| Hi Taylor:
Is it a good idea to open a new credit card just for the rewards?
Some of the sign-up bonuses and offers look like really good deals,
but I'm not sure I need another credit card. - Emily
Hi Emily: The short answer is - it depends, but here are three
important things to consider.
First, let's quickly talk about the different kinds of rewards offered.
It has become common for credit cards to offer rewards on "eligible
purchases" in the form of points awarded per dollar spent, "cash back"
rewarded as a percentage of spending, or travel rewards (such as airline
miles/points). In fact, many airlines now have their own major credit
cards to reward cardholders with airline miles and special privileges
as a tactic to win loyal flyers. There are also department store cards
that will offer perks to their cardholders. I generally suggest avoiding
these store cards as they can encourage unnecessary spending and the
APRs are usually higher.
With that said, opening a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American
Express or Discover) with rewards may be a good idea if:
You have read the fine print, the requirements are obtainable
and the reward is useful and worth the extra effort. One popular
lure is offering a sign-up bonus, such as 25,000 bonus points.
While these rewards may be enticing, it's important to consider
the limitations to redeeming these. Airline miles may have blackout
dates or other restrictions for redemption. Also, read the fine
print; it may be called a sign-up bonus but require a spending
minimum along with other restrictions to receive the bonus. Many
reward cards come with annual fees and sometimes higher APRs that
negate the value of the reward.
2. You can find a way to shift your typical spending to the
reward card (temporarily). If gas, groceries and other things
you purchase on a regular basis count as eligible purchases toward
your reward, you could use the card for these purchases and then
pay it off every month or immediately after meeting spending minimums.
Make your commitment to pay off this extra debt concrete by taking
this money out of your budget and setting it aside for the credit
3. You understand the ramifications to your credit score.
If you've recently opened other accounts or applied for a loan,
having several recent credit inquiries could negatively impact
your score. However, in the long term, the new card could raise
your credit. It can reduce your utilized credit percentage (credit
used vs. credit available) and keeping the account open adds to
the longevity of your credit history.
| In the end,
just remember that there will always be other credit cards, with other
enticing offers, so make sure that whatever card you decide to go
with is one you will be happy with after the honeymoon phase is over.
© Taylor Kovar
May 22, 2022
More "Go Far With Kovar"
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not
an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific
securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve
risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to
first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional
before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question
to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com,
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