Everyone tells you that you have to be responsible when choosing a credit card, that you have to pay your debt on time, and not push your credit limit too often. But think of it that way, and your credit card becomes a burden.
But did you know that you can use credit cards to get rewards or save money? Banks actually offer these options with many of their credit cards, but they have hidden conditions.
We’re here to show you how to play it smart. Reap your credit card’s benefits and elude the traps that banks set! Read the article below:
1. Get The Credit Card When You Receive A Gift
First-time users can get various discounts and gifts when they sign up with an agency. The best part is that agencies compete in such rewards although their cards are with the same bank. To make the best choice, compare these benefits online so that you can sign up with the most advantageous agency.
But that’s not the whole hack. Here comes the cunning part: you can cancel your credit card after you get your gift. Make sure there’s no pending debt on it, and voila; you got something for free without spending anything.
Pro tip: Read all the terms and conditions, even the fine-print ones so that you can benefit from your gift.
Let’s take an example. The Cashback Platinum Mastercard at the Standard Chartered Bank comes with an expensive and stylish bag by Condotti. The catch is you can only get this bag if your main card during the last six months wasn’t from this bank. The other requirement is that you have to spend RM 1,000 during the first 60 days after your card has been approved.
So, start by researching different offers from different banks. Then, you can choose the reward that best fits your needs. Next:
2. Get Different Credit Cards According To Your Needs
This strategy works best for the cashback type of cards. However, you can obtain various rebates from your cards in accordance to your expenses.
Let’s take another example. Let’s assume your credit card offers you a 1% discount whenever you make an online transaction. Another card may offer you 3% discounts for your utility bills, and yet another comes with 4% rebates for petrol bills.
These discounts translate into two words: free money.
Here’s what you do:
- Take up the credit card you need most if you have a small budget that only allows you to pay the debt on a single card.
- Take up multiple credit cards according to your needs if your budget allows you to pay more debt.
- Don’t take up more credit cards than you can pay because that will sink you into debt.
- Read the terms and conditions so that the rebate limits don’t take you by surprise.
For instance, the Gold Visa by AmBank CARz lets you buy petrol from all stations in Malaysia, and it gives you a cashback of 3%. However, you have to pay at least a part of your bills on the credit card before you can benefit from this discount. They also have a discount cap of RM 50/ monthly, but that still saves you RM 600/ yearly.
The disadvantage with this hack is that you’ll have to monitor all your expenses, bills, debts, and credit card conditions. But if you’re an organised person who doesn’t do impulse purchases, this credit card hack allows you to save more money.
3. Clear Your Credit Card Balance Monthly
Everywhere you look, everyone tells you that you have to pay your credit card instalments so that you can enjoy those stretches with no interest. Conversely, your interest accumulates and your debt increases so that your credit card becomes a burden instead of a help.
But here’s what few people know: it’s important when you acquit your bills.
If you’re overly zealous, you can think that paying your debt a few times per month is going to improve your score. However, that doesn’t show banks that you’re responsible; it shows them that you don’t need your credit card. Because your credit utilization ratio is low, your credit score decreases.
We know it’s hard to save the money you need and pay off all your bills at once, especially if you’re into impulse purchases. However, it’s your best choice. Remember to pay your bills just once per month, and on time! This strategy shows you’re dependable when it comes to borrowing money.
Here’s another hack:
4. Get A Repayment Scheme With A Zero Interest Rate
Some merchants who want to sell their expensive products offer customers the option of monthly instalments with no added interest. How sweet is that?
Here’s what you should do: if you have the full amount of money to buy a new smart TV, save it. Put all your money in a fixed deposit, and choose the zero-interest repayment plan. That way, you’ll get some cashback as interest.
These plans are advantageous, but you have to pay attention to the fine print on the terms and conditions contract.
The main thing you should look after is the minimum necessary expense. For instance, if you get a BSN Visa Platinum, you need to spend a minimum of RM 500, but there are no other eligibility requirements.
On the other hand, Infinite Visa by Bank Islam offers you a wide array of plans, each with a different minimum requirement. Some cards ask you to spend as little as RM 150, while others go up to RM 1800, but you have a flexible repayment period that varies up to 36 months.
Pro tip: Don’t miss paying the instalments on your credit card. If you do that, your bank can pull back from the zero-interest plan and leave you high and dry with no notice. As such, you may end up paying the common interest rate that’s as much as 18%, without even knowing it.
5. Get A 0% Interest Balance Transfer Credit Card
If you have a balance on your credit card, you’re probably sick of being pointed at and deemed irresponsible. Here’s a neat trick for your problem: research for a balance transfer type of credit card. These cards can offer you zero interest as well as cashback when you make the transfer.
But, as nothing’s free in this world, there’s a catch. You have to repay your debt within a limited period.
So, you have to be smart about this hack. Banks don’t offer 0% interest balance transfer credit cards out of the goodness of they’re hearts. They plan to hook you with this offer so that you can increase your balance. As your balance increases and you can’t repay your debt, the bank can charge you interest.
But banks don’t stop here with their sneakiness. This subtle manipulation based on your subconscious spending decisions is the first step. The second step is not informing you when their plan is almost finished. That way, your interest accumulates and you won’t even know.
Tl;dr: Don’t spend more than the minimum if you get a 0% interest balance transfer credit card. Otherwise, you’ll get yourself into debt.
6. Choose The Right Card Depending On Your Income
Here’s a tip: don’t throw yourself at a primary card unless your income is steady and a little more than the bare minimum.
Before that happens, you should get a supplementary card to establish yourself as a good debtor so that you can build your credit score.
Your first card should be free of annual fees and with zero interest during the first months. This plan is followed by a low-rate repayment scheme. As such, you can use your credit card to buy the things you need, but you won’t pay interest at first.
Besides, these types of cards offer you gifts, points, or cash back when you sign up for them. Be careful to draw your budget carefully to make the most of these options.
After your income increases, you can choose a primary card. Make sure the included benefits weigh more than your monthly fees. Besides, make sure your interest rate is not too big!
Now that you’re here, you know a lot of tips and trick on how to save more money with your credit card. You also know a little about how banks strategise to attract you with impossible-to-refuse offers that come with hidden catches.
You may also have some questions, especially as a few of our hacks involved getting multiple credit cards. Doesn’t that damage your credit score?
No. Getting multiple cards doesn’t plummet your credit score if you’re responsible about paying your debt. Your credit score is calculated based on your credit history which, shows financial institutions if you’re paying your instalments on time or not.
So, remember to weigh and compare the discounts and rewards offered by various credit cards. Make your choice according to your needs, and remember to read the fine print. Don’t fall in the trap of spending more money to get more rewards because that mindset only brings you into more debt!