NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for March 2016

Mar 3, 2016

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Whether March has you hitting the road for spring break or staying home to save on discounted winter purchases, you can save money by paying with a credit card.

Every month, the Nerds round up a new set of credit card tips to help you maximize rewards and minimize costs with each use. Here are our tips for March 2016.

Book your spring break trip with a travel credit card

As long as you can afford to pay off your bill, there aren't many reasons not to book your travel on a  card.

Paying for your spring break trip on a travel credit card usually means getting points good for future travel, benefits such as free checked bags or hotel stays, and sometimes even a large sign-up bonus within a few months of opening your account.

And while some cards earn points to use with specific hotels or airlines, others let cardholders redeem points on all travel purchases — no matter where they're made.

If you’re not loyal to specific brands, a general travel card like this one is probably going to be your best bet. If you always stay at the same hotels or fly the same airlines, a branded card may earn you more points.

Check your bonus malls for deals on winter purchases

March is already a great time to buy warm clothes and other winter gear at steep discounts, but shopping through your credit card’s bonus mall could tack on additional discounts.

Saving with your credit card’s bonus mall is simple:

  1. Log on to your card’s bonus mall site.

  2. Click the link to the online retailer you’d like to shop with.

  3. Spend as you would normally.

Most bonus malls give rewards as additional cash back or points. Check your bonus mall’s specific redemption details before you buy to know how exactly you’re saving.

As retailers clear their shelves of jackets and boots, you could reap great deals, as long as you don’t mind waiting until next winter to use your purchases.

Check for recurring credit card payments

Signing up for recurring payments and services is easy; remembering to cancel unused services can be hard. Whether it’s $4.99 for that podcast you don’t listen to anymore or $10 for that video streaming service you haven’t touched since fall, monthly subscription charges add up.

But before you can save money by canceling these items, you have to find them, which usually means digging through separate credit card bills, bank statements and even online payment accounts such as PayPal and Google Wallet.

Truebill, a free service that automatically identifies recurring bill payments in your credit card and bank accounts, makes finding and canceling subscriptions simple. Entering your credit card login and password on Truebill allows its software to scan your statements. It then picks out recurring payments and displays information such as active subscriptions and total monthly subscription spending.

If you want to cancel a bill, you can do so directly through Truebill, though it will typically require some additional information related to the service you’re trying to cancel.

"Just $10 a month" doesn’t seem so bad when you’re signing up for a monthly service. But when you see how much you’re spending collectively on all of your subscriptions, it might make weeding them out more of a priority.

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