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Make Your Credit Cards Pay You

By Edited Apr 28, 2015 2 1

Credit cards stock the  billfold.  The average number of credit cards carried varies considerably by family, but it is safe to say most adults own at least one.  Most credit card customers have their favorite out of all the little plastic beauties.  Figuring out which credit card offers to pursue is a difficult task. Then, the prize  goes  to the chosen company, and the credit card or cards come.  What is a good strategy for  use?

The offers come fast and furious  to push the  mail recipient to sign up for cards of all varying sorts.  Disney characters adorn some.  Another option is choosing a model hosting the design of your favorite sports team.  For those who honestly just want the credit  and could not care less about the decoration gracing the card,   plain Jane bank logos are also available. Obviously, in looking at those offers, it is not

Billfold with Credit Cards
appearance of the card that matters but rather the price tag. Cards do come with a price tag.

The "deals" in terms of cost of obtaining and using  credit cards vary as much as the fancy options that enhance their shiny plastic fronts.  Some offer no annual fee which, is a notable feature.  Others promote a positive incentive plan for the buyer receiving cash-back on dollars spent.  Still others allow the user to get  all kinds of goods and services such as hotels, rental cars, and airfares. What is a person to do?

Truly personal choice and a bit of judicious decision-making come into play here.  First, think through the difference   between  a charge card and a credit card. Then, decide if you are going to use your new card as a charge or credit card.    Reference to a charge card denotes a card used to "charge" items or services with the balance paid in full every month.  Credit cards have as an added feature that the card does not require payment  in full  each month. Added interest accrues if the bill is not paid in full by a designated date.  If in full every paid month, credit cards become charge cards with no interest.   This all sounds so insultingly basic.  It is, but, the plans for credit or charge card use should have significant impact on that choice.  The customer obtaining the card needs to know and think through those plans.

 Consider a true,  real-life  example.  Every year for the past ten years, a family has taken a trip between Christmas and New Year's courtesy of their credit cards used as charge cards.  In other words, although the balance could be carried over, it was not.  Payment of the balance occurred by the due date every month.   This economical family charged everything to two favorite cards, one sponsored by a hotel chain and the other a popular airline. The primary card of choice for everyday use was the one associated with the airline.  A secondary card for use was the hotel sponsored card.  Virtually everything this family did charged to these two credit cards; groceries, gas, clothing,  dentist and doctor's visits, even college tuition!  The bad news on that issue was they were paying a high out-of-state tuition.  The happy news was, when that tuition was due they would send it in electronically via credit card.  Immediately following that transaction, they went online and paid the tuition.  Charges alone for a year almost earned a free round trip airline ticket.  By Christmas time every year, the family of five had a marvellous holiday courtesy of their credit cards.    Points on the credit cards covered all air and hotel charges.  Yes, both of the primary cards used had an annual fee, one of $59 and the other $49. What they got in return was a fabulous vacation worth thousands of dollars.  Certainly that yearly fee on those two cards was probably justified. The key on this example is to not use a billfold full of charge or credit cards, but to stick with one or two to amplify the points earned.

None of that would have worked so nicely had they used the cards as credit cards versus charge cars  and accrued interest charges every month.  Should a person's primary interest in having a credit card be to put off payment, then the landscape changes.  That person should categorically look for the card with the lowest interest rate.  Forget the perks offered. A higher interest rate can probably negate any real savings of any points or perks provided.  Look also for options of lower interest rates to pay the balance off across longer periods of time.

On an interesting note, a person can sometimes  negotiate with credit card companies.  When the renewal comes up for the yearly fee on any credit card owned, look back to see if usage justifies the cost.  Often a  telephone call to the company with the message that the customer is cancelling will bring about a reduced fee or no cost at all to keep the caller as a customer.

Read the detailed print on all credit card offerings.  They fluctuate markedly. What does the credit card need to do for the consumer?  Then, select those favorites and enjoy having the credit card pay off!
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Comments

May 28, 2013 10:04pm
JadeDragon
Solid advice here.
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