News flash: traditional wallets are losing their purpose.
With contact-free payment on the rise since covid-19, it’s easier to head out with just your phone and credit card.
As we go cashless, it’s also important to avoid credit card mistakes. After all, you should make your credit card work for you, not the other way round.
Here are six useful tips to take note of, before you swipe your card.
1. Pay your bills on time
Your credit card bills come on a monthly basis. Once you’ve received your bill, you will have to complete your payments within 20 – 25 days.
You can either pay the minimum amount or pay the full sum.
It is very important for you to:
- Pay your bills on time
- Pay your bills fully
Failing to do so would mean that you will incur extra interest on your credit card bill. Banks typically charge high interest of 25% – 29% per annum. Don’t underestimate this, as this amount can snowball very quickly.
Besides, bad debt can affect your credit score.
If it’s the first time you’ve missed your payment, try calling the bank to offset the payments. They might grant you some leeway.
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2. Zero interest-free payment is not exactly free
Interest-free payments allow you to spread your payment with no interest incurred.
Such plans are great if you are getting a big-ticket item – allowing you to manage your cash flow.
One example of a similar program is ‘buy now pay later (BNPL)’ program., which offers you credit terms with or without a credit card.
Sounds great, right? The caveat is that you must pay your installments on time. Failure to do so, would mean that you will be charged with late payment and an additional administration fee.
Missing your payment could also affect your credit card score.
So, before you jump into such an installment plan, ask yourself if you really need the product or services and if you can afford to pay on time.
3. Check your credit card score
Your credit card score highlights your financial health. Financial institutions use the credit report as a guide to decide two things:
- Whether they should lend you the money
- The probability of you repaying the money
Don’t brush your credit score aside as an unnecessary concern. It will affect you if you are planning to get a new house or a new car.
Looking to maintain a good credit card score? Pay your bills on time and avoid having too many credit cards.
You can get your credit report from the Credit Bureau Singapore by paying $6.42.
4. Redeem your rewards and miles
Credit cards have different programs- cashback, reward points, and air miles. The main idea of these programs is to reward you for your loyalty as their customers.
While it’s great to collect these credit card perks, don’t forget to use them too. This is especially so, for reward points and air miles as they may have an expiry date.
5. Beware of credit card fraud
In 2020, Singapore reported a huge jump in unauthorized card transactions.
If you spot a transaction that is not made by you, it might be a credit card fraud – inform your bank immediately.
To avoid credit card fraud, remember to:
- Understand the different types of scams
- Install scamshield if you are on iOS*
- Shop on secure websites
- Do not click on suspicious links
- Do not share your OTP with other people
- If deals are too good to be true, they probably are!
*scamshield is not available on android
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Beware of foreign transaction fees
When you buy a product overseas and you swipe your credit card, two things are happening at the same time:
- Your transaction is categorized as “foreign”
Categorization will incur additional fees.
- The bank converts the price to your local currency
Conversion will incur foreign exchange fees.
These combined activities are known as foreign transaction fees by financial institutions.
The cashier will provide you with two options – pay in your own local currency or foreign currency. Upon agreeing to pay in your local currency, dynamic currency conversion then happens.
Take note, merchants (not the banks) offer dynamic currency conversion to boost their profits.
- To minimize these additional fees, you can:
- Choose a cashback card that offers higher rebates
- Pay in foreign currency
- Pair your credit card with Instarem’s amaze card
PS: Don’t have an amaze card yet? Sign up now. It’s free.
There are still more pros than cons when it comes to getting a credit card.
Remember credit cards are just another tool to make payments. As the user, just spend within your means and you should do fine.
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