Yes, I know: money experts from Suze Orman to David Bach all agree that credit cards are just plain bad. The reality is, many of us still haven't weaned ourselves off them entirely, especially for expenses such as booking hotels or air travel. Still, I'm a little annoyed that the money experts never tout the fact that you can actually save money when using your credit card, as the following tips will show you.
Take Advantage of Price Matching
With price matching, a credit card company offers a price match guarantee on products, usually for a period of 30 to 90 days. If you purchase a product with your credit card and notice the price of the product falls after you bought it within the eligible period, you can contact the credit card company to have them reduce the charge to your card. Just make sure you keep your receipts. Read the fine print to find out what the stipulations are for price matching policy. For instance, some don't take into account internet prices, and others may set an annual limit on the savings you can claim.
This is one of my favorite sites. You'll find discounts on items including books, CDs, clothing, electronics, office supplies and travel available only to VISA card holders. Of course, these great deals only really help you trim your budget if you're used to paying off your credit card each month. Otherwise, you end up blowing those savings on interest charges.
Fill up on FlexPoints
VisaPerks.ca is only for Canadian consumers, but in the US you can also save when using your VISA from US Bank. Besides saving when shopping for travel or products, you can redeem your FlexPoints to help pay down your VISA balance.
Choose Cash Back Cards
Last year I read that the majority of consumers do not redeem reward points. If your credit card offers only reward points, it's not much of a benefit. On the other hand, if you get a credit card that gives you cash back, like the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, you can get 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at department stores and gas stations, and 1% on other eligible purchases. You can use this money to save on future purchases or to pay down your debt.
Enjoy Roadside Assistance
Why pay for roadside assistance from a company like AAA if you have a credit card such as the Green or Gold American Express card, or the Mastercard Professional Credit Card? Some credit cards offer 24-hour roadside service when traveling at home or abroad. Even if you have to pay an annual fee for cards with this perk, it can still be worth it if you need a little help on the road. Do the math to figure out if switching cards makes sense for you.
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you're a frequent flyer, those lounge programs like Priority Pass and Lounge Pass may sound like good deals, until you realize that you may already have access through your credit card. Even if you travel just once a year or less, you can get spoiled for free in the lounge before boarding if you have a credit card such as the HSBC Premier Mastercard or the Bank of America American Express card. Check your credit card literature to see if you've got a free pass.
Despite the perks, always pay your monthly balance in full to avoid interest charges!
This has been a guest post by Andrea from Hamilton, Ontario
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