If you believe using a credit card is nothing more than an expensive exercise, it is probably time for a rethink, as there are a number of ways you can come out on top when you use your card instead of cash.
Here is a look at the positives attached to using a credit card you might not have even thought about, as well as the extent of some of the credit card benefits you may not have realized you could get.
No Scissors and Coupons Required: You Can Save Cash with Cards
There is a fair chance that you are one of those people who quite happily cuts out a coupon to use at your local store or restaurant, as it seems that well over 80 percent of us are noted to be occasional to regular coupon users.
That stands to reason, as most of us are not likely to turn down the chance to get some money off, or maybe even a free gift. The same mentality can also be applied to using your credit card, as there are literally hundreds of card-linked offers out there that you can take advantage of nowadays.
Sites like Upgraded Points specialize in hunting down enticing credit card offers. Reward schemes like cash back, unlimited purchase discounts and cash back rewards are the kind of deals that card issuers are offering. Other cards offer discounts at certain participating restaurants and gas stations, while others offer free flights or hotels.
If you use coupons to get money off, or like getting something for nothing or for little effort, it makes sense to use your credit card to unlock some of these rewards, unless you are happy missing out.
It is also worth pointing out that it is a lot less hassle to get your hands on credit card rewards, as you don’t have to cut any coupons out, and there are no codes to scan. Once you have signed up for a rewards scheme, just pay with your card and the rest will happen automatically.
Even More Savings: You Can Get Some of Your Money Back
Cash back deals are always worth looking out for and this is a prime example of how using your credit card could actually save you money.
If you see a cash back program being offered with your credit card, it is always worth signing up for the program, as you could get some of your hard-earned cash back to spend again in another way. You get rewarded just for using your credit card when you pay for your groceries or almost anything else you use your card for on a regular basis.
Although many of these schemes offer you cash back, as the description implies, this can also be offered to you as discounts, travel vouchers, hotel and travel rewards, and plenty of other ways to spend what is effectively “free” money from the card company.
Getting a percentage of the cash back that you had to spend anyway is a real no-brainer and a persuasive reason to use your credit card, so that you get the maximum benefit from your cash spending.
Retail Reality Check: You Get Easier Returns
There is almost nothing more frustrating than purchasing an item that doesn’t turn out to be right for you or just not what you expected it to be. In reality, there is one thing more frustrating than that: when you discover the retailer is not playing ball and won’t accept a return for whatever reason.
If you can’t get your money back, or only get offered a store credit, which you probably don’t want, that can turn out to be a costly experience. If you paid for the item using your credit card; however, it makes it easier for you to get your money back and cancel the transaction.
If something is faulty, not as described, or there are other viable reasons you don’t want to keep what you’ve purchased, the extra layer of consumer protection you get when you pay by credit card gives you more options than if you paid by cash or debit card.
There are certain rules and limits relating to cancelling a card transaction, but they are normally far more generous than other methods of payments. Using your credit card could save you money in this scenario, as you are less likely to get stuck with something you don’t want or are unhappy with in the end.
It is fair to say that saving money isn’t the first feature that springs to most people’s minds when talking about credit cards, but when you look into what they offer, there is actually a good chance your card could do just that. Start by finding out what your credit card provider offers, so you can take advantage of the benefits using your card could bring.
About Erin Bradshaw
Erin Bradshaw knows from experience how credit cards can be the root of all evil, but now almost debt free she can also see their positive sides. She writes about a range of personal finance matters in her online articles as she shares her own views, experiences and tips for managing your money better.