Prune With Plastic: Save Money Using Credit Cards


Any consumer knows that there are smart and reckless ways to use a credit card. But it’s the savviest consumers who know how to actually save money when using their credit cards.

You read that right – “using” your credit card. Sure, credit cards have a reputation for separating you from your cash, not bringing you together. But there are several ways to cut costs even while making charges against your credit card.

Let’s take a look:

Get a balance transfer credit card. One way to save money is to consolidate all of your credit card debt onto one card. That can save you some decent coin on interest rates. If you go this route, aim for a balance transfer card with low or no (i.e., 0% APR) interest rate on credit card balance transfers.

Use a rewards card to pay bills. If you have a credit card with a cash-back or bonus rewards deal, use it to pay your bills. Credit card companies will view these payments as a purchase, which earns you more cash and rewards down the line. Just make sure to pay your credit card bill on time – and aim for more than the minimum payment. That helps keep your interest rates low. Earn even more money by placing the funds you would have used to pay your bills in a high-yield, interest-bearing checking account, but only for the credit card’s grace period.

Sign up for auto-pay. Again, this only works if you pay your credit card bill on time, but you can save money by signing up for automatic bill payment deductions using your credit card. That way, your bills will always be paid on time, saving you from late fees and other penalties. Plus, your credit score should rise since all your bills are being paid on time.

It’s best to use a separate credit card with a decent account limit just to pay bills. That should keep things clean, organized and less confusing

Using your credit card to pay household bills, as long as you pay your credit card bill on time (thus keeping late fees away and keeping your account limit down) can save you both money and effort. After all, time is a commodity too.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the Credit Center.

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