Utilizing Credit Cards to Make Money
Nov 25, 2019
This article is part of a series on Making Money Online, where we explore all the different ways you can make money with just a computer and an internet connection.
There is a common myth that you must avoid credit cards at all costs. Credit cards are only for racking up debt and spending money on things you can’t afford. While some of that may be true if used irresponsibly, credit cards can work in your favor if you responsibly use them.
If you know you aren’t disciplined enough to pay off a credit card so that you have a zero balance at the end of each month, then you should skip this article. If you feel confident that you can use a credit card responsibly, you can get some great rewards and even save a ton of money.
Cash Back and Reward Points
To make money using credit cards, get a card that rewards you for shopping. This type of card is called a cashback credit card. Depending on the type of card you get, you can earn 1 to 5 percent in cashback rewards for certain purchases.
Take the Apple Card, for example. The Apple Card gives you a daily cashback of 1 percent on all purchases, 2 percent if you use your iPhone or Apple Watch via Apple Pay, and 3 percent on any purchases from Apple and other retail partners like Walgreens.
Let’s say you spend $1000 with your Apple Card in a given month (food, transportation, housing, bills, etc.). For simplicity, we’ll say you’ve gotten 2 percent cash back on every purchase. That means that you’ve earned an extra $20 just by using the Apple Card. If you were to use your debit card for those transactions, that number would be $0.
Other cards give you points instead of dollars. Typically, 100 points are equal to $1, but this may vary depending on the credit card. Points can be redeemed for different things, but travel points are the most popular.
Sign Up Bonuses
If you have a high credit score, you can often qualify for a sign-up bonus. One example is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which offers a bonus of 60,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which is the same as $600 when used for travel.
Some cards provide redeemable points, miles, or plain cash, just for signing up. Bonuses will vary based on the type of credit card you choose, and often the ones with the best sign-up bonuses have the highest annual fees. Don’t let those annual fees scare you away. Depending on how you use the credit card, it may make sense to get a card with a yearly fee because the rewards and bonus points/cash greatly outweigh the annual cost.
Save on Extended Warranties
Instead of buying that extended manufacturer’s warranty for your next big purchase, there’s a good chance that you’ll qualify for extended warranty coverage at no extra cost. You’ll also want to take a look at the purchase protection, price protection, and return protection benefits offered by the card you use for the purchase.
By paying off your balance each month and using your credit card responsibly, it will have a positive impact on your credit score.
Like it or not, you’ll probably want to purchase a house or a car in the future, and you’ll likely need a loan to make the purchase. Building your credit and having an excellent credit score when applying for a loan can quite literally save you thousands of dollars.
For example, you would like to purchase a new car for $35,000, but your credit score is 600-660. Your auto loan interest rate is likely to be around 8%. Over 60 months, you would pay $7,580 in addition to $35,000. If your credit score is 660-780, you’re likely to get a 4.5% interest rate, which means you would only pay an additional $4,150 over 60 months. That’s a savings of $3,430.
There are other benefits credit cards offer that we haven’t covered here, like discounts on various retail stores, free or reduced rental car insurance, and free credit score checks. Check out the links below for resources on how to get more information.
Learn More and Find the Best Credit Card for You
Below are some resources to learn more about credit cards and to help you find the best card for your needs.
NerdWallet: an excellent resource for understanding everything you need to know about credit cards and which ones are the best.
The Points Guy: a great place to learn about the best credit cards for travel.
The Wirecutter: an editorial website recommending the best of – well everything.