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Swiping Smart: Nine Strategies to Maximise the Benefits of Your Credit Cards

 Swiping Smart: Nine Strategies to Maximise the Benefits of Your Credit Cards

Credit cards: they’re not just for instant gratification or emergency expenses. When used wisely, these little pieces of plastic can offer a host of benefits that extend far beyond the convenience of cashless transactions. However, it’s crucial to wield this financial tool with care to fully reap its rewards. So, how can you get the most out of your credit cards? Here are nine strategies to consider.

  1. Understand the Rewards System
    Most credit cards come with a rewards or points system. Whether it’s frequent flyer miles, cashback, or retail vouchers, understanding how to earn and redeem these rewards can add significant value to your card.
  2. Leverage the Interest-Free Period
    Many credit cards offer an interest-free period on new purchases, usually up to 55 days. By timing your significant expenses correctly and paying off the balance before this period ends, you can essentially get a short-term, interest-free loan.
  3. Master the Art of Balance Transfers
    If you’re carrying a balance on another card with a high-interest rate, consider transferring it to a card
    with a lower rate or an introductory zero-interest offer. This strategy can save you a considerable
    amount in interest payments.
  4. Utilise Instalment Plans
    Some cards offer the option to convert big-ticket purchases into monthly instalments at a reduced
    interest rate. This feature can make it easier to manage larger expenses without draining your savings.
  5. Take Advantage of Travel Perks
    Certain credit cards come with travel benefits like free lounge access, travel insurance, and even
    concierge services. If you’re a frequent traveller, these perks can significantly enhance your journey.
  6. Safeguard with Purchase Protection
    Many cards provide purchase protection that covers the cost of repairs or replacements for items
    bought using the card. This can be particularly beneficial for electronics and other high-value items.
  7. Build Your Credit Score
    Consistently paying off your credit card balance on time can help improve your credit score. A higher
    credit score can lead to better interest rates on loans and other financial products.
  8. Employ as an Emergency Fund
    While it’s essential to have a separate emergency fund, a credit card can serve as an additional financial safety net. However, this should be a last resort, given the high-interest rates associated with carrying a balance.
  9. Be Aware of Fees and Charges
    While credit cards offer numerous benefits, they also come with fees and charges, such as annual fees, late payment fees, and foreign transaction fees. Being aware of these can help you avoid unnecessary costs.

Credit cards are a double-edged sword. When used recklessly, they can lead to spiralling debt and
financial ruin. However, when wielded wisely, they offer more than just the convenience of cashless
payments. From rewards systems to building a robust credit score, these nine strategies can help you
maximise the benefits of your credit cards, turning them into a powerful tool for financial well-being.

Ali Raza

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