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Reaping The Rewards: How To Get The Best Credit Card Deals

Jan 24, 2008
When investigating reward cards you may find that since most cards these days don't have to offer reward schemes, as people often sign up for the standard card associated with their account, there are few truly rewarding cards around. The most important thing to remember is to look around and see what is available to you and figure out whether these 'benefits' really will make a difference to you, and your current spending habits, or whether they're simply there to lure you in to signing up. Card reward schemes are only ever a beneficial way to spend when you are not being charged interest, so make sure you aren't losing out before you start.

When looking for the right reward scheme for you there are some great comparison sites on the internet such as moneysupermarket.com which can help suggest cards to suit those of us that are more ethically minded right the way through to those of us who just want some cash off our shopping.

A common mistake people make is applying for a credit card appropriate to a lifestyle that they imagine themselves having in x amount of years, rather than the lifestyle they have right now. Perhaps they think that they can use a card to supplement their income until they receive some notional salary increase in the future, or choose a card that gives great deals on air miles even though they currently don't ever leave the ground! It is vital to look at your finances with brutal honesty and factor in all the unknowns that could hinder future repayments. There is simply no point in applying for a card that provides money off petrol if you don't own a car but intend to buy one at some point in the future, but you end up being unable to afford the monthly interest in the mean time.

Read the small print and make sure you are not paying an annual fee. Most cards no longer charge you for this, so ensure that you are not one of the few who still are. There can be hidden charges on balance transfers and, while 0% interest on balance transfers sounds enticing, a large handling fee is not. Checking online at a comparison site such as moneysupermarket.com will help you look past the alluring introductory offers and establish the potential pitfalls of each card.

It is more than likely any reward period will have strict conditions that have to be met in order to benefit from the points you may have earned. For example, the GM card offers money off new cars but there are strict criteria in place - once you are savvy to all of these, you can make the most of the benefits offered by your card. Since 2004 every credit card company has agreed to comply with an 'honesty box' policy, which means that they have to provide all of their customers with the small print pertaining to their cards. They are also required to clearly explain fees and charges to every customer - all of which means it is relatively easy to bone up on how to get the most out of your plastic and avoid unnecessary charges.

No matter which type of reward scheme you choose it's important to remember the security a credit card offers. All purchases made on credit cards are protected protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. That means that the card companies are as responsible for faulty goods as the shop the item was bought at - perhaps that is the most useful reward of all.
About the Author
Check out online what Emma Stephens says about Credit Card Reward Schemes. She has reviewed Reward Scheme benefits of Credit Cards, Reward Schemes pros and cons and other considerations
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