A rewards credit card can very often represent excellent value and present real benefits to the consumer. However, it is important not to sign up for a credit card based on the reward alone, and it will be important to take two things into consideration.
The first aspect to consider is whether the card itself represents good value in terms of the available limit, the interest rate charged and any fees, in addition to costs that might be incurred for general maintenance of the account. The second aspect to look at is the reward itself, and whether this represents one which best suits your own personal interests, needs and habits.
Very often, reward credit cards work by providing you with points on your account whenever your credit card is used to purchase goods or services from companies which are either subsidiary ones of the credit card company itself, or part of an affiliate network of finance and retail companies and organisations. One typical example many people come across is a credit card which offers consumers reward points for purchasing fuel from a particular garage or retailer. With a set number of points per litre or per gallon, these points can be accumulated until a specified number have been reached.
This then allows the consumer to choose from a number of different rewards. In some cases, these can be items such as hampers, glassware, holidays or other material goods. In other cases, it could be vouchers for holidays and flights, and still others provide money off coupons or cash back. In this case, you might spend a hundred dollars and receive a 1% cash back reward.
One of the issues that you need to look into when evaluating any reward is how easy it is to accumulate points. Knowing that you can achieve a free weekend break when you reach a certain level of points, you might then ignore the interest rate in order to attain the points. Exactly the same situation exists with store reward cards. People will pay more in the more expensive store just to get points on their card, and a nice lump sum pay-out later, rather than save the odd cent or two now. That is one of the attractions of reward credit cards, and one that is enough for many people to use them by choice.
But before signing up for a rewards credit card it will be important to evaluate how likely it is that you will be able to realistically earn enough points to acquire the reward itself, and whether any changes to your shopping that may be required will impact on the amount you’re likely to spend. However, if you don’t see any real need to change your regular shopping habits, and you really will be able to earn points, prizes or money off coupons, then certainly it makes good sense to consider applying for a rewards credit card in place of a standard credit card which does not offer any kind of reward.
As previously referred to with regard to store cards, one of the ways in which rewards work well for companies is by encouraging loyalty, and by encouraging you to use that particular credit card more often for your purchases rather than any other credit card you may have. However – make sure you don’t fall into the trap of using your credit card to pay for goods instead of using either cash or a debit card, if you are then likely to forget to pay off the balance of the credit card at the end of the month. Putting all your bills on the credit card and then forgetting to pay the bill on time could result in you paying a good deal extra in interest.
A rewards credit card is a great idea, and a real help if you already shop in a way which could provide you with privileges without you having to make any real changes. If you use a credit card regularly, such as in business for example, whereby your company reimburses your expenses, then a reward credit card is likely the best type for you to have – so long as you pay the bills when your company pays you for what you have spent!