It is easy to get into trouble with credit cards, and millions of consumers have made that mistake. They spend too much, fail to pay their bills in full and end up with interest charges and late fees on top of the actual charges. Those credit card dangers are well documented, so much so that some financial gurus eschew plastic altogether. But there is another line of thinking as well, one that views credit cards not as a dangerous trap but as a path to free money.
If you are disciplined in your spending and willing to do what it takes to pay your monthly bill in full, you could turn the credit card equation on its head, getting the bank to pay you for the convenience of carrying that powerful piece of plastic.
Get Off to a Good Start with Sign-Up Bonuses
There is fierce competition among credit card issuers, so much so that many banks are willing to pay up for new customers. If you know where to look, you could find credit card sign-up bonuses of $100, $150 or even $200 or more, so go online, watch the mail and get ready to respond to the most enticing offers.
Each sign-up bonus comes with its own set of requirements, so pay attention to the fine print and make sure you hold up your end of the bargain. A typical offer may require you to spend a minimum amount of money within the first 60 to 90 days, and once you do the cash, bonus points or airline miles should land in your account within a month or two. Read more tips on the next page to make the most of your credit card rewards.