The most fundamental function of a credit card is to allow you to make purchases with funds provided by the issuer. You borrow the amount of the purchase each time you charge.
You’ll receive a statement at the end of the month for everything you purchased, with the opportunity to pay in any increment beyond the minimum amount required.
Your credit card can also help you with a variety of other things. Depending on the card, you may be eligible for all or some of the following benefits.
1. Reimburse You For Your Expenses.
Many credit cards include a rewards program that allows you to earn cash back, points, or miles every time you use the card to make a purchase. You will earn money each time you use the card for transactions as long as you pay the balance in full so that no interest is added to your debt.
For example, if you charged $1,800 over the course of a year and received 2% cash back, your profit would be $360.
2. Assist You in Building Credit.
Every major credit card company will report account information to the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Simply pay your bills on time and in full each month, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a good credit history.
3. Provide You with a Free Credit Score.
As a consumer, you are entitled to three free credit reports every year, but credit scores are normally a commodity that you must purchase. However, some credit card companies will supply you with a free credit score, and you may not even have to be a cardholder.
4. Include a Bonus Simply to obtain the card.
When you open the account, you may also receive a large number of incentives, known as a signup bonus. To receive the signup incentive, you must charge a particular amount to your card within a certain time frame. Typically, the larger the bonus, the higher the minimum spending requirement.
5. Provide cash incentives for referring friends.
Another approach to accumulate points is to refer friends to a credit card offered by your issuer. When you provide them with a promotional link, they can apply for the card and, if accepted, you will earn rewards.
6. There are no financing fees charged on purchases or balance transfers.
Under normal circumstances, card companies charge finance charges on any balance you carry over from one month to the next. However, if your card has a 0% APR program, you will not be charged interest on the amount for a set period of time. Depending on the card, the 0% rate may apply to purchases, balance transfers, or both.
7. Provide Concierge Services.
Personal support is available with a few cards. Depending on the program, concierges can arrange flights, purchase gifts, book event tickets, and get you into the most exclusive restaurants. Some can even assist you in getting out of a bind by rebooking canceled or delayed flights and tracing down misplaced luggage.
8. Complimentary hotel accommodations.
If you have a credit card that is linked to a hotel chain, you may be entitled to a free night’s stay once a year or after a particular number of stays at the hotel.