If you are like me, you’ve stopped carrying a checkbook altogether. Many of us rely heavily on our credit cards for everyday purchases and for paying bills.
Given this uptick in credit card use, rewards credit cards are a great way to profit from your expenses. These programs offer convenience and benefits, along with the opportunity to capitalize on free flights, hotels, dining and more.
We are continuously presented with offers for debit or credit cards that promise cash back or other enticing rewards. What may seem like a great deal on the surface could actually end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Make sure you really understand all the details.
For example, for a debit card, will you pay fees to have the checking account? Are their minimum balance requirements or hidden fees?
For a credit card, make sure the interest you pay isn’t more than cash back reward. Even if you don’t carry a balance on your credit card, be sure to compare what the award will actually get you. And, make sure to look for limitations such as the redemption rates, expiration of the points, and any annual fees.
Here’s an important rule of thumb when choosing a credit card rewards program: Rewards programs can be a great benefit if the reward is something you can truly use and it doesn’t cost you more in fees and hassle in the long run.
BECU offers several free seminars and informative articles on credit and debt. Visit www.becu.org/seminars for more information.