You've got a low-interest rate credit card, pay at least your minimum due, and you've never left your credit card sitting in an unlocked car. So, you're covered, right? Wrong. Even the smartest among us are guilty of some of these common credit card mistakes. Improve your credit card IQ by avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Ignoring your rewards program
With so many credit cards on the market today, credit card issuers are working hard to get you to choose their card. Many cards offer rewards programs that, well, reward you for the money you're already spending. An industry-standard 1 percent redemption rate will typically be what you earn with your eyes closed. However, some cards can boost quarterly promotions to as high as 5 percent rebates on eligible purchases.
Credit card rewards programs are generally pretty easy to manage, whether you use your credit card only a few times a year or if you pass all your monthly spending through your credit account. Rewards programs can pay off in travel discounts, exclusive perks, statement credits or even some extra holiday shopping money. Just be sure to check if or when your points/miles expire. With just a little attention to your account details, you could be earning some considerable rewards.
2. Sending your card with the server
After you've enjoyed a lovely meal at a nice restaurant, credit card fraud may not be the first thing on your mind. But when you hand over your credit card in that small black book and send it away with the server, you're displaying more trust than you ought to. It's estimated that 70 percent of credit card skimming takes place in restaurants. Skimming is a popular method of stealing credit card information where your card information is scanned or copied (by hand or machine). As soon as that credit card leaves your sight, you're giving dishonest employees ample time to skim your information, run your card to pay the bill and present you with the receipt with a big smile.In Europe, it's common for your restaurant server to run your card with a handheld machine right at your table, which has contributed to lower credit card crime rates. Unfortunately, this hasn't become commonplace in the states. So what's your best bet? Admittedly, this one's tough. Aside from using cash, ask to be present where and when they swipe your card. Yes, it's slightly awkward and the server may not be accustomed to the question, however, credit card theft is so common that no one will begrudge you being careful.