Most of us don’t think of our credit cards when we’re looking to make the most of our holiday spending budgets, but that just might be the place to find great savings and even cash back. With more credit card companies looking to earn your business, there’s a good chance you’ll have several offers to choose from that end up making 2012 one that doesn’t include as much credit card debt.
For instance, many credit card companies offer cash back in both the third and fourth quarters of the calendar year. This, of course, is one way of getting consumers to use their plastic instead of cash, but if you exercise a bit of caution, there are things you can do to ensure you’re not strapped with a lot of credit card debt by the time the 2012 holiday season rolls around. Other credit card offers include cash bonuses the first time you use a new credit card and still other offers include no annual fees, intro 0% APR on balance transfers and a host of other perks that make good sense for many consumers. Here are a few of the better offers we’ve found so far.
Discover More Cashback Bonus
Beginning September 1st, Discover More card users will earn up to $300 cash back on purchases made in department stores, clothing stores and restaurants – all three of which we use during the holiday shopping season. Not only that, but the 15 month 0% APR intro rate applies to both balance transfers and purchases. Want to save even more? Do your shopping through Discover.com and enjoy up to 20% cash back bonuses. You’ll also enjoy the Discover $0 fraud liability, around the clock access to customer service and no annual fees. It’s an all around great offer, though you’ll want to carefully review the terms and conditions to ensure it’s a good fit for your specific needs.
Chase Freedom Visa
It’s easy to save money from the very beginning with the Chase Freedom Visa credit card. Once you spend $500 in the first three months of opening your account, you earn $200 cash back. From now until September 30, you’ll also enjoy 5% cash back anytime you use your Chase Freedom on gas, hotels and airlines. Beginning October 1st, those 5% categories will include restaurants, department stories, movie theaters and charities you contribute to. The charity inclusion is new for 2011. Enrollment is easy for the rotating categories each calendar quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. This offer is topped off with a no annual fee enticement.
Household Bank Rewards MasterCard
If you’ve had credit problems in the past, that doesn’t disqualify you from a great credit card offer. You’ll find it in the Household Bank Rewards MasterCard. It’s designed to help those who are rebuilding their credit and offers rewards points redeemable for 2% cash back for every dollar spent. Not only that, but you’ll enjoy a 0% intro APR for nine months.
It doesn’t include balance transfers, however. Also, this credit card has 24 hour online account access, free online bill pay and you can decide the best payment dates associated with your account. It’s a credit card worthy of your consideration if you’re looking to rebuild your credit scores and history.
The holiday seasons can be stressful, especially in tough economic times. With a little planning, however, it doesn’t have to result in sleepless nights and worries on how you’ll cover the financial bases. It’s best to pay off credit card debt as soon as you can, avoid paying only the minimum payment due and opt to pay as much as you can over the minimum and take advantage of sales and special offers.
Black Friday is always a good place to start, as retailers kick off the Christmas shopping season the day after Thanksgiving with deep discounts and other “must have” items. Finally, as always, we strongly encourage consumers to carefully review any credit card offers before applying to ensure it’s the best financial tool for your needs. You don’t want to ring in the new year with far more problems than what you started with in 2011.