Reward credit cards can be a fantastic way to get something back from your everyday spending, giving you the chance to earn points that can be converted into anything from shopping vouchers to hotel stays, all by spending as you normally would. Here's how to make the most of them.
Deciding on the card for you will take a little bit of research, for the simple reason that you're going to actually want to benefit from the rewards you're earning. You may be a loyal Asda shopper, for example, in which case you might love the chance to earn vouchers for future shopping trips through its Cashback Credit Card Mastercard, or you might be an avid traveller, in which case the chance to earn Avios through American Express's British Airways Card could be ideal.
Make sure you dig a little deeper so you know exactly how much points are worth, what they can be converted into, and whether there are any partner companies that will accept reward vouchers as well. You'll need to take a close look at the Best Buys and the finer details on the card's site itself, but it could be worth it!
Once you've got a card that gives you the rewards you want, it's time to get spending! Don't use it as an excuse to spend more than you normally would, however – it's all about using it for normal, everyday spending, in essence using it as an alternative to debit cards or cash. That way, you can earn a huge number of points simply by spending as normal, and if you put significant purchases on it as well – the upcoming summer holiday, for example – you could earn even more!
Keep tabs on what you're spending to make sure you don't blow your budget, but also keep an eye that you're meeting the spending requirements of the particular card. Some even offer bonus points if you spend a certain amount in the first few months, for example – again, don't use it as an excuse to overspend, but if you've got a few big purchases planned, you could hit the milestones with ease!
This is perhaps the most important thing to remember – you need to make sure that you pay the balance off in full every single month, otherwise you'll be charged interest which could easily eat into the benefits you've earned, and could even overwrite them completely. Ideally, you'll want to set up a direct debit to repay the balance so you needn't worry about forgetting, and if you've saved up for your summer holiday or a big purchase, you can use your savings as well.
Not sure you can commit to paying off the balance in full each month? Consider 0% purchase cards instead.
In line with the above, you want to make sure that you're not actually "borrowing" from the card for too long; instead, you'll want to treat it as more of a debit card, safe in the knowledge that you can pay it off and earn rewards at the same time. Similarly, never use these cards to withdraw cash, as you'll likely be charged a hefty interest rate and a fee as well – even if you pay it off afterwards.
Before you apply for that new card, you'll want to make sure your credit score is as good as possible, thereby maximising your chance of acceptance and reducing the possibility of earning a black mark on your credit history.
To do that, you'll need to contact credit check providers, such as Experian, so you can check your report and see if there are any areas you need to improve on. For example, you'll need to make sure that you're on the electoral roll at your current address and that there aren't any discrepancies on your file, and you may need to close old accounts that are no longer used.
Find out how to improve your credit score
So, are you ready to get more from your everyday spending? Remember that this route should only be considered by those who are fully able to repay any outstanding balances each month, but if you're confident you can make that kind of commitment, find the best reward credit cards right here and see the kind of benefits you could earn.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.