5 Things You Should Always Buy With Your Credit Card
We’ll admit — it’s not a good idea to use your credit card if you can’t make significant payments on time, because you’ll be paying interest on your revolving balance. But if you’re a responsible credit card user, there are some things that you should always buy with your credit card. “There are some nice perks associated with using a credit card,” according to Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com, in an interview with Main Street. “But all these perks never get utilized because people don’t know about them.”
Below, we’ve listed the five things you should always buy with your credit card. Not only will putting these purchases on plastic make your life easier, but you’ll earn rewards while you’re at it:
1. Bills, bills, bills.
Are you already diligent about paying your credit card bills on time? You’re missing out by not enrolling your phone, electric, and other bills to your credit card’s autocharge facility. Doing this has several advantages:
You earn rewards points on your card for bills you already pay anyway
You only have to remember one due date
You don’t have to waste time falling in line paying for bills
All you have to do is pay your credit card bill at the end of the month and all your bills are taken care of
HSBC cards have AutoCharge, which allows you to enroll your PLDT, Globe, Sun Cellular, and SkyCable bills, among others. EastWest Bank credit cards also have a Quick Bills Facility covering utility and telco bills, and even Philam Life and PhilPlans.
Check whether your credit card has an autocharge feature. Enrolling is as simple as filling out a quick form, and once you’ve done that, you don’t have to worry about bill payments falling through the cracks any more. Remember, though, that if you close your credit card, you should update your bill payment methods as well so you don’t run into difficulties.
2. Plane tickets.
Travel is expensive. And when you figure in the cost of travel insurance, it adds up to even more. Fortunately, many credit cards give you complimentary travel insurance when you buy your plane tickets with your card. When you pay with cash, you don’t get this benefit, so when it comes to travel, always buy with your credit card.
Security Bank’s Gold Mastercard gives you free insurance when you use your card to buy tickets, so you can prepare for flight delays, cancellations, and other mishaps that may occur on your trip (knock on wood). RCBC Bankards have the Travel Plus Lite and Plus Insurance programs, which provides cover for accidental death, dismemberment, and/or disablement, recovery of travel expenses for cancellations and terminations, and travel inconvenience benefits like baggage and flight delays. So when you book your flights, using a credit card with free travel insurance will give you peace of mind.
3. Appliances and electronics.
Things break easily. The fancy gadgets and appliances you buy may or may not come with their own warranties. What a lot of people don’t know is that buying these things with a credit card can provide warranty (if the thing you bought doesn’t come with one) or extend it, giving you protection on your new purchase.
Simply paying for these purchases with a credit card gives you an extra layer of security, knowing that you get stronger warranty assurances than if you just paid for it with cash. Read the fine print of your credit card to find out if you can get warranty by using it.
For example, the BDO American Express Gold Credit Card insures any purchase you make with the card from theft, loss or damage within 30 days (up to P50,000 per occurrence). The PNB Essentials Card covers your purchased items against accidental damage and theft for 90 days from the date of purchase.
4. Overseas purchases.
Exchanging money to foreign currencies when traveling is a sure-fire way to lose money. If you exchange at a Travelex at the airport, you get worse rates than you’d get at the bank. A foreign bank, while giving you better rates than currency exchanges, usually charges an extra fee if you don’t already have an account with them. And if you have money left over at the end of your trip and you change it back to pesos, you’ll essentially lose money twice due to the unfavorable exchange rates you get. Of course, you could always withdraw money from an ATM using your ATM card, but that comes with its own fees. Using a credit card while you’re travelling abroad helps you avoid these charges.
Let’s look at this example. BPI credit cards charge a 0.75% foreign currency conversion fee, along with an additional 1% Visa or 0.8% MasterCard assessment fee. Meanwhile, making a foreign currency withdrawal with a BPI ATM card charges a 2% fee (if over US$175; if below that, the charge is US$3.50). And that doesn’t include the fees that the ATM you’re using will charge you — for example, Bank of America charges $3 for non-Bank of America customers. Check out how using a credit card abroad instead of making foreign currency withdrawals can save you money:
credit card calculations
This P539.40 you save adds up to much more if you make a lot of purchases abroad.
Of course, you should still have some cash on you when you travel for emergencies and small purchases, but as much as possible, use your credit card, especially if the fees are more favorable for you. Always remember to check the foreign currency transaction fees for your card so you know that you’re getting the best deal. And with some cards, you’ll earn rewards much faster when you use your card for travel. The HSBC Platinum Visa lets you earn 4x the bonus points on overseas purchases.
5. Online purchases.
There are a lot of payment methods out there now that let you buy things online, but credit cards are still the easiest, most secure way to pay for these purchases. The warranties you can get with your credit card (see #3) apply to your online purchases, so if it’s lost in transit or damaged within the time period, you can file a claim with your credit card institution.
Many cards also provide virtual credit card numbers you can use to shop online with. Simply check with your bank for your virtual credit card options to keep your account secure when you buy things from online stores.
Some cards come with additional protections for online purchasing. Security Bank cards come with eSecure, which lets you set limits on your internet purchases to lessen the likelihood of internet fraud making a significant dent in your bank account. Benefits like these aren't available with Cash on Delivery options or wire transfer payments, so these purchases should always be made with plastic.