It’s not every day your credit card company gives you money for free. But here are 6 bank beating strategies, and the landmines to avoid, that can help you milk your credit card for all it’s worth, on the bank’s dime.

1. 0% Balance Transfers

This strategy can save you thousands! A balance transfer is simply when you transfer high interest balances from one or more credit cards onto another credit card with a lower interest rate.

Banks are hungry for credit card balances, because they earn interest income from them. Many banks offer promotional interest rates of 0% for 12-36 months in the hopes that you’ll either miss a payment and your interest will get jacked to 19.99%, or you’ll keep your balance with them after the promotional period expires and they’ll jump your rates to 19.99% thereafter.

But if you follow the rules of the game, you really will pay 0% interest – a huge savings opportunity. For example, if you have $7,500 in credit card debt at 19.99% interest, a 0% balance transfer will save you more than $1,500 a year in interest costs alone!

Don’t be one of the fools their counting on, and you’ll be laughing your way to borrowing at 0% rates! Just make your payments on time, and find another balance transfer offer before the current one expires, and you’ll never pay interest on your credit cards again – a real bank beating strategy.

2. 0% Interest Rates on New Purchases

If you know you’re going to make a purchase but you can’t afford to pay for it right away, let the banks front you the cash at 0%. Whether you’re buying a new sofa, dishwasher, floors or even a vacation there are tons of 0% financing offers in the marketplace. In some cases, you may even find offers where you’ll have no interest AND no payments for 12 months or more!

Just remember, the banks are betting on you missing a payment. In many cases if you do, you’ll not only have to pay interest for the payment period you missed, but for all previous payment periods in which you received 0% interest! Our recommendation is to always make your payments via pre-authorized debit, so you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment again.

Make your payments on time, and you’ll be laughing you’re way to free money.

3. Interest Free Grace Periods

Almost all credit cards offer some type of grace period, where you won’t have to pay any interest between the time you use your card and the time you have to pay back the credit card company. It can be a great tool to manage cash flow – especially for the self-employed and entrepreneurs.

In most cases credit card companies will give you a 21 day grace period from the time you receive your credit card statement. In some cases, you may get as long as 55 days (small business cards)!

That means banks are giving you close to a month or more to pay your bills interest free!

But there’s a catch many people don’t know about. If you’re already carrying a balance, or if you’ve been late during the year, you’ll lose the privilege of your grace period, and you’ll start paying interest on new purchases the minute you make them.

4. Juicy Welcome Bonuses

Banks are competing hard for your business – especially if you have good credit and spend a fair bit on your credit card.

In fact they’re competing so hard, their willing to pay you to try their credit card, in some cases as much as a free round trip flight to Europe!

With credit card welcome bonuses as high as 100,000 miles, you can really milk the insatiable appetites and deep pockets of the banks. Think about it, just for signing-up for a credit card, you can fly from New York to L.A. absolutely free. Name another product that offers an incentive as big – you can’t.

In fact, it’s such an effective strategy, you can apply, collect, and redeem on multiple different cards throughout the year. Just rinse, wash, repeat your way to free goodies and travel over, and over again on the bank’s dime.

5. Annual Fee Waivers

Despite offering hefty welcome bonuses, some banks will waive the first year annual fee as well – all in the hopes of removing every hurdle you may have to trying out their card. That’s a value of $120 to $150.

Think about it, you’ll get a free flight or hotel room for signing-up for the card, without having to make any commitment to the bank, at all. It’s house money.

Not only that, for an entire year you’ll get things like free lounge access, car rental and trip cancellation insurance, foreign exchange with no fees, and of course rewards on all of your credit card spend  absolutely free!

The bank is totally trying to buy your loyalty, so what of it? Be a free agent and take advantage of as many first year free credit card offers as you can – it will cost you nothing. Just make sure you have the credit to do it.

6. Reward Stacking

Banks are willing to pay you to make purchases with their credit card. Whether, you’re getting cash back, air miles, or points, if you don’t carry a balance month to month, there is no excuse not to take advantage of free rewards.

On average, credit cards offer 1%-2% in rewards for each dollar you spend on your credit card. However, in some cases, you can hack your way to 5% cash back by combining different cash back categories from multiple cards in categories such as gas, grocery, restaurants, pharmacy and even with individual retailers such as Amazon. Why pay with cash or debit when the banks are willing to literally hand over money to you, just for your presumed loyalty?

Just make sure you don’t get in the habit of spending more, just to get rewards. Also, if you do carry a credit card balance from time to time, you’re far better off with a low interest rate credit card, than a rewards card – always.

So that’s it folks. The banks are beating at the door to get inside your wallet. They may have laid a few land mines in the fine print, but follow the right path and the prize is yours!

lifehack.org

 

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