There are as many credit card options as toothpaste flavors in the supermarket. The perks they offer, when you use them responsibly, can stretch your hard earned dollar and help you build net worth (pay off debt sooner/ leverage 0% interest money for better return, etc.)
4 major ways credit card companies give back to you include,
- Lump sum cash at 0%-3% effective interest rate (ie. fees and APR combined) you can use towards anything at low interest for usually 12-15 months before paying the balance off completely.
- You can make purchases at 0% APR and pay off the card when 0% promotion ends while making much smaller payments until APR jumps.
- Reward you with cash when you make purchases with a credit card, in the form of statement credit, check, or electronic deposit into your bank account.
- Reward you with points you can redeem into gift cards/millage.
Strength: Best balance transfer checks. Good for getting a lump sum of cash (for any large purchase that can not be charged on a credit card or for paying someone/something that requires cash in the bank.)
What I did with it: I wrote myself a check and deposited it in my bank w/n 60 days of opening chase slate. 1) I then wrote a check to the roofing company for a new roof and get the $300 discount (which I won’t get if I charged the purchase onto a credit card.) 2) I paid off a card that was about to go from 0% APR to 16.99%.
- $0 Intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance or write a check during the first 60 days your account is open. 0% APR For 15 months from account opening day.
Strength: 21 months 0% APR on purchases. Longest 0% APR in the market.
What I did with it: I charge all chargeable monthly expenses on this card, freeing up cash flow to make monthly deduction for 403 ROTH and ROTH IRA. (Where else can I come up with 18k-23.5k per year?)
- Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.*
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
- $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
- No annual fee*
Strength: Highest potential cash back. Up to 10% in different categories for the first entire year. (Most credit cards have opening bonuses with cash back/points at high percentage/dollar spent INITIALLY but usually goes down to 1-3% cash back within a month or 2/ after you get $100-300 back.)
What I did with it: 1 click online and activate the 5% category quarterly. Enjoy 5% cash back at amazon, gas stations, restaurants etc. Then get another 5% (so total 10%) at my first anniversary with this card.
- 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up**. Plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.
5% Cashback Calendar
- You can redeem your cash back for any amount at any time.6 And your cash back never expires.
- We double all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year – only for new cardmembers
I pulled the terms off of the website, but definitely read them closely yourself AT the time of your credit card application. More and more cards are popping up with different benefits. If you figure out what you want out of them and are disciplined about plans to pay them off & what you do with the Temporarily interest free money you get, you could really make YOUR dollar go much farther and achieve YOUR financial goals with some nice subsidy!
- Which credit cards do you like? How did they benefit you?
- Do you have cautionary credit card tales to share?