The sudden explosion of various credit cards and their varieties has made choosing a single suitable card even more difficult for many Americans. The “spend more, earn more” attitude that banks try to influence on consumers and cardholders is certainly one that merits suspicion from many discerning Americans.
With virtually nothing to regulate the reward programs offered by many card companies, cardholders are sometimes at the mercy of the banks. There are no official guidelines issued to consumers about the different programs. This leaves the cardholders on their own to determine if they can indeed benefit from credit cards with rewards.
First of all, cardholders need to know if the rewards card they are aiming for will indeed satisfy their credit requirements. Credit cards are primarily used for credit. The main consideration of the consumer should then be the functionality and purpose of the card and not the rewards that come with it. The reward points are just added benefits that come with the credit card.
Cardholders should keep in mind, however, that most rewards have higher than usual annual fees – although some card issuers offer certain cards with no yearly fees. Also, most reward credit cards have higher interest rates than conventional plastic. Consumers looking for a good card must remember that the card must be worth it. Shelling out more money for rewards every year while not maximizing its benefits is pointless and useless.
Not all cards are created equally. Some plastic are plain garbage while others are way above their competitors in terms of flexibility and added benefits. Consumers should always remember that cards with attractive features often have something to hide, like higher fees and rates or expiring reward points. Choosing the right card is a matter of proper research and discernment.
Many Americans opt for credit cards with rewards because they believe they get more bang for their buck. These types of cards can indeed be advantageous but only for cardholders who pay their dues on time and in full. Most cards require cardholders to settle their accounts in full before they can avail of any redeemable perks. With rising credit card debts and industry losses, consumers can expect fewer reward programs in the near future.
Cardholders should also see to it that their reward points never expire no matter what. The poor economic situation plus the tough regulations that will take effect in February 2010 is already forcing many card companies and banks to scale back their reward programs and change policies regarding non-expiring points.