​5 Ways You’re Losing Credit Card Rewards Points

Are you earning all of the credit card rewards that you can? Many credit card users have reward credit cards, but fail to full use their features to earn the rewards they deserve. In fact, two people who spend the same amount each year — and have the same credit cards — can earn vastly different amounts of card rewards.

It’s all in how you swipe that plastic! Here are five ways that you might be losing out on credit card reward points:

1. Using other methods of payment.

To earn credit card rewards, you have to use your credit card. It sounds obvious, but many credit card holders will first try to pay with cash or a check. This is especially true when making frequent, small purchases, yet those transactions can add up to a surprisingly large amount of spending. For example, the average value of a credit card transaction in 2012 was $94, yet the average value of a debit card transaction was $39.1 This means that consumers are more likely to use their debit card for smaller purchases than for larger ones. But when they do so, they are missing out on credit card rewards.

Tip: Before paying with cash or a check, remember to ask if credit cards are accepted.

2. Not paying recurring bills with a credit card.

One of the more common ways that credit card holders can miss out on valuable rewards is when they fail to investigate the possibility of paying recurring bills with their reward credit card. Monthly payments for mobile phone service, Internet service, and pay television services can often be set up to be automatically charged to your credit card. In fact, many home, car and health insurance premiums can also be paid for with a credit card. And when you do so, you can earn rewards while avoiding the hassle of manually making payments each month.

Tip: Contact your billers and ask if they have an automatic payment system that you can enroll in using your credit card. You can also see if your credit card issuer offers its own bill payment program.

3. Not understanding the rewards program.

While there are some credit cards that offer the same rewards for all purchases, many will offer bonus rewards for purchases made from eligible merchants. By knowing which card offers the best rewards at the merchants you visit, you can earn the most valuable rewards. In addition, some cards have bonus categories of merchants that change each quarter, and cardholders must register their card in order to qualify for these bonuses.

Tip: Some credit card users find it useful to make a small note about rewards on a piece of masking tape that they stick to the card.

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4. Missing out on authorized cardholders.

Credit card users are able to earn rewards for charges made by additional authorized cardholders, yet many account holders are unaware of this feature. You can add a spouse, relative or employee as an authorized user to your account, frequently at no additional charge.

Tip: As the primary account holder, you will still be responsible for repayment of all purchases, but those transactions will also count towards your rewards balance.

5. Incurring interest charges when you carry a balance.

Even if you do everything possible to earn the most credit valuable card rewards, you will incur even more expensive interest charges when you carry a balance every month. By paying each month’s statement balance in full and on time, you avoid interest charges.

Tip: If you do intend to carry a balance, you can save money by using a credit card that offers the lowest possible interest rate, rather than one that earns the most rewards.

1. http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/payment-method-statistics-1276.php

 

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice. 

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