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Although the holiday season is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” it can leave many feeling stretched financially. From hosting holiday parties to buying gifts for family and friends, expenses can add up quickly. When it comes to smart holiday shopping, there are a couple of tips and tricks to know – specifically if you’re using a credit card. Many credit cards offer bonus rewards and seasonal promotions that can help make your money go further this season.
Check for Deals (Twice)
First and foremost, it’s important to know about the programs your credit card offers this holiday season, as well as the ways you can cash in on the rewards you accumulated throughout the year. Before you begin holiday shopping, set aside some time to visit your credit card’s website or call a customer service representative to make sure you know your current rewards balance and all the ways you can earn and redeem rewards. In fact, some credit cards offer specialized customer service to help you plan the best ways to earn and use your rewards.
It Pays to Shop Online
To make shopping even more rewarding, some credit cards have their own online shopping malls that offer rich rewards all year round. ShopDiscover is Discover card’s exclusive online shopping portal for cardmembers and one of the easiest ways to earn extra cash back rewards on your holiday purchases. Discover cardmembers can earn 5-20% Cashback Bonus at more than 200 popular retailers just for shopping online through the portal. Now through Jan. 8, 2014, Discover cardmembers can earn an additional 5% Cashback Bonus at more than 85 retailers – including Macy’s, Sears, Kohl’s, and Toshiba. All it takes is a few extra clicks on ShopDiscover.com to increase your rewards.
Additionally, Discover cardmembers can sign up to earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in online holiday shopping – which amounts up to a jolly $75 Cashback Bonus – through the end of the year.
Cash in Rewards for Gifts
With only a few days left for shopping, it’s a good time to think about the gifts you still need to buy. Gift cards are a simple and smart option for everyone on your list. According to the Discover Holiday Shopping Survey, gift cards are the most desired gifts among men and women this year – and some credit cards will let you cash in your accumulated rewards for gift cards. Discover cardmembers can take their Cashback Bonus and cash it in for higher-value partner gift cards to more than 160 retailers to use for purchases made online or in-store, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears and many more. For instant redemption, cardmembers can even redeem their Cashback Bonus for partner eCertificates that appear on a mobile device in a matter of seconds.
Using the right cash back card for holiday shopping can have plenty of valuable perks if done wisely. However, when using a credit card, it’s important to never spend more than you can afford as well as always try to pay your balance off each month. Don’t let the spending temptations of big sales and discounts impact your financial well-being – rather, set a budget and plan ahead for the expenses the holiday season will bring.
Author Bio: Brian Meier, director of rewards marketing at Discover, oversees Discover’s exclusive online shopping portal, ShopDiscover, which offers 5-20% Cashback Bonus at more than 200 popular online merchants year-round.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.