Credit card tips and advice
This page was originally created by Ryan J. and Leo R. 2022-2023
Credit Cards are a common method of payment that function through borrowing money from the bank over a certain amount of time and paying them back after. Different credit cards offer different benefits and advantages according to. Taking advantage of the many different cards can help you avoid debt. Thorough knowledge about the will maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.
Not all cards are created equal and many cards offer benefits to incentivize people to sign up with them; Listed below are the common benefits found in credit cards, what they mean, and some examples of cards with those benefits. Most rewards are earned by spending money with that credit card, and some purchases gain more rewards than others. Although what purchases are better depends on the card, some purchases that tend to give good rewards are groceries, dining out, and utility bills. When choosing a card, consider your current expenses, what you spend more on, what rewards are best for you, and do thorough research as to which cards are worth the most to you. Be aware that some cards are only accessible to certain people with enough credit and money.
|Name||Effect||Common Cards with Benefit|
|Cashback||Return a certain % of money spent as cash redeemable through the card (sometimes only redeemable at certain locations or stores)||
|Air Miles||Gain money back as AIR MILES which can be redeemed either for money at 95 miles for 10 USD or redeemed for discounts on flights (8000 Air Miles is a short one way flight)||
|Points||Obtain a alternate currency known as 'points' upon purchases at a provided rate. Points can be used to redeem cash, prizes, and other objects that may be worth more or worth less than cashback value.||
|Sign Up Bonus||A one-time bonus of either cash or boosted rates within the first set period of time. Bonuses include: more cashback, one time cash bonus, reduced interest rates, bonus points, no annual fee on the first year and more.||
|Product Discounts||Some cards offer special discounts exclusive to their customers when shopping at certain vendors||Optional|
|Additional VIP Benefits||Provides additional benefits and services for owning a card such as hotel reservations, early access, and other VIP benefits. Note: These cards tend to have requirements to obtain and should not be the top priority for most people looking for their first cards||Required|
Your credit score is a rating that ranges from 300 to 850 that determines a consumer's creditworthiness. The higher your rating, the more trustworthy the banks consider you to be, and the more willing they will be to give you loans. The FICO score is the most widely used credit score. Your credit score is determined by many different factors. In order to grow and maintain your credit score you should:
- Make credit card payments on time; up to 35% of the FICO score
- If the timing of the payment is inconvenient, the credit provider can often change the date.
- Keep credit balance low.
- Credit balance is based on the ratio of how much credit you are using (the balance) to how much credit you have available to spend (the credit)
- Keep your oldest account open.
- Up to 15% of the FICO score is determined by how long you have had credit for. Bill some regular expenses to it (e.g. Netflix subscription, Spotify premium) to keep it active. Keeping old credit cards open improves your available credit and therefore your credit balance ratio. Exceptions to this rule might be cards with a high annual fee, or a card that no longer works with your budget.
Owning Multiple Credit Cards
Different credit cards, even cards under the same company, offer various benefits to the holder of the card along with additional terms and conditions, often coming with fees such as Annual fees, Usage Limits, Processing fees, Interest charges, Late payment fees, Foreign transaction fee, Balance transfer fee, Cash advance fee, Over-the-limit fee, Returned payment fee and Inactive Account fee. Sometimes, knowing which card to use and which one not to in different purchases can help you save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Owning multiple credit cards also increases available credit, thus increasing your credit balance ratio, which is good for credit score. Owning multiple credit cards also allows you to capitalize on rewards as best as possible. Since different credit cards give different rewards on different purchases, knowing which credit card to use on which purchase can allow you to get the most rewards out of your purchases.
Although credit card companies enjoy having customers, have a credit utilization rate that is too low or too high can imply a customer being overly reliant or being no longer interested and leaving without notice. As such this can lead to reductions in credit score which lowers you limit for the amount you can use. While not using a credit card mya not reduce you credit score, leaving it for extended periods of time will mark the card as inactive and be closed leading to credit reduction. On the other hand, if a card's credit utilization is very high, it implies a financial weakness and inability to pay with their own money, also reducing credit score. Credit Utilization rate can be calculated like this:
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