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Borrow Smarter for the Holidays: How to Choose a Credit Card

The holidays are on the horizon! Now is the time to make a plan for how you'll pay for gifts, food, decorations and everything else you need for this special season. Will you choose cash, debit or credit?

When used responsibly and strategically, credit cards can give you a big advantage during the holiday spending season. Credit cards are convenient, especially when shopping online. They also offer greater fraud protection over debit cards and cash. Some credit cards even have rewards programs that allow you to earn cash back on your purchases.

So, what type of credit card should you use for holiday shopping? The card you choose depends on your goals and spending plan. Here are some options to consider:

Low Rate Credit Card

Low-interest rate credit cards can be a good option if you need to stretch your holiday budget. While it's best to pay off your balance in full each month to prevent debt and help you maintain a strong credit score, a low-interest rate credit card can help you save money if you have to carry a balance. Look for a credit card that has a low rate and no annual fees,* such as a Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) Platinum Low Rate Credit Card.

Whenever you carry a balance from month to month, make sure you have a plan to repay what you borrow. Otherwise, you could get into a cycle that may damage your credit.

Cash Back Rewards Credit Card

If you plan to pay your balance in full each month, consider a card that offers cash-back rewards for your holiday shopping. With WPCU's Platinum Rewards Credit Card, you can earn cash back on every purchase, everywhere you use your card. This can be a big benefit during the holiday season when you're probably shopping a bit more than usual. You can use the cash back you earn to put towards your balance or pay for future purchases. It's a smart way to put more money back into your pocket. Get 5% Cash Back On the first $1,000 you spend from Nov. 2 – Dec. 31, 2020 and after that, earn 1.5% cash back on EVERY purchase**. This promotion is available to new and existing cardholders.

With rewards credit cards, it's always wise to stay within your spending limits so you're able to pay the balance in full. If you don't, the interest charges may outweigh the potential rewards you earn. 

For a limited time, earn EXTRA cash back for the holidays! Click here to learn more about our limited time offer.

What to Avoid: Store Credit Cards

During the holidays, retailers will be working hard to convince you to sign up for store-branded credit cards. They may even offer special discounts or shopping perks. Resist making the snap decision to open a store credit card at the checkout. In many cases, store credit cards have much higher interest rates than traditional credit cards offered by banks or credit unions.

If you use the card and don't pay it off in full, the interest charges and debt can add up fast. When you need to use a credit card for holiday purchases, it usually makes more sense to use a credit card from a financial institution you know and trust.

No matter which credit card you choose for holiday shopping, it's important to make a plan. Set a spending limit and try to pay your credit card balance in full each month. When you do, you can enjoy a stress-free holiday season without excess holiday debt! Are you ready to borrow smarter this holiday season? Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help. Learn more about our credit card options or visit a Member Center to get started today. ​

*All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) are accurate as of 11/18/2020 and may change at any time. The APR for Purchases, Balance Transfers and Cash Advances for the Platinum Rewards credit card will vary from 9.25% APR to 17.25% APR, depending upon your creditworthiness. The APR is variable and is based upon an index plus a margin and will vary with Prime Rate (the index) as published in the Wall Street Journal, currently 3.25%. The rate for the Platinum Rewards credit card may increase or decrease monthly, but it will never go below 6.00% APR and will never exceed 18.00% APR. There is a Foreign Transaction Fee of 1.00% of the final settlement amount for transactions that are initiated in a foreign currency or for transactions occurring in foreign countries and initiated in U.S. Dollars. There is a Returned Payment Fee of up to $25.00. There is a Late Payment Fee of up to $20 if your payment is five or more days late. Credit card applicants under 21 must demonstrate an ability to repay or have a qualified co-signer who is 21 or older. Please refer to or contact a Member Center partner for rate, fee and other cost information related to our credit card products

** Earn 5% cash back on your first $1,000 in purchases made between 11/2/2020 through 12/31/2020. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases after your first $1,000 or after 12/31/2020, whichever comes first. This promotion is available only once per Wright-Patt Credit Union Platinum Rewards Card. Cash advances and balance transfers are not included in this promotion.