Despite an economy that’s still struggling, the majority of Americans are still planning to use their credit cards duringcardgame the holiday shopping season – starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In a survey conducted by MarketLive and the E-Tailing Group released on October 19th, it was found that more than half of consumers surveyed intend to do their holiday shopping online (59% – up from 49% last year). The primary method of making payments for online purchases are credit cards.
Due to the increase in the number of online shoppers who are likely to use credit cards on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are some tips for using your credit cards wisely as recommended by BillShrink.com, the free online service that saves people money on everyday bills, has compiled recommendations on the best credit cards for different types of holiday shoppers, coupled with tips on how to how to avoid getting hurt by issuers’ sneaky fine print.
Skip the Retailer’s Credit Card Offers
The holiday season prompts retailers to increase marketing efforts for their store credit cards. If you’re shopping in person, don’t be surprised if at every check out you’re asked if you’d like to pay for your purchases with a new credit card. Most will have a 0% promotional offer, or will save you 20% off that day’s purchase – but don’t be tempted! A single late payment on this card can cause that 0% interest rate to jump over 20%; and the 20% you might save from today’s purchase will not make up for the amount you’ll pay in interest and fees over time if you don’t pay the balance off in full.
Take Advantage of your Credit Card Return Policy
If you’re a savvy shopper getting your holiday shopping done early, you may find that by the time your gift exchange happens you’re already beyond the retailers 14-30 day return period. If your credit card offers return protection, your card issuer will take back most items the store won’t accept, up to 90 days after the purchase date.
Pretend Your Credit Card is a Debit Card
While many people rely on credit cards when they don’t have the cash to shop – ideally you should make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover everything you pay for with your credit card. Keep track of spending just like you would your debit card, and you’ll know exactly how much your holiday shopping is costing you and whether you have enough money to afford what you’re buying.