It’s true: There are some ways that credit cards can help you. With proper planning, you can get a credit card that provides you with free merchandise, travel discounts and cash back. The right rewards card, when used responsibly and paid down, can be a boon to your finances. Additionally, the responsible use of credit can help you build a financial reputation that can save you money when you get home loans and auto loans.
If you have a Visa or MasterCard, you’re eligible to receive discounts from a variety of vendors just for using that card? For example, with a Visa card you can get $10 off your purchase of $39.99+ at 1-800-Flowers by using the card and giving them code 42VISA? If you have a MasterCard, you can get $10 off a purchase of $39.99 at 1-800-Flowers by using the card and giving them code MAST33? Your card could be issued by Citi but as long as it has the Visa or MasterCard logo, it’s a Visa or MasterCard card and you’re eligible for these discounts. (American Express gets in on the 1-800-Flowers fun by giving you $10 off $34.99, just call it in and let them know, code AMX4)
Sometimes you can get better deals by going to deal hunting sites or sites that give you a kickback on your purchases (Fatwallet, Ebates), but these are good starting points.
The Consumerist posted some information about rental car insurances and credit cards with a great list of the coverages (based on whether it’s a Discover, American Express, MasterCard or Visa card). I thought that perhaps the individual issuers (like Citi, Capital One, Bank of America, etc.) might build off the base insurance so I did some more digging. It turns out that the auto rental insurances offered by your credit card is secondary coverage, not primary coverage.
When I looked at the list of auto rental insurance coverages for Citi cards, I saw that the basics matched the table on the Consumerist. However, this paragraph stood out for me:
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I was a little bored one day and thought I’d try to find fifty fun facts about credit cards that I didn’t know before hand and put them all in once place for you all to munch on and enjoy over the weekend. Some of the things I already knew, like the AMEX Centurion card has a $2500 annual fee and a $250,000 annual spend requirement, but others I didn’t, like how American Express started off as a shipping company and later branched out into financial services.
I broke the fun facts into these general categories: Historical Nuggets (with subcategories for each major card company), Useful Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…, Technobabbliciousness, Legal Ways You’ve Been Hosed & Un-Hosed, and Department of Holy Crap They Make A Ton of $$$$$. Historical Nuggets obviously covers the history of cards and the various companies. The Useful Things That Make You Go Hmmmm… covers some useful consumer information that may one day come in handy in your daily life. Technobabbliciousness covers some interesting facts about the technology behind credit cards. Legal Ways You’ve Been Hosed & Un-Hosed covers various court rulings and other legalese that explain why the environment is the way it is (like ridiculous fees and interest rates!). Finally, Department of Holy Crap They Make A Ton of $$$$$ is just a collection of mind-boggling statistics that should make you think twice about starting your own credit card company.
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