The holidays are coming and with Black Friday sales has just past, many merchants are gearing up to make the most sales and profits. For consumers, holiday shopping can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. It all depends on how prepared you are with your finances.
Do you own a reward credit card? If you do, the holidays can be the perfect time for you to rack up points and get more from your spending. However, you need to be very careful to avoid running up bad debt. After all, nobody wants to wake up on the first morning of 2012 with a pile of credit card debt that can be paid off at once.
How can you make the most out of your credit cards with rewards and avoid problems? Check out this holiday spending guide especially for reward credit card holders:
Plan your credit card spending. Do not put yourself in a bad debt situation in an attempt to chase rewards. It’s best to plan your spending ahead of time so you can be confident about repayment. How much can you afford to charge to your credit?
Aside from making sure that you can pay off your full balance on time, you should watch your credit limit usage as well. By keeping your charges minimal or less than 40% of your available limit, you can minimize the risk of bad debt and maintain a good credit score as well.
Don’t let your credit card out of sight. Shopping during the holidays can be crowded but don’t let your credit card out of sight. Skimming is a common tactic used to steal credit card information using “skimming devices” that are small enough to fit on the palm of your hand.
If the store clerk wants to conduct verification, all the steps should be done where you can see your credit card at all times. Don’t let the clerk take your card in another room to call up your issuer. When dining at restaurants, take the credit card to the counter yourself instead of handing it to the waiter.
Look for coupons. Look for coupons in advance particularly from coupon websites and from your credit card site too. Find as coupons as you can for the items that you NEED to buy. Of course, this means creating your shopping list early as well. Don’t forget to take advantage of free shipping deals and other discount offers exclusively for reward credit cardholders.
Know your rights as a cardholder. If you’re going to use your rewards credit cards to buy things, you can enjoy more protection on your purchases. For example, most shops have a Return Policy of 30 days but reward cardholders usually offer longer protection which can extend up to 90 days.
Be sure to carefully review your credit card account statement to make sure that there are no unfamiliar charges or unauthorized purchases. In case you find any error, you should immediately call up your credit card issuer to dispute the charges.