Savvy: Giving credit (cards) where it’s due

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that choosing the right credit card makes a massive difference in your life. Savvy can help you in this endeavour.



In generations past, credit cards were a rare commodity – used sparingly on special occasions; in restaurants and for larger-than-average purchases. The concept of the credit card itself dates back no further than 1950, when Frank McNamara conceived of the Diners’ Club card, which could only be used in restaurants.

These days credit cards are approaching the status of being as commonly used as money, and we’re headed fast towards a cashless society where swiping, waving or scanning your card will be the only way to purchase a majority of goods and services.

The market for customers in the credit card game has become fierce and competitive. Especially when certain banks and financial institutions have joined forces with the airlines to offer major rewards point bonuses for signing up with their cards. Some offer as many as 100,000 points just for signing up, and those points could – depending on the airline and its Ts & Cs – fund your next global trip. That’s nothing to be sneezed at.

There’s a lot of value to be found in a strong credit card account, from helping you build a solid credit rating, to the possibilities of free goods, services and those flight upgrades. You just need to know what’s on offer, and what’s going to best suit your needs. Some banks and financial institutions will grant you an interest-free period when you transfer your other card’s debts onto their new ones. Some will be in partnership with leading airlines, and offer the incentive of substantial frequent flyer points as a signing up bonus.

But there are caveats. In exchange for the low or no interest transfer, they may charge interest rates on purchases substantially higher – the price you pay for enough points for a Business Class upgrade may be something like 22% interest on that pair of shoes you wanted. You need to consider what your circumstances are, and how this (and other factors, such as annual fees, joining fees and credit limits) may impact your future financial state.




Share via