Credit cards ... So convenient that using them can sometimes make you feel like you’re spending 'pretend money.'  And while there are credit cards that reward your spending with bonus awards, you don’t want to play like a gambler when it comes to your credit. We all know that can be dangerous.

Credit cards can be wonderful, and as long as you’re responsible with yours (charge only what you can afford; pay in full and on time), and do a bit of research to find the best ones for your needs, there are amazing rewards to be earned.



Visa open sign for a store front

Here are some pointers for maximizing yours:

  • Your card rewards should accommodate your lifestyle. It’s easy to get swept up by great introductory offers and signing incentives. But remember to ask yourself if these rewards are in keeping with what you enjoy. If for example, your rewards would go toward filling your tank with gas, but you live near a city and use mass transit, maybe you’d be better off with airline miles or discounts on products you use regularly. Think of awards as investments you choose.

  • Instead of rewards in the form of tangible things like flights or gas, cash can be used any way you like, even to pay off your credit card balance. There are many credit cards that offer cash rewards, and you can spend it on anything from luxuries to groceries, or change it up as often as you like.

  • Stay on top of the details. We’re all busy and it’s easy to lose track of what we’re entitled to and by what deadline ... In fact, most credit cards are hoping that you do forget. So make it a priority to stay on top of expiration dates, black-outs, and changing terms. If you're good at it, you might even create an Excel spreadsheet for this purpose.


Squeezer doing research on a laptop

  • Do your research. A quick search on the Internet from reputable banking sources as to which credit cards have the best offers will help you compare the terms and advantages of each. You can also learn lots of strategies from credit card reward experts (bloggers) who have made a career out of maximizing rewards. Think of free travel and groceries.

  • Use cards strategically. You might decide to charge all of your expenses to one card and rack up all your rewards there or to use different cards with different rewards at different times. For example, one card may be used exclusively at home and another for travel … Or one card may be best for monthly expenses, while another is put aside for entertainment. Make a plan that you and your family can understand and stick with, and then enjoy the benefits that come your way.

  •  Being aware and responsible with your personal finances, and having short-and long-term plans will serve you well. This is true of maximizing rewards from your credit card … and everything else.