Tips on How to Use Reward Credit Cards Smartly

by : Ann Wilson

Copyright (c) 2008 Ann Wilson

When it comes to credit cards, not everyone is worry-free. Even those who own reward credit cards often find themselves in a difficult situation. Instead of enjoying incentives and savings from their "reward credit cards", some people are having problem keeping up with their bills and not getting any reward at all. Why?

One major reason is that reward credit cards come with very high interest rates. Some people spend more on their reward credit card just for the purpose of collecting points without paying attention to their monthly balances. As a result, they have to put off their monthly payment and get charged with a high interest.

It is easy to lose control of your spending if you don't have a sense of obligation and self-discipline. One thing to remember about reward credit cards is that the rewards should come as a bonus, a perk, an incentive. It should not be the primary reason that drives you to spend more on your credit card than what you really can afford.

When using your reward credit card, you still need to be aware that you'll need to pay back your purchases at the end of each month. Or else, you will be charged with an expensive interest rate which puts additional burden on your budget. Furthermore, if you often incur unpaid balance in your account, you can lose your chance of redeeming your rewards. Yes, credit card issuers have the right to change, stop or disqualify you from claiming rewards if you violate stipulations in the agreement. And some reward credit cards require their members to settle their monthly accounts to qualify for rewards. Thus, be sure that the expenses you make in your account are within your means, and that you'll be able to pay it back on or before the due date of payment.

Another way to use your reward credit card smartly is by taking advantage of the 0% introductory offers. If your reward credit card offers a 0% APR on balance transfers, this is your chance to transfer over your high interest balances from other credit cards and pay them off while there's no interest charged. This way, you can focus on paying the actual amount you owe without worrying about interest costs. Just make sure that you'll be able to pay off all your balances before the 0% introductory period ends.

Of course, you still need to collect points to earn rewards. How can you earn more points without necessarily going beyond your budget? This is by choosing reward credit cards that matches your spending. For instance, cash back reward credit cards give points for all types of purchases. If you have a cash back reward card, use it to pay your monthly utilities such as telephone bills, cable, electricity, mortgage and other monthly that you have the obligation to pay one way or the other. If you put these bills together, you can earn more points in your account while making sure that you pay off all your duties accordingly.

Understand the terms of your reward credit card carefully. There might be some options about earning points that you might have missed or there might be some restrictions on collecting or redeeming rewards that you should be aware of. In any case, it would be to your advantage if you know and understand correctly all terms included in the credit card agreement you signed. Even if you've had your reward credit card for some time and you think you know everything, it's still a good idea to review the terms and conditions of your card.