Get the most out of your credit card: 6 tips for success as a cardholder

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You might not realize it, but your credit card might be full of handy benefits. These tips can help you use your credit cards to maximize your savings and protect your purchases and personal information. Whether you’re shopping online, buying gifts, traveling or otherwise, a credit card with the right features can help you maximize your budget and ease unexpected hassles.

1. Use virtual card numbers when shopping online

It’s possible for scammers to get their hands on your credit card information online when you make purchases. When this happens, you will likely have to close your account and wait for a new card to be issued. To avoid this hassle, many credit card companies offer unique virtual account numbers (or virtual credit cards) to make online purchases. You will receive a unique 16-digit card number, expiration date, and CVV that you can use to make a secure purchase with your account without entering your actual card information. For credit cards that offer this feature, as some select Citi® Cards and the new card X1*, simply login to your account and request a virtual account number – it must be generated on the spot.

2. Use the best cashback rates

By using one of best cash back credit cards is a proven way to maximize your savings. If you plan to make both physical and online purchases, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers a fixed 2% cash reward on purchases. If you shop online often, you might consider the Bank of America® Custom Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card*.

With the Customized Cash Rewards card, you can choose to receive 3% cash back on online purchases (and 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, up to a total of 2,500 $ spent in categories 3% and 2% per quarter, then 1%). With the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you can enjoy 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases if you have a Prime membership, among other benefits.

3. Use a card with purchase protection

Many people have credit card perks that they aren’t even aware of and that are hidden in the fine print. Many credit cards offer purchase protection against damage and theft, which acts as insurance for your gifts. For a set number of days – usually between 90 and 120 days – purchases you make with the card that are stolen or damaged can be refunded up to certain value thresholds. For example, the Hunt Unlimited Freedom® is a cash back credit card that offers purchase protection for 120 days on purchases made with the card. If an item you purchased is damaged or stolen from you or your gift recipient, you may receive up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.

4. Use a board with trip protection

If you’re traveling, some credit cards offer cardholders flights, hotels, car rentals, and other travel insurance benefits at no additional cost. Travel protection and trip cancellation insurance are common features on some credit cards – again, just look at the fine print. There can be a wide range of protections offered on travel-related purchases made with your card, such as car rental insurance, reimbursements for delayed flights and other trip interruptions, baggage insurance and sometimes more. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a comprehensive card that provides comprehensive trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance.

5. Use a welcome bonus

If you’re still going to spend — and you’re looking for a new credit card — might as well reward yourself with a new credit card opening bonus
. Many login bonuses, or welcome bonuses, can earn you up to several hundred dollars in cash back, statement credit, rewards points or travel miles. If you’re looking for a credit card just to take advantage of the login bonus, we recommend one with no annual fee, such as the Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards, both of which have a $200 login bonus. $ after spending $500 within the first three months of opening an account.

Read more: Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

6. Use a card with a 0% launch APR

You can request a 0% Introductory APR Credit Card benefit from long-term, interest-free financing. While many cards offer an introductory APR of 0% for purchases for 12-15 months on average, some offer longer terms, such as the US Bank Visa® Platinum Card, which offers an introductory APR of 0% on purchases (and balance transfers) for 20 billings. cycles (16.74% to 26.74% TAP variable thereafter). One of your current cards may also have 0% funding – you can find out by checking your account offers online. Some cards often offer 0% financing offers even after the account has been open for a while. As always, be careful not to overspend and make sure you can make your monthly payments in full.

More of our credit card recommendations

Editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our editors and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It was not supplied or commissioned by a third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

*All information about the Amazon Prime Rewards X1 Card and Visa Signature Card has been independently collected by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

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