The holiday shopping season is about to ramp up, but before you spend your money, 7 On Your Side has tips on the credit cards that pay you back and the ones that could come back to bite you.
If you are looking at opening a new credit card, first think about what you want: Cash back or reward points to get you on that next plane to Paris?
"There are as many different types of credit card rewards as there are people who want them basically," said Matt Schulz with comparecards.com.
He says you can actually earn money on the money you plan to spend.
"It may seem counter-intuitive to say you can use a credit card to save money on your holiday budget, but it actually can happen," he said.
Look for cards like Chase Freedom -- it gives you a $150 sign up bonus after you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the account.
Schulz said if you're somebody who will spend $500 on this holiday season, and if you've already saved up for it, instead of spending cash, get yourself a new card. That $150 will come back to you.
The Amazon Prime rewards card will gives you 5% back on everything you buy at Amazon.
Walmart's new credit card with Capital One matches that 5% on everything you get at Walmart, plus throws in 2% on dining and travel.
Schulz recommends choosing a card based on your spending habit.
If you just want a card that gives you money back when you fill up your tank, that sort of program is out there too.
If you're a student, there are cards geared toward you and if you are recovering from crummy credit, there's a card out there for you.
Schulz says just don't get suckered by some retail store credit cards at checkout when asked to save the 10 or 15 percent on your holiday purchases for signing up.
He warns opening new credit is never rewarding if you don't pay off your balance. The math doesn't work in your favor.
But if you're planning on using an existing credit card to shop for gifts, ask your issuer to lower your interest rate first.
How to lower your APR:
The best way to knock 5 or 6 percentage points off your interest:
-- Come armed with competing offers from other credit cards
-- Ask for a match or better rate -- if they don't want to lose your business you may get it.
-- If you get behind on your bills this season and miss a payment, request late fee waivers. You'd be surprised if you're in good standing, you get that fee waived just by calling and asking.
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