We ask Michelle McGagh, finance journalist and author of The No Spend Year, when and how you should use your credit card to reap rewards…
With the growing popularity of contactless payments and mobile banking, it’s no surprise that spending habits have changed radically over the past few years, and younger generations – especially millennials – are moving away from using credit cards.
According to UKfinance.org.uk in its UK Payment Markets Summary 2020 report: “Technological change and significant innovation in payment methods have brought greater choice for people and businesses in how they pay for things.” And that choice includes credit cards.
As long as you repay the full amount each month, credit cards offer unique advantages, which is why Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis goes so far as to say: “I do all my spending on them. When DONE RIGHT … credit cards rule.”
Here, we find out when and how you can use credit cards to your advantage…
For peace of mind on purchases, you can’t beat the protection you get with a credit card, thanks to legal act Section 75.
This little gem means that you will receive a refund or replacement if an item is faulty or damaged or fails to match what you thought you were buying. So whether it’s a kitchen or a holiday, a watch or a new phone, Section 75 applies to purchases that cost between £100 and £30,000. Why? Because Section 75 means that your credit card firm is jointly liable with the retailer.
There’s more good news, too. In a world of online shopping and missed deliveries, your credit card will cover the cost of items you pay for that don’t arrive.
Plus, if you buy a holiday from a company that goes bust, your credit card company will cover the cost of your purchase.
The competitive world of credit cards means that some credit card companies offer you extra rewards for spending on the things you would normally spend on, so it pays to look around before you commit.
If you make it a priority to stay active and keep hitting your Vitality steps count, for example, the Vitality American Express® Credit Card* offers both cashback on purchases, plus an additional Vitality Cashback Booster based on your monthly activity.
Contactless No Touch Payments
For secure, quick, no touch transactions tap to pay using your Card or mobile wallet for your essential purchases. The contactless card limit has increased from £30 to £45* and is being rolled out across the country. For payments over £45*, if you choose to make payments using a mobile wallet, you may not need to enter your PIN on the terminal to complete your transaction. Find out more>
*Payment limits subject to retailers. Please check in-store for more details.
Building a good credit score is a financial necessity if you want anything from a mobile phone contract to a mortgage – and credit cards can help to put you on the scoring map.
Because of that, it’s a good idea to have a line of credit, because it shows other lenders that you are a sensible borrower who can be trusted to repay your debts.
For our final point, we can’t emphasise enough how important it is to pay your credit card back in full each month.
Unless you pay back your balance each month, all of these advantages will be outweighed by the interest you pay. So, to make sure you keep on top of it, we suggest that you set up a Direct Debit to automatically pay your credit card balance in full each month. That way, you won’t forget.
In a nutshell…
Credit cards offer multiple advantages over other payment methods. But in this pick ’n’ mix payment world, you just need to be on top of when and how you use them.
If you’re looking for a credit card with benefits, why not check out the new Vitality American Express Credit Card*, which rewards you for being active?
*Representative 24.5% APR variable. Subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply.
- VitalityHealth and VitalityLife are trading names of Vitality Corporate Services Limited who, for the purposes of this offer, is acting as a credit broker only and not a lender.
- Vitality Corporate Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office at 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AQ.
- American Express is not a participant or sponsor of Vitality Active Rewards.
- American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
To learn even more ways you can be smarter with your money, get some inspiration from our 5 ways to improve your money habits.