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What Your Credit Card Says About You

What Your Credit Card Says About You

Getting a credit card seems like a simple enough idea. You get a credit card, spend money on it, and eventually pay back the money you spent on credit. Maybe you’ll rack up some rewards while you’re at it. However, you may be surprised by what your credit card says about you. Here are some credit card user archetypes and the cards that suit them best.

The Traveler

Capital One credit card

    It’s easy to spot a traveler via their credit card. They very likely have a credit card that offers miles on purchases that they can use to fly anywhere. In many cases, they are businessmen and women who are looking to rack up some miles while flying on business so they can one day go traveling on their own. For those who don’t travel frequently, it shows a longing to untie from the stresses of every day life and go somewhere nice.
    Example: Capital One VentureOne

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    The Big Spender

    These are people who love to impulse buy. They see something on sale or a new gadget come out and they must have it immediately and onto the credit card it goes. People who love to impulse buy often buy expensive things. Therefore their credit cards are usually the kind that offer some sort of cash back. The more they spend, the more cash back they get.
    Example: Chase Freedom

    The Ones Who Live For Tomorrow

    Most credit cards set you up so you can earn points and spend points almost immediately. There are those out there who don’t want or need the rewards so they get a card that allows them to invest in the future. An example is the 529 Program where all cash back rewards or miles are grouped into a college tuition account that grows tax-free. If you see someone with a card like that, you know they’re thinking of the future.
    Example: FutureTrust Mastercard

    The Beginner

    Getting a credit card for the first time can be daunting. Most younger people who have no credit can’t get these epic credit cards that more experienced people can apply for. Usually they end up with a prepaid credit card. These are the ones where you give a bank $500–$1000 and they issue you a credit card for that amount. You treat it like a regular credit card but if something happens, the bank can close the account without sending the poor card holder into debt. If you spot someone with one of these cards, they’re likely building up some credit.
    Example: Ask your local bank for details on credit cards like this.

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    The Debt Manager

    Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you’re trying to spend money. Sometimes it means you’re trying to pay back money. The debt manager has a credit card but never uses it because they got that card to transfer the balances of other debts onto their credit card. They’re paying it off and being responsible (hopefully) and their strategy allows them some flexibility.
    Example: There aren’t really any credit cards specifically for balance transfers but you can find credit cards with lucrative features for transferring balances.

    The Homemaker

    There are credit cards out there with rewards for purchases specific to the house and home. Groceries, home improvement items, etc. are included, so whenever you buy food or improve your home, you get rewards. If you see someone who’s always buying things for their home and who seems to enjoy it a little too much, then you’ve liked run into someone with a card that rewards them for it.
    Example: The Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard offers double points on things like groceries.

    Mr and Mrs Attention To Detail

    Some credit cards offer a range of features that are great for people who like to go over life with a fine-tooth comb. They like to check their credit scores often, get rewards on a variety of purchases, and want to make sure they have customer service whenever and wherever they may need it. When it comes to their finances, they know where every penny is all the time.
    Example: Discover It card.

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    The Socialite

    Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

      Some people just love hanging out with other people. They like to dress up and go out, talk to real people, and often resist autonomous behavior. These kind of people usually have a credit card for any occasion. It looks neat, has customer service that puts them in direct contact with a real person, and the rewards change up so it always feels new.
      Example: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

      A Most Simple Person

      There are those out there who just don’t want all the bric-a-brac that comes with today’s modern credit cards. The rewards, miles, weird deals, and such are just too complicated to keep track of and they don’t want to go through the hassle. They have a simple credit card. No features, no miles, no rewards, and there are certainly no weird specials to keep track of. They spend money, they pay it back, and they get on with their lives.
      Example: Citi Simplicity Card

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      Featured photo credit: Screen Junkies via cdn2.screenjunkies.com

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      Joseph Hindy

      A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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      Last Updated on March 4, 2019

      How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

      How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

      Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

      I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

      Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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      Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

      Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

      Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

      I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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      I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

      If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

      Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

      The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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      Using Credit Cards with Rewards

      Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

      You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

      I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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      So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

      What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

      Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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