Credit cards can be beneficial in many areas of spending if used correctly and carefully, so we’ll take you through some of the main benefits that you can take advantage of when using these products.
A balance transfer is where part or all of an existing debt is transferred from one credit card to another. This is normally done to save money on the interest you would normally have to pay with your existing card. Some providers offer cards that are designed for balance transferring and can provide you with little or no interest for a short period of time.
These cards can be very helpful in allowing you to organise your debts in the one place however be careful when choosing this as a debt consolidation option as the 0% interest rate is often over a fixed period of time e.g 12 or 24 months. You should carefully consider if this is realistically enough time for you to repay your debts in full.
How to transfer your balance
You are often able to transfer existing credit card debt to a balance transfer card with the same provider easily over the phone or online. However you may find a better deal for example, a longer period of 0% interest or a lower transfer fee.
Applying for a balance transfer card, both with a new provider or with your existing provider, can allow you to transfer some smaller balances from other cards such as store cards for example. Store cards can also have a huge rate of interest and transferring balances from these cards to a 0% card could potentially save you £100s per year.
Like a balance transfer card, reward cards can provide you with £100s worth of benefits over the year however they should not be used for the same purposes. Unlike with the balance transfer option, we would not recommend you use a rewards orientated credit card as a method of repaying existing credit card debt.
How to reap the rewards
Many good schemes offer a certain amount of points for every pound spend, this can allow you to build up £100s worth of savings over the year and prove to be a really beneficial option.
However be vigilant when considering which product has the best return as many schemes can offer a lot of points per £1 spent, however, the points offered may turn out to be worth a lot less than others. For example a Sainbury’s nectar card point is worth approximately 0.5p, compare this to a Tesco Clubcard point that can be worth up to 4p.
How to use these cards
Always pay off your balance in full at the end of the month; as we mentioned before it is not really beneficial to use a rewards based credit card if you have a lot of existing debt. This is simply because if you do not pay off your balance in full at the end of every month you may have to pay interest or fees that can dwarf any rewards gained with the card.
To gain the maximum amount of gain from these cards you should use it for everyday spending, replacing cash or other debit or credit cards. However be careful not to over-spend when doing this as it can be easy to detach from the amount of money you actually have to spend.