Are you finding that you use your credit card a lot more since COVID-19 started? You’re not alone - credit card use has gone up a fair bit, especially once credit cards starting increasing tap limits in response to a huge demand for easy, contactless payments.
Now’s the perfect time to learn how to get the most out of your credit card. After all, it’s there to make your life easier, not more stressful. Check out these 8 tips to get more from your credit card.
1. Review your spending
Take advantage of online and mobile banking to see all your transactions in one place. Get in the habit of reviewing your transactions more often - instead of once a month when you get your credit card statement - to spot any bad spending habits you have.
This is really important right now. As cash becomes less common, a lot of people are finding that they’re racking up a big credit card balance every month. This is because we’re generally less likely to buy something we don’t truly need when we use cash. There’s just something about handing over a bunch of bills that reminds your brain that you might be better off using the money for something else. When we use a credit card or shop online we’re less likely to think about our purchases that much.
2. Tighten your security
Review all your transactions on a regular basis to check for any suspicious activity on your card. Unfortunately, credit card fraud has increased during COVID-19, so it’s really important to be careful.
You can also set up security alerts using online or mobile banking. That way, you’ll know immediately if there are any issues - like changes to your log-in information, for example.
3. Pay bills with your card
Credit cards are a great option for paying your bills! It’s easy to set up pre-authorized payments on recurring expenses, like utilities, monthly membership fees, and insurance payments. 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 endless benefits to paying off your whole credit card balance every month (or even more often), including:
- Fewer extra expenses, like late fees or paying high interest on an outstanding balance.
- Striving to pay off the whole balance every month is a great way to help you stick to a budget.
- It helps you build up a good credit history.
5. Score great credit history
Having a good credit history and credit score makes it easier to qualify for loans and mortgages with better interest rates. Credit cards can help you a lot with this if you pay your balance off every month and don’t carry debt.
6. Maximize your rewards - and use them!
Looking for ways to earn more points on your credit card? Here’s a couple quick tips:
- 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 what purchases. Make sure you’re using your card to get the most points.
- Use your credit card to pay bills, instead of debit.
Use your points
Worried that your travel points are going to go to waste right now? OK, so maybe you’ve put all your vacation plans on hold - you can still use your points! Redeem them for gift cards or merchandise.
7. Understand your benefits
You wouldn’t believe how many people never read through all the benefits of their card. You could be missing out on something really useful. For example, did you know that most credit cards, including the ones that Meridian offers, give you purchase protection and extended warranty coverage? That sounds really boring, I know, but it’s actually really helpful.
- With purchase protection, new purchases made with your 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).
- With extended warranty you get double the original manufacturer’s warranty (for a maximum of one additional year). Super helpful if that new fridge you bought with your credit card breaks down.
Not sure where to find your credit card benefits?
If you didn’t keep a copy around when you first got your credit card, you can find the information online, usually on the credit card page. For example, if you have a Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card, you can find everything on this page.
8. Ask for help
If you’re finding that you’re carrying a balance (not uncommon during COVID-19), you have some options. For example, ask your credit card company about financial relief options, like deferring your monthly credit card payment. You can also sit down with an advisor to discuss whether you should take out a loan or line of credit in order to pay your card balance (these have much lower interest rates).
Interested in a Meridian’s credit cards? Explore our options.