The global adoption rate for credit cards has never been higher. And as this rate continues to grow, so too does the level of consumer debt. This is great news for the credit industry whose profits are generated by consumer debt and interest. If you’re interested in altering this arrangement and making your credit card work for you, instead of the other way around, these tips can help.
What Are You Paying For?
First things first, don’t ever pay an annual fee. Unless your credit provider can show you a reason for, or a service that is being provided as a result of a fee, don’t pay it. If your annual fee charge is soon approaching, call your card provider and ask them to waive it. If they don’t waive the fee, ask them to swap to a card which does not include this fee. If they continue to decline, ask for your account number and tell them you will be transferring to a new provider. As soon as they hear these words, what was once an obligatory fee can quickly become a line item that the service rep is happy to waive. Providers often tell their customers that the fee represents the cost of their card and providing the service, however, it’s important to remember that their business model revolves around you having debt. If you don’t have the card to swipe, they can’t claim interest and make money.
The biggest allure that credit companies have are their rewards programs. Often advertising the opportunity to use accrued points towards flights, consumers quickly realize that the points are difficult to accumulate and expire after a period of time. Instead, look closely at the reward programs offerings and be sure to pick one which can benefit you. If ongoing expenses like your insurance or a gym membership are debited from your credit card, find a card which can exchange points for credit to use against these. If you enjoy visiting the theater, find a card which provides theater ticket vouchers throughout the year. Whatever the benefit you choose, be sure that you can take advantage of it.
Look for Agreements
Did you know that many utility providers will discount your bill or waive an administration charge if you pay with a certain type of card? Speak with your electricity, gas, and water providers and ask if they have any such commercial arrangements. Even if it just a 2% surcharge, this can quickly add up to substantial savings considering that you will pay your bill each month, with or without the discount.
When choosing a credit card, remember that along with providing the benefit of credit, your provider is also making money, so be sure they work for it. As always, when deciding on any line of credit, be sure to read any and all fine print and contracts to ensure you know what you are signing up for.