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Rediff.com  » Getahead » 5 amazing tips for credit card users

5 amazing tips for credit card users

By Rajiv Raj
February 27, 2016 15:04 IST
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Read on to know more about how to make the most out of your credit cards.

Do you prefer swiping your credit card over paying cash? Do credit card offers and reward points excite you? Well then these credit card tips will definitely help you ace the game.

Those seemingly harmless, shiny cards sitting in our wallets are akin to double edged swords. While they can prove beneficial with reward points, bonuses, cash backs and being an instant credit source, credit cards can also make your finances topple if not handled with care. 

1. Claim your bonus

Credit card companies seem to be rolling out offers every other day. If you are an existing client and happen to spot an attractive offer, like bonus points for signing up or cash backs at stores, etc then claim them!

Get in touch with your customer service representative and inform that you'd want the offer to be applicable for your card. For them it is not that difficult to pass on benefits to good customers. The cards market is very competitive and companies go the extra mile to retain clients.

2 Get card benefits with your partner

Different cards offer various benefits. As a couple, have a look at all the cards you are holding. Plan to maximise the benefits by going with different cards. If you have the same card then most probably the benefits offered are similar.

How about replacing that card with another one with a different reward scheme?

For example if your partner has a card with exclusive cash back offers on shopping then exchange your cash back offers card for another, offering more flying miles or fuel points.

3 Gift yourself a gift card

No doubt credit cards have lucrative offers which are cleverly designed. They entice you to spend for rewards. Rewards obviously help us save. But it should definitely not be done at the cost of additional unnecessary expenditure. So how does one avail benefits without fulfilling the expense criteria on the card?

Well, purchase a gift card! That way you will earn rewards on immediate spending but you can make an actual purchase anytime in the future using the gift card.

4 Count your rewards

Card rewards work best when repayments are made on time. Otherwise the high interest rates nibble away at not only the benefits but also the money in your wallet! It is also wise to assess your lifestyle and avail cards with benefits accordingly.

For example if you are a frequent flyer, look for lounge access benefits and flying miles. If you dine out often, go for a card offering discounts on dine out options in collaboration with the popular restaurant chains.

5 Benefits and more in store

Pick the magnifying glass and read the fine print on the benefits. Your card may have more to offer than the advertised big benefits. These include perks like extended warranties, purchase protection, holiday insurance benefits like trip cancellation insurance, rental car insurance etc. While drawing up a comparison to choose between cards consider these points as well. If you are entitled for more, why not go for it!

Playing the card game smartly will not only give you financial benefits but also get you better at planning and optimising your resources. Credit card companies are competing among themselves for your business.

Now this is a complete win-win situation for consumers as long as the repayments are on schedule. We wish you happy swiping and saving!

Photograph: Marina del Castell/Creative Commons

The author is a credit expert with 10 years of experience in personal finance and consumer banking industry and another 7 years in credit bureau sector. Rajiv was instrumental in setting up India's first credit bureau, Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL). He has also worked with Citibank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank and Experian in various capacities.

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Rajiv Raj