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How to Maximize Your Credit Card Benefits

You can benefit financially from credit cards if you select them with care. By choosing cards that match your lifestyle, you can enjoy goodies and perks with tangible value. Here are some examples:

Cash Back Cards

You can earn money every month on most of your purchases with cash back cards. Cash back returns are typically between one and five percent. Many credit card companies offer five percent cash back on purchases in select categories.

If you buy $300 worth of groceries every week, and you pay for those purchases with a debit card, you're missing out. You could use a cash back credit card for grocery purchases and earn $4.50 per week instead.

After four weeks, you'll have $18, and after six months, you'll have $108. All you had to do was use a cash back credit card instead of a debit card.

To maximize your cash back returns, always pay your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges. Your cash back will be pure profit, and you can use it however you wish. If you use it as a statement credit, you'll reduce your grocery bill each and every month.

Balance Transfer Cards

Do you have a sizeable balance on a high-interest credit card? Transfer that balance to a new card with zero percent interest on purchases and balance transfers for up to 18 months.

You can save the interest you would have paid on your existing card and use it to repay the debt faster on your new card.

Many balance transfer cards charge a transaction fee of between three and five percent of the total amount transferred. Find a card with no balance transfer fee.

Although these offers can be hard to find, they do exist, and credit card companies are routinely offering new deals. It's worth your while to look, because a balance transfer of $5,000 could cost you between $150 and $250 in fees.

Don't transfer a balance unless you can pay it off within the zero interest period. If you still have a balance when the offer expires, you might wind up with an interest rate that's higher than the one on your existing card.

Sign-up Bonuses

If you're shopping for a new credit card, find one with a limited-time promotional bonus if possible. Many credit card companies are offering bonuses of $150 or more if you spend a certain amount on purchases during the first few months after your account is opened.

Other cards offer bonus reward points that you can redeem for cash, statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Others offer frequent flyer bonuses of one mile for every dollar spent.

Some frequent flyer cards come with mileage-based introductory bonuses. These deals can amount to between 50 and 100 percent of the total cost of an award ticket after you meet the initial spending requirement.

Special Promotional Offers

Retailers periodically issue credit cards in partnership with credit card companies. The deals can be profitable for people who routinely shop in these outlets.

The Amazon Rewards Visa Card from Chase is offering new cardholders a gift card of $50 just for signing up. You'll earn three percent cash back on all Amazon purchases, two percent on gas purchases, restaurants and drug stores, and one percent on everything else.

Another sweet deal is the Best Buy credit card. It gives you five percent cash back on all Best Buy purchases. Additionally, you'll earn ten percent cash back on your first day of making purchases as long as those purchases are made within 14 days of opening the account.

Responsibility Rewards

Petal is offering one percent cash back on all purchases. When you make on-time payments, you can increase your cash back percentage. After six months of timely payments, your cash back increases to 1.25 percent, and after six more months, it goes up to 1.5 percent.

Credit cards can save you money, but only if you choose the ones with features that will benefit you most.