Holiday shopping season is upon us, and many of us will be spending more than usual on gifts, travel, and food--so much food!
Credit cards allow you the flexibility to pay for purchases in-store, online, or over the phone. For expensive in-store purchases, paying with your card means you don’t have to carry large sums of cash.
And by following good spending habits, using your credit card for holiday shopping can also help you keep track of how much you’re spending, boost your credit, and take advantage of your card’s rewards. Here’s how:
- Set a budget and stick to it. Make a list of potential spending – on gifts, food, entertaining, travel – and see what might need to be modified or cut.
- Put all holiday purchases on one credit card. If you have more than one credit card, choose just one to use for holiday spending. That way you can easily track how much you have spent and monitor your card statement for any fraudulent activity.
- Avoid maxing out your card. Hitting your card limit over the holidays could damage your credit scores because it increases your credit utilization, the percentage of available credit you're using at any given time.
- Take advantage of credit card rewards. As a FirstRewards World Mastercard® holder, you’ll earn one point for every dollar spent. Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards to your favorite local stores and restaurants, and more. Through December 31, 2021, many everyday purchases such as groceries, food delivery, gas, or streaming on your big screen will enter you for a chance to win $10,000 when you use your Mastercard.
- Avoid store credit cards. Most retailers offer one-time discounts for signing up for their store credit card. While it sounds like a good deal at the moment, these cards typically have higher interest rates than bank credit cards. Opening multiple credit cards also could impact your credit in the long-term.
- Pay off your purchases as soon as possible. If you follow your budget, you should have enough money to pay off your December credit card bill and head into the new year without holiday debt hanging over you. If not, try to pay off those expenses as soon as possible.
While shopping with a credit card is very secure, here are steps you can take to protect yourself and your money while shopping online this holiday season—and year-round.
And don’t worry--if your credit card is compromised, the Fair Credit Billing Act ensures you are only responsible for up to $50 in charges you didn’t authorize. If you have a First Interstate credit card (or any Mastercard), Mastercard Zero Liability protects you from being accountable for unauthorized purchases on your credit card.