How To Use Credit Cards Wisely

6 Easy Credit Card Hacks

Written by Jason Steele

Are you looking to get more from your credit cards? There are some hardcore credit card enthusiasts that have come up with ingenious ways to exploit loopholes, but even if you aren’t interested in scouring the Internet, check out these six easy ways to get more out of your credit cards.

1. Making multiple payments to lower interest charges. Credit card interest is calculated based on your average daily balance, and a statement is generated once a month with a single due date. However, there’s nothing to stop you from reducing interest charges by paying early or by making multiple payments to continuously reduce your average daily balance. Just be sure to always make at least one payment of at least the minimum balance between your statement closing date and your payment due date

2. Asking for a lower interest rate. Many credit card users get frustrated by their card’s high interest rates, but it can be very easy to get a lower rate just by asking. Most credit cards offer customers a range of interest rates based on their creditworthiness when they applied. But if you’ve been making your payments on time and taking other steps to improve your credit, you may be eligible for lower interest rate. To find out, contact your credit card issuer and enquire about receiving a lower rate on your current card. In addition, you could ask about making a “product change” to another card offered by the same issuer that features lower rates.

3. Stretching your grace period. The best way to avoid interest charges is to pay each month’s statement balance in full and on time. But if this becomes difficult, you can work to maximize your credit card’s grace period while still avoiding interest charges. To do so, find out when your statement period closes, and look to postpone large charges until after that date. Then, the charges will appear on the next month’s statement period, giving you another month of additional time to pay for the purchases and avoid interest charges.

4. Sign-up bonuses. Many reward credit cards offer valuable sign-up bonuses in the form of points, miles or cash back. To earn the most valuable bonus be sure to compare the offers you might find in different places. For example, an airline credit card application might offer a different bonus online compared to the offer you see in their in-flight magazine. Furthermore, don’t worry about getting a card just to get a sign-up bonus. Banks make these offers to get new customers to try their products, and instead of cancelling the card after receiving the bonus it makes sense to give the card a fair chance for a year and then decide to renew it based on your experiences. Just don’t get reward card if you will use it to overspend or incur debt.

5. Promotional financing. Another way to save a tremendous amount on interest charges is to use a card with a 0% APR promotional financing offer on new purchases, balance transfers or both. These cards allow you to save money on interest charges for a limited time, but by law they always last at least six months. After your promotional rate expires, the standard interest rate will apply to any unpaid balance.

6. Exploring your benefits. Banks add numerous cardholder benefits, but most customers don’t take the time to explore what’s offered. By looking at your credit card’s guide to benefits, you may find that it includes damage and theft protection, extended warranty coverage, price protection, purchase protection, and even compensation for lost or delayed baggage.

By utilizing some of these simple credit card hacks, you can get more value from your cards than you may have thought possible.

What hacks have you used to get more out of your favorite card?

About the author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a freelance journalist specializing in credit cards and personal finance. His work has appeared in many of the top personal finance sites as well as mainstream outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and Business Insider.


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