yet, to pay the credit card balance off each month to avoid interest charges. You still get the reward points each time you spend, but you don’t have to pay interest on credit card balances carried forward.

If you have the self-discipline to manage credit card spending and to pay off your balance each month, you’ll get rewarded in lots of ways.

Check Out Introductory Offers

When shopping around for a rewards credit card, be sure to ask about introductory offers. Some credit card issuers offer double reward points for a certain amount of time, or as little as zero percent interest for an introductory period. You may also get zero percent interest on transferring balances from cards with higher interest rates and/or no rewards programs.

Rewards for Ongoing Use

Your credit card rewards don’t end when you sign up. A good rewards card continues to pay rewards each time you use the credit card, year after year. Some cards limit where reward points can be redeemed, while other card issuers let you decide where to spend those cash-back rewards, or when to cash in your travel points for free goodies.

Choose a rewards card that lets you use points where they’ll do the most good. For example, if you aren’t much of a traveler, travel rewards aren’t going to be as beneficial as a cash-back reward – cold cash you can use to help control credit card spending.

Safe Card Usage

If you choose to use your credit card to make routine purchases, like gas and groceries, it’s easy to rack up a pile of rewards points.  However, it’s also easy to lose track of just how much you’ve spent. When the credit card bill shows up, you may realize you’ve overdone it.

To avoid getting into credit trouble while taking advantage of the benefits you earn, limit card use only to the degree that you can pay down the balance each month. Pay attention to the fine print and your obligations, and see if points ever expire. It’s all there in the credit card agreement.

Other Benefits

Choosing a credit card that pays you is a no-brainer if you can pay down your balance each month, but look for other benefits from the credit card you choose including:

  • Zero liability in case of fraud
  • Purchase alerts that notify you by text or email when purchases to your card have been made, enabling you to track your spending and to see if someone else is using your credit card without your permission.
  • 24/7/365 customer service

Having a credit card is convenient, and with Internet shopping growing in popularity, it’s become almost a necessity. Shop around for a credit card that delivers benefits and rewards every time you use it…

…and reward yourself for sound money management.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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