Many people have no idea that they could be earning thousands of dollars in money per year by spending a few hours learning the ins and outs of “credit card hacking”. As credit card companies continue to inundate us with more and more offers of dizzying complexity, the survival strategy most people adopt is to bury their heads in the sand. But by failing to do just a little research, we here at siftswift see people losing out on LOTS of money on a routine basis.
Sign #1: You’ve had the same credit card for years
It’s easy to think this is The Fiscally Responsible Choice since many of us opened our first credit card account in our late teens and early twenties and not given it much thought since then. Or we “upgraded” to some new ones with cool logos or fancy sounding rewards programs once our credit score improved but haven’t re-examined that choice lately. The plain fact is that credit card companies are updating their rewards plans by the hour. It’s unlikely that what made sense years ago (if it ever even did) is still the best choice out there.
Sign #2: You only have one credit card
Because of the sheer volume of credit card rewards deals and how “niche” the deals have gotten, a combination of a few cards is the best way to ensure you get the most “bang for your buck”. For example, one card may give you 5% back in travel rewards for everything you spend but that only applies to charges made at restaurants. Another may give you 5% cash back but only for charges made at hotels. By combining a few different credit cards and using them wisely, you can make sure you aren’t falling into this trap.
Sign #3: You make decisions for what credit card to use based on brand loyalty
If it isn’t clear enough by now, don’t stay with a credit card company based only on the fact that you’ve been with them a long time. Or that they have shiny cards. Or that they’ve made you think they are “exclusive” and being granted the “privilege” to have an account with them makes you fancy. Often cards with the most prestige have the most lackluster rewards.
Sign #4: You are blinded by the “types of rewards offered” and you stop there
Just because you fly on ____ Airline a lot and ____ Airline is offering a credit card with a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus does NOT AT ALL mean that is the best card for you to get points on that airline. It could very well be that signing up for an entirely different credit card not offered by that airline will actually net you more miles!
Sign #5: You haven’t really crunched the numbers and compared
This is a pain. We get it. That’s why siftswift exists because it took hours for us to do by hand and that is just ridiculous. Who has time to do that or wade through all sorts of long blog posts comparing and contrasting? It’s MATH and everyone’s needs and spending is different so what is best for one person isn’t necessarily the best for you. So get on the siftswift credit cards tool, set your preferences, and pick what makes the most sense for you!
Sign #6: You don’t know what your annual fee is or if it’s “worth it” for you to pay it
Sometimes the payback you get from having your card is “worth it” to pay the fee. Say you are getting $1,000 worth of credit card rewards every year and the annual fee is $50 and that is the best deal you can find. Then and only then, would it make sense to pay an annual fee.
The theme here is to be aware of the habits many of us have developed that have stopped us from getting the most value out of our credit card rewards programs. Mainly, it is important that we think critically about all of the offers we are getting daily and using tools to objectively compare to make the decision about what is best for us.