Credit Cards - Have a Card Conscious Christmas

by : David Collins

As Christmas approaches and the mad rush to secure those last-minute presents is in full swing, many of us find ourselves tempted by advertisements at the tills.

With offers of discounts and cash-back on purchases if taken out that very day in-store, thousands sign up for store cards and benefit from a discount on their shopping for the day.

And with consumer spending at it's busiest around the festive season; retailers are tempting consumers with the promise of discounts at the till if they sign up, only to find that the interest payments on such purchases are significantly higher than most credit cards

In the rush at the tills, customers may also sign up for payment protection insurance (PPI) without realising the charges involved. Whilst PPI offers a degree of protection on your repayments in times of illness or unemployment, it does come at a high price.

With some of the more popular store card s charging up to 30% interest - that's more than double the average credit card rate, which currently stands at 15.9% - the deal may not seem such a tempting one when that first bill arrives.

With finances tight around the festive period, it's always best to stop and think about whether you need another card taking up space in your wallet or purse.

However it's not all doom and gloom, with a bit of careful planning and some juggling of the finances, the process of paying the card off can be easier than you think:

  • Before embarking on your Christmas shopping spree, take some time to draw up a budget plan - highlighting areas such as gifts and ingredients for the Christmas dinner.

  • If you do need to borrow for the festive season, it's best to look into using 0% credit cards, which allow for a lower rate of interest when the introductory deal has expired, as compared to using a store card.

  • Draw up another budget plan in the New Year and ensure that you are able to meet the minimum payments on any credit or store cards you might have taken out for the holiday season.

  • Once you have successfully paid off your store or credit card, consider putting it to one side in order to avoid the temptation of further spending in future.