Getting the Most Out Of Your Credit Card

Move over cash, you are no longer king. And as technology continues to advance, we have moved from signatures to swiping, inserting, tapping and even facial or fingerprint recognition on a mobile device to make payments and accessing funds. Take a look at GoDay and how our payday loans work, we are completely online and delivering the cash you need quickly and easily thanks to technology. But this has also changed the way we manage our money as well. According to finder, many Canadians are using a credit card to help manage their finances. There are 74 million credit cards in circulation throughout Canada with the average Canadian having two credit cards.

There are many things to look for when it comes to finding the right credit card. It’s not always about the rewards that are offered (although, you should definitely keep these in mind) or the sign on perks, but what comes along with having the card so you can make the most of it. Some cards charge an annual fee and some can be free to use. Some cards have higher interest rates than others and some cards are designed to cater to specific retail locations or businesses. Finder also shares that in 2017, 89% of Canadian households reported having at least one credit card, according to the Bank of Canada. The data also found credit card use is on the rise, with the number of Canadians reporting they have a credit card increasing by 7% from 2013 to 2017.

Finding The Right Card For You

There are so many credit cards to choose from that how do you decide which card is the right one for you? And before making a decision on what credit card to choose you should do your research to see what credit card (and company or bank the credit card is affiliated with) check off all the boxes in terms of what your spending habits are and your financial wellbeing. Because there are so many different kinds of credit cards out there, you want to make sure to invest in yourself and know how your credit card is going to match your lifestyle and future financial goals. Another thing to keep in mind is your spending habits because, despite popular belief, a credit card does not increase the amount of money you have to spend, you still have to budget to make sure you are not stretching your spending because of the credit limit that has been given to you.

When it comes to your credit card, what are you looking for? Are you trying to build credit? Are you looking for a cashback card? Do you want a travel rewards card? You have to ask yourself what your primary purpose for getting a credit card is. Here are a few of the questions that need to be answered to help determine what kind of credit card you should be applying for.

  • What will you be using the card for?
  • What kind of card is it?
  • What are the fees associated with the card?
  • What is the credit limit?
  • What rewards are involved?

By determining what your financial needs are, you can choose a new credit card for what will work best for you. Once you have made that decision, you can then start researching specific cards, compare offers (and sometimes a new bank depending on offers) and benefits to then apply for a card that you like.

Paying More than the Minimum

Are you only paying the minimum payment on your credit card? What about paying your credit card on time? We’re here for you on how to deal with credit card shock. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the minimum payment that is due is the amount you should be paying each month when really that minimum payment is what is keeping you in good standing with your credit card holder. Not just making the minimum payment, but making sure you pay your credit card bill on time to avoid late fees is something you should be focusing on so it doesn’t start affecting your credit score. And one of the worst things to do in a situation like this is run from it. When you don’t pay your full credit card balance every month or late, it can become easy to accumulate interest fees (and sometimes a lot of it) quickly. Before you continue to add to your credit card balance, try taking a look at your bill statements and expenditures from the month to see what you are spending your money on and if there are any ways you can cut back. Was there an unexpected or emergency expense you had to put on your credit card? And now that the charges are on your card and a new month of spending has started adding up do you have a financial plan in action to help get yourself back on a budget? Before you fall into the revolving credit card debt cycle of owing more and more every month, check out our advice to stop overspending and focus on building a budget to get yourself back on track.

According to the survey of 1,100 Canadian consumers, 88% indicated that they more often pay a greater amount than their minimum due on revolving debts each month says Money Sense Magazine. But at the same time, Yahoo Finance shares Canadians are using credit cards for various reasons, with more than half the population (54 per cent) carrying more than one card, while nearly 6 in 10 Canadians (59 per cent) are using credit cards for everyday purchases, with one in four use credit to bridge the gap in between pay cheques. Credit cards also typically have high-interest rates compared to most other types of loans and in some cases, it may make more financial sense to get payday loans from GoDay, rather then put purchases onto your credit card if you are trying to bridge the gap.

Card Holder Perks

No matter what kind of credit card you have, there is most likely some kind of benefits or perks that come with it. Even when you sign up, there are usually bonus points or an extra something, just for you signing on. For all the money you spend, you’ve been accumulating points based on your total purchases. Based on the total number of points you have will determine how much your points are worth and you can then redeem them on many things. So what should you redeem them on? Some people use them for travelling like airfare and hotels, others use shopping or even getting cash back! You can use these points for various things depending on the card you have and what partnerships your cardholder has. Other credit cards offer a cash back option. That’s right- there are credit cards that will give you money at the end of each year based on what you’ve spent. Similar to the point’s option, you can receive a certain percentage of cash back based on your spending. For example, gas and groceries may be worth 4% cash back but things like bill payments may be worth 2%. As much as 2% does not sound like a lot, that total can add up quickly, especially with the bills we are regularly paying- getting cash back for paying our bills is a bonus. But as we have mentioned, every card is different and some of these perks may not be beneficial for you. When looking for and using your credit card, you want to make sure you are aware of the benefits of being a cardholder and these perks could end up surprising you with savings when taking advantage of them.

What Can Your Credit Card Do For You

If used wisely, the credit card perks we mentioned above can be great. But it is also more than travel rewards or exclusive pre-sales and access to events, but what your card can do for you. This can include a lot of different consumer protections incentives as well, such as travel insurance, car rentals, and insurance, medical insurance coverage and more. Some cards will even let you use your points to help pay off your current credit card balance.

Besides people not always having cash in their wallets, having credit cards available makes it easier to pay for things now than ever before. Credit cards can also be beneficial since a majority of them are accepted everywhere, no matter what the currency (very handy when travelling to a different country), which is not always the case with cash or debit cards. Using a credit card can also help build your credit or improve your credit score if used responsibly. How? Credit card companies report your payment activities to the credit bureaus, which can be beneficial to your credit score but can also work in the opposite way if you are not paying off your full balance and are accumulating debt.

There is also a sense of security when it comes to your credit card as paying with a credit card makes it easier to avoid fraud. Banks and credit card companies are very good at detecting fraud or fraudulent attempts thanks to technology and if your credit card is used fraudulently, you are not out any money – you just notify your credit card company of the charges and don’t pay for the transactions you didn’t make while the credit card company resolves the matter. This is not always the case when it comes to cash or your debit card. When your debit card is used fraudulently, the money that goes missing from your account happens instantly which can cause late payments since it can take a while for the fraudulent transactions to be reversed and have the money put back into your account while the bank investigates the matter.

Use The Tools Available

Credit cards and the banks or financial institutions it is tied to also have tools available. Whether it is setting monthly budgets, keeping track of your spending or even having the ability to put limits and/or locking your credit card when you reach your maximum spending amounts, you should look at the tools that are available to you when signing up for your credit card. Soon enough, based on your spending habits and technology, you will be getting notifications about common purchases or upcoming payments that are due. And in the same ways that GoDay provides you with resources and tools to ensure you are financially successful, financial institutions do the same to try to help keep you aware of your spending. By setting notifications for your spending and when your bills are due, you will always have a budgeting tool ready to help you get the most out of your money. This way you don’t risk overspending on your credit card and are able to pay off your full balance on time each month.

So make sure when using your credit card you are getting the most out of it! Maybe that means finding a new one that is right for you and your financial future or learning more about what tools and perks you have available with your current card. And if you run into any financial bumps in the road with your credit card bills or making payments, GoDay is here to help you bridge the gap and get you back on track. Learn more about how we’re helping people today.  

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