Though we typically think of credit cards as ways to buy things, there are a number of helpful things your credit card can do beyond just buying things. Read on and we’ll bring you some helpful credit card uses that you may not have considered.
1. Get cash fast with a cash advance
Most credit cards will allow you to use the card at an ATM or financial institution to get cash. Depending on the card, you may be able to withdraw as much as your credit limit. This can be handy if you have an emergency and need quick cash, but be wary of relying on this trick for everyday transactions—cash advances often carry a higher interest rate than ordinary purchases—making a large balance more difficult to pay off.
Though cash advances are downright handy in a crisis, be sure to read the fine print on your credit card agreement before you might need to use it.
2. Consolidate your credit card debt with a balance transfer
If you have debts on high interest credit cards, it may be in your interest to look for a lower interest card that you can transfer that debt to. This can simplify the process of repayment when you consolidate multiple debts on a single card, but it can also save you cash over time with a lower interest rate. While you can expect a fee to transfer a balance—typically a percentage of the total balance transferred—you can find cards that will offer you a low or 0% introductory APR, which can offer great savings on larger debts.
If you are currently shopping around for a great balance transfer special, check out PenFed’s website for balance transfer promotional offers currently offered.
Whatever you do, be sure to do the math in advance to decide whether a balance transfer will save you money.
3. Pick up rewards by using your credit card for everyday purchases
If you have a rewards card—and there are lots of options if you’re shopping for a new rewards card—using it to make purchases everywhere will help you build up reward points which can be redeemed for travel, cash, or other useful items. As long as you keep within your budget, using a rewards card for most of your spending is a great way to rack up the rewards points, which makes it easier than ever to pick up great rewards.
If this is your goal, the more spending you can put on the card the better—just don’t justify getting too deep into debt because of the potential reward points.
4. Have confidence in your purchases with extended warranties and price protection
Though the coverage your credit card offers will vary depending on the card, most cards will offer an extended warranty on major purchases like electronics. So if that new computer or tablet breaks after the manufacturer’s warranty is up, you can still get them repaired or replaced by virtue of having bought with a credit card.
Additionally, some cards will offer price protection—refunding your money if the price drops after you’ve bought. These two handy features can make shopping a lot less stressful, so check your card to see if it offers these features—or go shopping for a card that does.
5. Skip extra fees if you’re traveling internationally
One thing you might not have thought about when planning international travel, is fees. While you’re used to using your credit card wherever you go as easily as you might use cash, when you’re outside the U.S., most credit card transactions come with a foreign transaction fee attached. But if you use the right credit card, you can skip those fees.
For frequent travelers, this is a great card feature; but for anyone traveling less frequently, it might not be a feature worth having, as it’s often found on premium cards that require a higher credit score to get or charge a hefty annual fee.