According to a study by TSYS, consumer’s preferred form of payments in 2016 were credit cards. As credit cards continue to rise in popularity, there are ways you can use them to your advantage.
There is often a misconception that you should avoid credit cards and stick with cash. The main reason is that you cannot spend what you don’t have with cash. If you keep that same mindset with a credit card, there are extra benefits you’ll receive by using it.
Responsible use of credit cards provides you with extra rewards, shopping benefits, fraud protection, and building your credit score.
Use Discipline With A Credit Card
The number one rule when using credit cards is to remain disciplined while using them! If you’re paying credit card interest and in debt, you’re not using a credit card correctly. Stick to the rule of only charging what you can afford with cash to your card.
Credit cards are easy to get and use. Remember that they’re serious financial tools that will affect your life! It’s a great idea to educate yourself about all the benefits and hazards of a credit card before signing up for one. One of the easiest steps to take is to read up on all the information provided by a card issuer for one of their cards.
You’ll build your credit scores as you remain disciplined with your card. You want good credit scores when shopping for more significant purchases, such as a car or a house. There is usually a credit check required for these types of purchases. Having poor credit will make it more difficult as you’ll most likely pay a higher loan or mortgage.
The biggest factor in your credit scores is whether you pay your bills on time. You’re showing credit lenders that you’re responsible with credit by paying your bill on time and in full. This is the most important thing to do if you want to build and maintain a good credit history.
Depending on your credit card, you’ll usually earn some type of rewards as you use it. This is a great way to earn value back while you’re spending. Any credit card rewards are a convenience of using your card, never a cost!
Rewards are usually offered in the form of cash back or points. Cash back reward cards pay back a percentage of the amount spent. Other cards provide a certain number of points or miles for every dollar you spend.
In certain cases, rewards cards will have a time sensitive reward. For example, certain cards will offer 20,000 points when spending $2,000 in your first three months as a cardholder. Or some will match your cash back bonus and match it. These are great ways for to accumulate a large reward while using your new card.
Utilize Your Card’s Benefits
Almost all credit cards come with extra benefits to provide confidence to cardholders. Check your cards to see what unique features they have.
Most credit cards that offer benefits have ones focused on shopping. Extended warranties, Price, purchase, and return protections are often provided as you use a credit card. It is common to see travel insurance provided to help make your life easier.
Credit cards come with protections in place against fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you’re liable for $50 on unauthorized credit card purchases. If you report the loss before it’s used, you’re not responsible for any charges. Many credit cards provide zero liability for fraudulent charges for their cardholders. This is an amazing feature that provides confidence while shopping.
If the same fraud happens to your debit card, you’re unlikely to get the same protection. Failing to report the stolen card within two business days can cost you up to $500. If you don’t catch the fraudulent activity and report it before 60 days, you’re not protected from any money taken from your account.
If you remain disciplined with your credit cards, they’ll provide you with extra benefits and rewards. Reward points or miles are common rewards while using a credit card. Also, benefits provide consumers with extra protections in order to feel confident while shopping. These extras are exclusive to credit cards and a great reason to have one rather than using cash or debit cards.
They’ll help increase your credit scores as you use them responsibly. Also, they provide confidence in your purchases. If you happen to be a victim of fraud, your credit card won’t penalize you for it. You’ll receive value back in the form of unique rewards and benefits as you use the card. Use your credit card as a tool to help you achieve your financial goals this year.