Are you earning all of the credit card rewards that you can? Many people carry a rewards credit card, but might fail to fully use the appropriate features to earn the rewards they deserve.

It’s all in how you use your card! 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. When making small purchases with other methods, such as cash, check or debit cards, those transactions can add up to a surprisingly large amount of spending and no rewards earned. It might make sense to put some purchases you might have made in cash on a credit card in order to earn rewards – while staying within your spending means.

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 rewards 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. But be sure to check to see if there is a fee to pay the bill with your credit card.

Tip: Contact your billers and ask if they have an automatic payment system that you can enroll in using your credit card.

3. Not understanding your 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.

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.

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 or relative as an authorized user to your account.

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 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 on purchases.

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.

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