By: Robert C. Bess Sr.
Americans typically use their credit cards to their fullest extent. It is also not unusual to see consumers waiting in long lines for long hours to take advantage of discounts. However, the credit cards that are used to purchase these items often have either cash back or rewards programs that consumers can take advantage of. Unfortunately, consumers are not as prepared to take advantage of these programs. As a matter of fact, according to a 2011 study by Colloquy and Swift Exchange, the average household enrolled in a rewards program failed to redeem a third of the rewards they earn each year. Most people do not realize they have accrued reward points.
It is important to note that all credit cards and credit card reward programs are not considered equal in terms of consumer usage and situation for that use. Here are some tips that will help you navigate through the choices:
Choose the Right Rewards Credit Card
Make sure that the credit card and rewards program you use fits your financial lifestyle. Ensure that if you, for instance travel often that you get a hotel or airline card. This will also be a way to build mileage points as well. This can lead to free hotel stays and free trips.
Consider Cash Back Credit Cards
Cash Back cards are pretty straight forward and simple to follow. These are for followers that like immediate satisfaction. There are many ways to redeem your cash rewards as well.
Know the Rules and Read the Fine Print
This is very important. Depending on the type of credit card you have often there are stipulations in the fine print that can affect common uses for consumer credit cards. Some require a certain amount of charge before you will gain any points or rewards. Pay strict attention to your card and know exactly what the benefits are and the pitfalls that can cost you.
Look for Bonus Opportunities
Often times there are opportunities that come for the consumer to enroll in these specials. You will have to be on the lookout and register for these opportunities when they arrive. Pay particular attention to enrollment dates. Included in this category are opportunities to earn double and triple performance.
Make Smart Credit Choices
Keep in mind that credit cards, whether they have perks or awards are still credit cards and can take a negative toll on your finances if they are not managed well. Try to use your credit card (best to have 1 in use) and pay the balance at the end of each month. Don’t make late payments on your credit cards if you carry a balance.