If used wisely, credit cards can improve your credit score and help you get the most out of your everyday spending on items like groceries and gas. When you sign up for a card that offers rewards, you can earn points, miles, or even cash back on those purchases. But how do you make the most of your rewards credit card? Here’s how.
Identify Spending Trends
When selecting a rewards card, review your current spending patterns and make note of your most common purchases.1 Someone who travels for work might spend more on gas or airline tickets, while someone who works from home or has children may spend more on groceries. Once you’ve identified these habits, you can look for a card which offers higher rewards in those areas.
Choosing a Mixed Rewards Card
If your spending tends to be generally mixed, it may be in your best interest to choose a card which gives you a flat rewards rate on all purchases, which may include a slight bonus in certain categories such as groceries or gas.2 Choosing a card that rewards you for your everyday spending is a good idea since you will be spending the money either way. This is a simple way to earn rewards, without having to think too much about which card you should use.
Maximize Perks and Benefits
In addition to the rewards you earn, whether it be points, miles or cash, many credit cards offer additional perks you may be unaware of. Some cards offer additional benefits, such as free travel concierge service, discounts at certain retailers or travel and emergency assistance.1
Disclosures and Fine Print
Don’t be fooled by a shiny headline or an attractive card design. Be aware of any and all stipulations and qualifications for earning rewards. If your card’s rewards are limited to a dollar amount in each category, but you regularly spend more than that limit, it may be wise to research other cards. Certain retailers may be excluded from some categories. For example, although you can buy groceries at Target, the card provider may not include that retailer in the grocery category of their rewards program.
Pay Off the Balance
Maximizing rewards on a credit card is ideal, but you may pay more in the long run if you are carrying a balance month to month. A credit card with a revolving balance will accumulate interest, and over time you may pay more in interest than what you gained in rewards. It’s best to pay the card off at the end of each month whenever possible.2
Rewards credit cards can be an extremely beneficial financial tool when used appropriately. If you already have a rewards-earning Apple FCU Visa® Credit Card, don’t miss out by clicking on the Rewards button when viewing your Credit Card account within Online Banking. Visa also offers perks for both Credit and Debit Card holders, so be sure to take advantage of the current Visa Merchant Offers.
Take advantage of Apple’s credit card perks, compare our credit cards to see where you can earn and save.