The start of a new year is an important time for your finances. It’s an opportunity to reassess your money situation and work out how to recover from heavier spending over Christmas! Your ability to use a credit card properly is often an overlooked area of personal finance.
In this article, I’m going to reveal some tricks and tips about using credit cards to help you manage your money, deal with your debt and make the most of all the tools available to you.
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5 credit card tricks for 2022
Here’s a complete breakdown of five different ways you can use credit cards to your advantage in a responsible way.
1. You don’t have to pay interest
Before taking out a credit card, it’s important to realise that it’s possible to get a card that doesn’t charge any interest for a considerable amount of time.
Some of the best 0% purchase cards offer extended periods where you don’t pay any interest on your spending. A word of caution: this doesn’t mean you should go out and blow your balance on hot tubs and widescreen TVs!
But perhaps if you’re planning a summer holiday, you can use the card to book everything while prices are lower and then gradually pay it all off over the next few months without interest charges.
2. If you’re paying interest, switch!
If you already have credit card debt that you’re paying interest on, it’s time to wake up! There are loads of balance transfer credit cards available that will allow you to shift your debt. These cards provide a decent period of breathing room to pay off your debt without incurring further interest.
Most balance transfers involved a small fee, but the top 0% balance transfer cards could end up saving you buckets in interest payments.
3. Access fee-free and secure spending abroad
As the world opens back up, you may find yourself travelling more for leisure or work. Using a travel credit card can be an excellent way to spend money abroad without paying any exchange fees. Just remember to pay the balance off in full when you return.
Most card providers will also give you spending protection if something happens to your card or if it’s used fraudulently. I had my details copied once, and the culprits spent £1,500 at a brewery in Barbados! Thankfully, I had spending protection on my credit card – and this may not have been the case had I used my debit card.
4. Get added protection on your purchases
Similarly, a credit card can be a more secure way of spending money at home. If something goes wrong with a purchase, most card companies will help straighten out your account.
A recent example of this from personal experience was a covid testing provider who refused to refund for a test they didn’t send. Luckily, I’d paid using a credit card, and my provider was able to recover the funds.
5. Earn with cashback and loyalty programmes
With some cashback cards, you can earn money back if you use them in certain places. With others, like the best American Express cards, you receive bonus points that can be used towards flights and big purchases.
These rewards only work if you’re sensible and pay off your balance. If you use the card for purchases you were going to make anyway, you could end up reducing how much you spend – or even bag yourself some free flights!