Are you stuck in a credit card time warp? Maybe you are still using credit cards from your college days and/or haven’t applied for any new cards in year.
Well, you could be missing out on a bevy of benefits, or you might be paying too much in credit cards fees.
Here are seven warning signs that it might be time to start looking for a new credit card or two.
1. Not earning any rewards
If you’re debt-free and using a credit card for convenience but not earning rewards, you are missing out on some good deals. For example, even a simple, no-annual-fee cash-back card that offers 1.5% back on every purchase could earn you free money over months with regular use. Also, some of the best cash-back credit cards are offering even more between 2%-6% cash back on big categories such as groceries, gasoline, restaurants and more.
2. Earning the wrong rewards
Another warning sign you may not be utilizing your credit card use is if you’re earning rewards points that do you no good. A good example of this is if you’ve kept onto an old airline credit card with the hope of earning miles but you haven’t boarded an airplane in years. If this rings true, it may be time to change to a simple cash-back card or a flexible travel rewards credit card. This type will allow you to earn points you can redeem for travel expenses, cash back, or gift cards. Try this option instead and you’ll never be stuck with points you’ll never use.
3. No consumer protections
If you’re using credit for convenience but your credit card is strict in terms of the benefits it offers, it may be time to shop around. While all cards vary, a few of the leading rewards credit cards offer special insurance products and shopping protections. Ultimately, these may help you save money or protect yourself financially. Examples include covering you for trip cancellation/interruption insurance, guaranteed product returns, damage and theft coverage for purchases, travel accident insurance, and auto rental coverage, according to Wisebread.com.
4. Get more travel perks
Maybe you haven’t done much traveling in the past but now you’re thinking of kicking off your bucket list. Owning a credit card that offers travel perks can certainly give you a better experience. Some of the top travel credit cards offer perks like a Global Entry credit, airport lounge access, and annual travel credits for seat upgrades and in-flight meals. Wisebread.com adds it’s best to keep your options open and choose a credit card that allows you to redeem points with a variety of travel partners.
5. Interest rate is way too high
If you have a balance on your credit card each month, earning rewards is probably the last thing you are thinking about. Keep in mind if this is so, any rewards earned will be wiped out by the interest you’ll pay. Instead, consider the interest rate you are shelling out, and begin looking for a card with the lowest interest rate available. There are some credit cards that offer low long-term rates that might save you money, but some cards offer 0% APR on new purchases for up to 21 months, Wisebread.com adds.
6. Transferring a balance
In addition to credit cards that charge zero interest on new purchases, there are some credit cards that allow you to transfer balances and pay them off with zero interest for a promotional period. This period could be from 12 to 21 months. Wisebread.com says: “when you’re not paying interest, you can pay more toward the principal of your credit card balance every month, which will help you save money and pay down debt faster.”
If you decide to make the switch, check out any balance transfer fees that will be charged. “While a handful of cards let you transfer balances with no balance transfer fees, some charge 3%-5% of your balance for the privilege,” Wisebread.com says.
7. Paying out for annual fees but not reaping benefits
While a fancy, premium credit card can make you feel important, most of the time the value of the benefits offered with such a card far exceed the price of the annual fee. For example, if you add the face value of benefits but if you’re not using them, then you’re simply paying for the potential access.
As you check your wallet for what current credit cards it holds, you might want to re-consider and start shopping around for newer cards that offer more.