Why did you choose your credit card? Was the plastic in your wallet picked for the right reasons? It’s a question that applies to literally millions of Canadians – 85 per cent of us carry a credit card, according to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. Not only that, but another 58 per cent report double timing their credit, and pack more than one.
While it’s no surprise consumers depend on their plastic (as perhaps painfully illustrated by Monday’s nationwide Visa outage), the question remains: could your card be doing more for you?
When in Doubt, Money Talks
A recent consumer study conducted by RateSupermarket.ca found that when it comes to selecting credit cards, consumers are after a payoff, far preferring cards offering rewards instead of low interest options. A full 67 per cent said a high rate or reward return was the most important factor when picking their credit card. 26.4 per cent said that a low interest rate was the most attractive feature, while only 5.5 per cent said they would consider a card based on a low balance transfer.
Cash is the Clear Winner
Of those rewards lovers, 61.5 per cent said that they prefered a card with cash back options on everyday purchases like gas and groceries (after all – what’s better than perks on things you need to buy anyway?).
Twenty two per cent of poll takers said travel rewards like flight discounts, VIP access and concierge services were their top choice. Specialty rewards, like retailer discounts and freebies, came in at 14.3 per cent.
Why Rewards Shouldn’t Always Be Your Top Choice
While it’s plain to see Canadians love their freebies and perks, the truth is some consumers are better off without them. If you’re guilty of common credit card sins like carrying a balance, paying only your minimum payments, or indulging in cash advances, using the wrong card could find you in a heap of debt – fast. For these consumers, a low interest card can be a better bet for paying down lingering balances, and taking control of credit. They may lack the instant gratification of a rewards card, but the long term rewards of being debt free offer far more bang than a rewards buck here and there.
How Balance Transfers Can Help
For those seeking refuge from a deadly credit debt cycle, cards with balance transfer features can be heaven sent. These cards feature a special super-low interest rate for those who transfer their existing balances from other cards – often, these interest breaks are as low as 0.99%! While this special rate is only around for a limited time for new customers (and applies only to transferred balances – new purchases will be charged at the full interest rate!), that gives the cardholder a real shot at paying down their debt without all that pesky interest – and it can make all the difference.
Some Options to Consider
If you had the chance to switch to a better card… would you? What if the deal was sweetened with FREE money? Right now, RateSupermarket is giving away a free $100 gift card to those who qualify for one of three featured Scotiabank credit cards. Each card includes some fantastic features, depending on your credit needs: pick from a cash back rewards card, low interest / balance transfer card, or travel rewards. To apply, and get your free gift card (from your choice of four retailers), click this link: