If you own a student credit card with rewards, this back-to-school season is the perfect time for you to make the most out of it. Consider the following tips on how you can rack up more points without failing into bad debt:
- Make a shopping list. Create a list of the things you need to purchase this school year. Arrange your list into categories such as clothing, books, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses. This way, you can seriously consider each purchase and avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Plan your card use. The next step is to plan which items on your list will be purchased using cash and which ones will be charged to your credit card. Although charging more purchases to your card would mean earning more points, you should also consider your credit limit, and your repayment obligations.
- Pay in full. In reality, credit cards with rewards carry higher rates of interest than non-rewards cards. This is true even for student credit cards. If you fail to pay back your full balance by your due date, you will incur the interest rate and it would mean paying more for your purchases. Obviously, this is not the way to get rewarded. Thus, before charging purchases to your card, seriously consider if you will be able to submit full payment on time.
- Shop at affiliates. Find out which merchants and shops are affiliated with your student reward credit card. Most affiliate shops offer double points or bigger points for every dollar spent using the card.
- Review the fine print. It’s a good idea for you to review the Terms and Conditions of your student credit card before back-to-school season. Your issuer might have made some changes in the past months that you might have missed such as an increased rate, a change in the rules of the reward program, etc. Before using your card to shop for your school needs, you should be aware about your privileges as well as limitations as a cardholder.
- Pay tuition with your credit card. If your college university accepts credit card payment, this is a great strategy to rack up more points without spending extra. However, you must make sure that you have the exact amount of cash available on hand so you can pay your credit card charge immediately to avoid incurring interest rate.
- Watch out extra fees. Aside from avoiding interest rate charges, you must also be conscious about extra fees such as late penalty and over-the-limit charges. Be sure to check your account first before shopping with your credit card to avoid maxing out or exceeding your limit.
- Check your bill. Examine your credit card statement for the month to make sure that you are not being billed for purchases that you did not make. Errors or inaccurate billing is not a rare occurrence, and if you don’t take this extra step, you could end up paying more on charges you did not owe.
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