Thursday, 12 December 2013

How your credit card can reward you this Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, with even big businesses making an effort to help. If you play your cards right, you'll find your credit provider is just as tuned in to the spirit of the season as your family.


One of the simplest ways to make the most of your Christmas spending is with credit card cashback schemes. The most generous offers can repay as much as 5% of your spend, which means that it really does pay to make your Christmas purchases on a credit card. The crucial proviso is to ensure that you stick to a reasonable budget so that you can pay off your bill at the end of the month, to avoid letting your interest costs dwarf the gains you make from cashback.

Reward schemes

Many credit cards come with reward schemes, which accumulate points for every pound spent. These points can then be redeemed for a huge range of essential and desirable goods and services, ranging from flights to electrical goods and even groceries. The best way to make the most of these is to choose the scheme that best fits your spending habits. If you frequent a particular shop or supermarket, check whether there's a credit card that combines with their particular loyalty scheme to enhance your earnings - for example, the American Express Nectar Credit Card (representative 25% APR variable) offers four Nectar points for every pound spend at Nectar partners.  

0% purchase credit

If you're feeling generous this Christmas, or have a particularly grand gift in mind for a special someone and you want to spread the payments to avoid taking a quick financial hit, the best way to save money is to use a credit card offering 0% purchase credit. This allows you to pay off your purchase gradually, without added interest payments. 

Purchase protection

All credit cards protect payments of between £100 and £30,000 from retailers going bankrupt, failing to deliver, or delivering faulty goods. Many offer even better deals, which replace stolen or damaged goods. This kind of protection against Christmas mishaps is one of the most overlooked rewards available, but in the worst-case scenario, it could make all the difference.

Special offers

Although using credit card rewards usually involves a bit of forward thinking, some are tailor made for last-minute shoppers. American Express UK, for example, has a regularly updated selection of special offers available to their customers. These include deals in travel, dining and shopping, so you're bound to find something special if you're stuck for gift ideas - just try not to leave it until Christmas Eve!

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