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8 expert tips for credit scores and card usage


Dark skinned man, in his office, leans back in a chair with a laptop. He’s on the phone and smiling.

With the cost of living on the rise, it is important to outsmart inflation by making the most of your shopping habits and financial tools. Your credit card likely offers flexible payment options and perks or benefits that you can use to your advantage.

If you’re wondering how to get a better credit score while making the most of your credit card benefits, check out these 8 tips.

1. Review your spending

Over the past several years, more Canadians have turned from cash to cards for everyday transactions. It’s easy to see why – tapping your credit card is both simple and contact-free. It allows you to pay quickly and get on your way.

But with the ease of spending, it’s important to keep track of your transactions. Make a habit of reviewing your card history regularly. One of the most important credit card benefits is the ease of viewing your purchases in one place. Keep an eye on your spending habits and make adjustments, where needed.

2. Tighten your security

Unfortunately, credit card fraud has increased in recent years. It’s important to stay on top of your card security. If you’re wondering how to get a better credit score, start with making sure you recognize every purchase on your card. Look for suspicious activity in your credit card history, even if the charges are very small.

You can also set up security alerts using online or mobile banking. That way, you’ll know immediately if there are changes to your log-in information, or other issues.

3. Pay bills with your card

One of the most useful credit card benefits is the ease of paying your bills. It’s simple to set up pre-authorized payments for recurring expenses like utilities, monthly membership fees, insurance payments, and more. Plus, paying your bills with a credit card is a great way to get more reward points!

4. Pay off your credit card balance - often

There are many benefits to paying off your whole credit card balance every month (or even more often), including:

  • Fewer extra expenses, like late fees or interest charges on an outstanding balance.
  • Striving to pay off the whole balance every month is a great way to help you stick to a budget.
  • If you’re wondering how to get a better credit score, regular card payments can help.

5. Build great credit history

Among the most important credit card benefits is the opportunity to build a strong credit history. As you use and pay off your card each month and make your payments on time, you will establish yourself as an excellent candidate for credit down the road. A stronger credit score will make it easier to qualify for loans and mortgages with better interest rates.

If you are wondering how to get a better credit score, using and paying off your credit card is a great start.

6. Maximize your rewards - and use them!

Looking for ways to get more from your credit card? Points and rewards are some of the most popular credit card benefits. Here are a few quick tips for earning more:

  • Add a secondary card holder - you can earn points faster together, plus it’s a great way to consolidate spending.
  • Check how many points you earn, and for which purchases. Make sure you’re using your card at the right retailers to get the most points.
  • Use your credit card to pay bills, instead of using debit or e-transfer.

Use your points

Rather than collect and forget your credit card rewards, make a plan to use them on your next holiday or shopping event.

7. Understand your benefits

Are you missing out on useful credit card benefits? Most cards, including those offered by Meridian, offer purchase protection and/or extended warranty coverage on the things you buy.

  • Purchase protection – New purchases made with your Meridian credit card are covered against loss, theft or damage on most new items for 90 days from the date of purchase (there’s a maximum of $10,000 per item, up to a maximum of $50,000 lifetime per account).
  • Extended warranty – Whether you buy a new fridge or a new computer with your Meridian credit card, you will get double the original manufacturer’s warranty (for a maximum of one additional year).

Not sure where to find your credit card benefits?

If you don’t have a copy of your credit card benefits, you can likely find the information online. For example, if you have a Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card, you can find everything on this page.

8. Ask for help

Sometimes, life brings unexpected costs. If you are carrying a balance on your credit card and need financial relief, ask your provider about deferring a monthly credit card payment. If you’re wondering how to get a better credit score, deferring a card payment, rather than missing it, will be easier on your credit history.

At Meridian, you can meet with an advisor to see whether you should take out a loan or line of credit (with lower interest rates) in order to pay your card balance.

Interested in a Meridian’s credit cards? Explore our options.

Learn more about managing your credit card

Learn how to set up alerts in Online Banking
How to set up an emergency savings fund
Check Your Financial Resilience Score
What if your credit card were about to get better?

A version of this article was originally published September 2020.

Meridian Credit Union communications are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice or an opinion on any issue. We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations if desired.

For permission to republish this content, please contact the Meridian Credit Union Marketing Department at ©️ 2023 Meridian Credit Union