Through our world’s history of financial scandals, we learn that debt can be detrimental to a person’s (or business’) overall financial state. In 2001 when Enron, America’s once seventh-largest company, collapsed under the weight of its own debt, it lost its shareholders tens of billions of dollars.
Truthfully, there’s no way you are out overspending at the extent that Enron did, but it’s important to take note of the trickle down effect of consequences that debt can have. It’s also important to acknowledge that credit card companies are in a constant chokehold with one another, fighting for the right to exacerbate your personal debt.
The more you spend, the more a credit card company makes, taking advantage of what might have just been a quick credit purchase. They have gone as far as to mass market their credit cards to people in the mail making sure to reach you even when you’re not looking for them. By knowing how to capitalize on the offers coming in when credit card companies battle for your business, you win. Here’s how:
Market Share War
At any given time, credit card companies are fighting for their top spot in the market. With banks issuing more and more credit cards, they are positioning themselves to win their share of credit cardholders. Banks accounted for 48.96 percent of the total market shares of card lenders 2017. With JP Morgan, CitiGroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo taking some of the top 10 spots.
The use of credit cards didn’t gain much traction until 1978 when a Supreme Court ruling allowed national banks to charge out-of-state customers an interest rate that was set in the bank’s home state. Since then, issuers have had to compete with businesses all around the country to come out on top of the credit war.
Because banks have more overhead capital to invest, they can afford to offer benefits that negate their profits in credit cards, often offering higher bonus options and additional perks to consumers.
Millennials have been known to spend more than they typically have to live in comfort, making them the perfect target for credit cards. Every credit card company wants you to use their card over their competitors. This means that if you pay special attention to to the bonuses offered before committing to a company, you are more inclined to get some great deals.
As a general rule, if a credit card company offers you a rewards rate lower than 1.5 percent cash back, take your business elsewhere. Precedence has shown that the average American with a FICO score of 695 or above should receive rewards offers of at least 1.5 percent, if not higher.
Go by the “it never hurts to ask” rule when dealing with companies. Call customer service to speak with the customer retention department and ask them how their card is benefiting you. Mentioning to them that you are considering cancelling your card can prompt them to offer you a waived yearly fee or even cash card bonuses.
Additional Credit Card Perks
Credit card companies offer far more than just cash back rewards on purchases; they offer extended warranty protections, cell phone replacement costs, and “purchase security”. This means that if items have been lost, damaged, or stolen your credit card company will reimburse you or pay to repair items.
And that’s just the beginning.
Some card issuers offer price protection. If you buy a product that ends up later going on sale, you may be able to get the savings difference back if you used that credit card to purchase it. Some credit card companies offer guaranteed returns on items purchased within 90 days. If the retailer you bought something from will no longer accept it as a return, your credit card company may give you a refund if you send them the item you want to return.
What did I tell you? When they fight, you win.
The more you use a card, the more you benefit from its perks. However, the more you use a credit card, the more vigilant you must be of your spending with it. Holding a debt balance not only affects your credit score in the long run but also makes you spend money in interest you could be saving, and there are several life milestones you can miss out on by having poor credit. Being financially literate helps you gain a lot from credit card companies competing. When you’re caught in the crossfire of good deals, remember benefits add value to a credit card. And you’re worth it.