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A number of credit cards offer special bonuses and cash back during the height of the holiday shopping season. Take time to understand which of your purchases will be eligible for bonus airline miles, points or cash back. It's also possible that you could get instant savings via special offers directly through your credit card issuer. As an example of this we will earn 5% cash back this quarter when we buy stuff through Amazon.com using our Chase card.
See if you have extended warranty protection
Will you be making some big purchases such as a new HDTV, a robotic vacuum cleaner, a computer or something else that needs a warranty? Check to see if your credit card has extended warranty benefits. This would save you the added expense of having to buy an extended warranty when you hit checkout. You may have an extended warranty just because you bought something using a specific credit card. Check your cardholder agreements so you will know which cards to use to get extended warranty coverage on those big-ticket purchases.
Get a complimentary credit monitoring service
You plan to use your credit cards frequently throughout the coming shopping season? Then use a credit card where you could get monthly credit monitoring. It’s possible you could get a 30-day trial free or a discount on a monthly monitoring service from one of your credit card issuers. If one of them does offer a free 30-day trial use it to get through the holidays and then decide if you want to cancel before it starts costing you money. The way these services work is they will send you an alert about any activity on your credit report that looks suspicious. These monitoring services can't prevent identity theft but they will provide an alert so you could then work with your credit card issuer to fix the issue. And this should give you some extra peace of mind when shopping whether it’s either on- or off-line.
Use the ultimate tip
If you follow all seven of these tips your credit cards can be your friends during the coming holidays and make your shopping easier and less stressful. But, of course, the ultimate tip is to have a holiday shopping budget. If you don't have a budget you could get all caught up in the fun and excitement of holiday shopping only to discover in January that you’ve created a heap of debt. Sit down and create a budget before you do any shopping and then make sure you stick with it. You'll thank yourself when those credit card bills roll in.