But, all is not lost. You still have a few shopping days left to get what you need and create a COVID-normal Christmas that the whole family will enjoy. And if you’re worried about how you’ll pay for it all last minute, don’t be. That’s what your credit card was made for. As long as you only spend what you know you can pay back, your credit card can be your best friend at Christmas.
Easily Track Your Spend
Unlike cash, which often feels like it runs through your hands like sand, you always know exactly what you’ve spent and where when you use a credit card. All you need to do is log on to online banking or sign in to your card’s app, and you can look through the list of transactions made using your card, and see how much you’ve spent in total.
See something that shouldn’t be there? No matter what time of year, it’s a good idea to check your transactions carefully. If you recognise one you didn’t make, call your card provider immediately. They may be able to shed light on where the transaction was made if you’re unsure about it, or if it definitely wasn’t one of yours, your card provider will investigate it.
Manage Your Money
Short on cash but have funds coming into your account soon? This is where your credit card can come to the rescue. When it comes to Christmas, there are some things you know you need to buy now. Like gifts for the kids or food for Christmas dinner. But, even if you don’t have quite enough to cover everything, your credit card can pick up the heavy lifting.
It should be noted that we are definitely not promoting the idea that you should spend beyond your means, just because you have a credit card. Just that you can use it as a money management tool to cover the things you want now, that you know you will be able to pay back later.
Pay No Interest
On that note, let’s talk about interest. Most credit cards offer an interest free period of 44 or 55 days. Within this period, you can use your card to buy the things you want, while paying no interest on your purchases. So, what do you need to know to make it work?
First up, you have to pay your closing balance in full by the statement due date. Secondly, if you have balance transfers on your account, you won’t have any interest free days on your purchases until you pay the balance transfer off. Lastly, interest free days only apply to purchases. If you use your card to make a withdrawal, for example, this will attract the card’s cash advance rate from day 1.
Take Advantage Of Purchase Protection Perks
Some higher end cards, such as Westpac’s black ‘World’ cards, offer purchase protection as a perk. While taking advantage of the cover on offer will require some reading of the small print, these policies can be handy to have when buying things over the Christmas period.
As an example of how purchase protection policies work, let’s take a look at Westpac’s cover:
- Purchase Protection Insurance: With this cover, eligible items you buy using your card benefit from cover against loss, theft, or accidental damage anywhere in the world, for up to 90 days after purchase.
- Extended Warranty Insurance: With this cover, eligible items you purchase using the card benefit from an extension of the manufacturer’s standard warranty, by up to a year.
As we said, there is plenty of small print to get through on these types of policies, so read carefully to take full advantage.
Whether you’re planning a trip or simply buying gifts and food for Christmas Day, all that spending adds up. With your rewards card in hand, you could enjoy something back on that spending, with your points balance experiencing a nice little a boost. You can then use those points to reward yourself in the new year – or perhaps, just keep saving them for next Christmas.
|TIP: As always, if you are using a rewards card, always clear your balance by the due date to avoid paying interest. Not only is interest not fun to pay, it also eats away at the value of the rewards you earn.|