Credit card reward points can usually be found on a consumer’s monthly paper statement or virtual statement on line. Points are awarded by credit card companies for certain kinds of purchases. Points may be used or redeemed in exchange for a variety of goods and services, as defined and established by each participating company.
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With so many banks offering credit card services, using a credit card finder can help consumers sort out the many options offered by competing card companies. Most card companies now offer reward points for virtually every purchase, but companies differ widely in how many points are offered and how they may be used.
What if I’m not using my card and don’t receive monthly statements?
If you’re not using your card, you wouldn’t be racking up many reward points, so occasional routine checks could be accomplished by calling the card company’s toll free customer service line.
Many companies have recently automated their customer service protocols, instantly providing answers to the most frequently asked questions such as, “What is my balance, or when is my next payment due?” If your company doesn’t provide reward point information in this manner, hang on the line, follow the prompts, and ask to speak to a live representative.
What are points good for?
In the recent past, many consumers simply ignored points that were tacked on to their accounts. Often times, these points could only be traded for advertising specialty items, such as pens or desk caddies, inexpensive clutter for most people. Other companies used reward points to sell additional “discounted” products or services such as magazine subscriptions.
Today, the marketplace is far more competitive and companies have been forced to offer real premiums to maintain their customer base and attract new card business. The premiums offered often depend on the company logo featured on the credit card. Gas companies offer bonuses on gasoline purchases, while other retailers give bonuses for consumers who buy their products.
Still very popular, are cards that feature points that can be collected and used to offset travel related expenses such as airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars. Nevertheless, more often in our current economic climate, consumers want to use credit cards that pay them premiums on normal daily purchases such as groceries and clothing items.
Consumers don’t generally want to be confined to one vendor, one gasoline company, a single airline or one chain retailer, so banks are beginning to change their policies in regards to bonus points. While some banks award points for all purchases made, they will increase the points for specific transactions in an attempt to steer consumer purchasing in their biggest clients’ direction.
Some bankcards have become popular for their cash back reward programs. Instead of points, banks award small amounts of cash for various purchases made with their cards. This cash can be used for most anything and in some cases can be applied to an outstanding balance or used as a monthly account payment!
These kinds of bonus and reward credit card programs are generally “win, win” for shoppers and retailers alike, with everybody getting something from the program. Shoppers are encouraged to patronize certain vendors but rewarded just for using a particular credit or debit card.
It is important to compare the advantages and disadvantages of credit card rewards programs. A good place to start would be consumer protection agencies such as the Better Business Bureau. Also, financial expert Suze Orman offers insightful advice regarding using these types of cards.
Can I get rewards from using my debit card?
While banks generally aren’t giving away points for using their debit cards, many entice customers to use their cards with periodic contests and prize give-a-ways. It’s the old “open an account and get a toaster” promotion updated for the digital age.
Are reward points for purchases a new invention?
Premium giveaways, in the form of discounts or bonuses, have been a part of retailing for generations. In the post World War II era, “trading stamps” became a popular giveaway for many grocery chains. Brands like “S & H” and “Top Value” were common household collectibles. A stamp was usually given for each dime spent at a participating store.
Trading stamps were then brought home, licked and placed in collectors’ booklets. The stamps themselves had no cash value, but participating merchants provided catalogues featuring house wares and other merchandise that shoppers could claim once they had collected and saved a sufficient number of stamp booklets.
Some merchants pooled their resources and opened “redemption centers” which stocked many of their catalog items right on the premises. Many American families happily saved for a new toaster, glassware or other popular household items, by filling in books of trading stamps.
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