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Put Your Credit Card To Use — Often

Credit cards are a fantastic way to pay for the goods and services you buy.

Here’s why:

    If you pay your bill monthly, you can benefit greatly.

  • The good credit cards offer rewards for every purchase. Rather than pay full price, receive a small discount that really adds up.
  • All good issuers offer protection so that if your card is ever lost, stolen or improperly used, you’re not liable for the charges.

As long as you pay off your balance every month — and this is key — there is no reason not to use your credit card as often as possible when making purchases.

Here’s a short list of the items you may not have thought to put on your credit card but always should:

Utilities. In Florida, I use FPL for my electricity and Comcast for my cable and Internet. Each month, I pay online using my rewards credit card and receive 2% cash back. Saving a couple of bucks a month isn’t much, but $50 at the end of the year is nice to have.

Phone bills. If you own a card like the AT&T Universal Card from Citi, each payment provides 5% cash back, which is quite substantial.

Car rentals. Many credit cards offer increased insurance and protections when renting a car, so if you get into an accident, you’re covered. If you use a card that offers insurance protection (like American Express), you can refuse insurance offered by the rental company because the credit card covers you. Make sure to check with your issuer beforehand.

Paypal. Always use your credit card when paying through Paypal, not your bank account. A few years ago when I disputed a transaction using my bank account, I was unable to recoup the funds, even though I never received the item. Had I used a credit card, I could have disputed the purchase with my card issuer, and the funds would have been back in my account the next day. Lesson learned.

Girl Scout cookies. So this one is kind of offbeat, but Girl Scouts are now accepting credit cards using their smartphones. Nothing like enjoying a box of Thin Mints knowing you only paid $3.96 instead of the sucker price of $4.

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