The Wall Street Journal weekend edition had a great article titled “Getting the Best From Cards’ Teaser Rates.” I found the article extremely valuable in light of the Christmas season.
Here are some highlights:
-Read the fine print: As issuers sweeten their promotions, make sure you understand ALL the terms and conditions. Many promotions are offered for only three to six months, compared with the 12-month deals more typical in recent years.
-Supercharge your spending: Savvy consumers can take steps to maximize their benefits. You’re probably going to spend a fair amount of money this holiday season, so why not get something back? The Citi CashReturns card offers a 5% cash back on all purchases (with no limits) for three months, but then drops to 1% after the introductory period.
-Consider long-term rates: Pay attention to the rates! I only know a few cards with 0% APR financing—even then, it’s for a limited time. Most companies offer 0% on balance transfers only. If you get stuck, you’re likely going to pay 15% or higher….ouch.
Most people get sick of promotional offers; however, if you really pay attention and read the fine print, you can get some nice rewards: bonus miles, cash back, instant rebates, etc. Bottom line: know yourself and your spending habits. Just because a credit card offers flexibility doesn’t mean you need to make a purchase.