Credit cards allow you to spend a certain amount of money at an interest rate that will be charged every month. The spending amount that is available to you can be seen differently. Some see it as an additional amount to spend, some see it as a ‘risk-free’ borrowing opportunity. Credit card spending is not a ‘free’ spending opportunity, as you will need to pay this money back. This money does not work like a loan, as the amount available to you is not all cash. However, it can be treated as a ‘loan’ and this concept will be explained later.
Other very important concepts that have to be understood before getting a credit card, is 0% offers. There are two kinds of 0% offers: on purchases and on balance transfers. The first one allows you to spend the money provided to you by the credit card without paying any interest for a certain amount of time. So, for example, if the credit card gives savastano cc you a limit of £500 for three months, then you can spend £500 against this credit card and not be charged interest for the first three months since the credit card was opened. However, once this period of time expires, you will be charged the credit card interest rate. This interest differs depending on the credit card, so if you intend to pay this interest, then you ought to look for the lowest interest rate available. Paying interest can be avoided, unless you have already overspent too much and are using credit cards to pay off other credit card interest. In this case you should call some of the debt consolidation companies and try to get some your credit card debt written off. Another reason why you might be in the position of paying interest is because you forgot when your ‘0% free time’ ended. If this is the case, you will be informed about this with your first bank statement. Transfer your balance to a different bank or pay the debt off and avoid any further interest payments.
For those of you who don’t have interest payments, you can take advantage of the 0% purchasing and make some money. You need a good credit history record to make this work and you also need to be disciplined. The easiest method is to do all of your normal spending against the credit card, while putting the money that is coming in into an interest-earning savings account. For example, if your credit card company lets you borrow £2,000, and you have £1,000 coming in as a salary every month, then put the £1,000 into a savings account and do all of your purchasing with a credit card. There are a few things to watch out for: credit card companies will charge you for cash withdrawals; your cash limit is much lower then the full available credit; and choose a savings account from which you can withdraw easily. At the end of the 0% purchase period, you will need to return all the money that you have spent against your credit card. You should have that amount available in the savings account by then, plus interest. The interest gained is your earnings for this transaction. You can earn even more if you chose a credit card with a cashback deal. This deal will pay you interest on all of your purchases made with the card. However, you should remember, that this is a money-making technique, rather then a ‘spend more’ opportunity. There is a more complicated trick of making money from credit cards, details of which are outlined by Money Saving Expert (2006).