All of the commercial banks here in Barbados have credit cards with various benefits. Some are linked to local rewards programmes, whilst others are linked to international rewards programmes. From time to time, special credit card offers appear in the local media and are designed to grab your attention.
Before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few credit card tips that you should remember before getting that card.
1. Find out what the rules and regulations are, and if possible, get them in writing. You don’t want to be surprised by increasing interest rates or shortened cycles. Read the fine print before you sign that contract.
2. It’s more beneficial for the lending institutions when you “spend” a lot and pay back a little. They will make a killing off of those interest charges. If you can, try to pay off that bill in one go.
3. Be mindful of what you spend and keep a record. As long as you use that card, you are using someone else’s money and you have to pay them back with interest.
4. Choose a card that gives you back something for your money. Like I mentioned earlier, many credit cards are linked to rewards programmes which give you the opportunity to earn points or credits for each dollar you spend. However, don’t get sucked in by these benefits. They are encouraging you to spend more to gain more. Be careful!
5. Analyse your bills. You need to check to see what appears on that bill and if you indeed made the purchase. This is also a security precaution, in case someone is using your card to make unauthorized purchases. Where possible, match the charges on the bill to your signed receipts.