Effective Credit Card Strategies
Effective Credit Card Strategies
Are your credit cards working for you? A number of financial professionals would caution against using credit, understandably. Many of us overspend and end up managing debt rather than rewards. However, when used responsibly, paying with credit can be more secure and much more rewarding than other means of payment. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why credit cards are a safer way to pay and the effective strategies to make them work better for you.
1. Safety and Security
Paying by credit card can save you from fraud and loss. When someone steals and fraudulently uses your debit card information, they steal your cash. Your checking account could be wiped out in an instant. You may then have legitimate expenses or scheduled bills that cannot be paid and subsequently bounce, triggering insufficient funds and late fees, all while you wait for the bank to investigate the confusion caused by a thief.
When your credit card rather than a debit card is stolen, your funds remain intact—you aren’t out any money. You can simply call your credit card company and report the fraudulent charges. You won’t be out anything as your credit card company sorts out the damages and resolves the issue.
Furthermore, using your credit card for large purchases and for paying vendors or contractors ensures you get what you paid for! Most everyone has dealt with a contractor that didn’t deliver on a promise. Often contractors require at least some payment up front. If you pay a contractor by cash or check, your money is gone—even if the work remains unfinished or doesn’t pass inspection. If you pay by credit card, you can work with the credit card company to dispute the charge and hold the contractor accountable, without losing a dime.
Right off the bat, some applicants can score an initial one-time bonus when signing up for certain credit cards, sometimes upwards of $100 or more in exchange for spending a set amount within the first few months of opening the account! Other cards in contrast may offer a large bundle of points that can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, or other merchandise.
There is no greater reward than cold, hard, cash back. When shopping around for a new credit card, look for those with low or no fees, low interest rates, and high cash back percentages on the things you purchase most. Many cards will even allow you to switch up the types of purchases you earn cash back on, therefore maximizing on your return. Eaton Community Bank’s Max Cash Back Preferred Card, for instance, allows the card holder to choose two preferred categories in which to earn a total of up to 5% cash back.
Another beneficial option would be a points card that allows you to earn points that can be redeemed for cash back, travel, merchandise, or gift cards. Remember, look for a bonus points introduction offer like Eaton Community Bank’s Real Rewards Card which is now offering 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase!
If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll want a credit card that allows you to rack up mileage in the sky for future travel. All major airlines have some type of partnership with a major credit card issuer and cardholders generally can earn around one mile per dollar spent. Be sure to look for those bonus introduction offers here too!
3. Get Started
If you’re still repairing your credit history, or perhaps have no credit history at all, you may have to start small. For instance, Eaton Community Bank’s Secured Card is a great starting point for anyone trying to improve their credit score or establish credit history. With its zero fraud liability, automatic bill pay, and free credit score access, the Secured Card is a solid choice to begin building a credit foundation that will effectively pay you back in the future!