Money Bliss

Smart Moves for Credit Card Users

Goodbye, Citibank Credit Card!

For the first time in so many years, my annual membership fee with Citi card was not approved to be waived. That slightly breaks my heart as I’ve been with Citi since 2006. In fact, Citibank was my very first credit card as an earning adult. From then on, I sorta felt an attachment with them, feeling they were the first credit card company to trust the “starting” me (So, I put up with their CSR, recent residual interest scheme and everything else in between).

However, the time to part ways has come. It’s sad (sepanx!) but I guess it’s for my own good na rin. I have other cards anyway. Moreover, I have two which offer lifetime free membership fee. I have nothing to lose by cutting ties with one credit card company but everything to gain, right? Besides, the P3,500.00 annual fee is just too much for me.

As a credit card user (as in a user – couldn’t imagine a life without them) for over a decade, I have listed a few tips below:

Don’t be attached! Yup, don’t be too sentimental like me! I should have canceled my Citi the moment I had the cards with no annual fees. Because the painful truth is, unless you are a big-time celebrity or a business tycoon with millions in credit limit, you are not a “valued customer”. You need proof? Call their CSR and see how many minutes of your precious time would be wasted by waiting on the other end of the line. Yesterday I called the CSR and after keying in several numbers and codes, I waited for about ten minutes to get entertained by someone. So, the next time an agent (like, in the malls) approaches you and offer you a credit card (from a reputable institution) with lifetime free annual fee, take the time to fill out forms. Grab it. Go, switch!

Examine your Statement of Accounts and pay attention to charges and/or Notices. Do it at least randomly or every quarter. I missed Citi’s Notice about “residual interest” which they claim to be part of my July SOA. I was just surprised to see finance charges in my latest SOA when I fully paid my last balance. As it turns out, they are now charging for “residual interest”. Meaning, it is now not enough that you pay last month’s due in full. In order not to incur finance charges you should pay in full the balances of at least two consecutive months. So, there, examine and compute! Verify if they are charging what they say they are charging.

Reward points, see if they can be converted to cash credits. With apps on mobile phones nowadays, it has become easier to choose and apply your points for specific rewards like cash credits. Use them because you earned them! I called out one of my cards for using my reward points to cover my annual fee. Hmm. Okay lang sana if they informed me before doing so but they didn’t!

Check for added safety features. I personally like the OTP (One-Time-Pin) scheme and the text notifications I receive whenever my card is used. However, be extra vigilant. Don’t agree on everything they offer especially if you’re not comfortable with it. In my case, I called out one of my cards for recording my voice print (for recognition next time I call their CSR). I didn’t agree to it and I’m not comfortable either. I prefer the OTP scheme and old school verification process.

Discounts. Take advantage of the discounts you get by using your credit card. This is especially true for online purchases and hotel and restaurants services. But, don’t buy anything, book a hotel or dine in a restaurant just to avail of the discount or else it will defeat the purpose – using credit cards to our advantage. Just be in-the-know of the offered discounts so that in case you’ll need to buy something you’ll get to save money by applying discount codes.

Are you also an avid credit card user? Have some tips and tricks up your sleeves? Why don’t ‘ya share them by commenting below? By the way, what do you think is the best credit card, and why? Thanks!

Photo by Oliur on Unsplash

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