NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for May 2017

Ellen CannonApr 28, 2017
NerdWallet's Best Credit Card Tips for May 2017

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After a long winter, May is a welcome month. Spring is in the air, and summer travel is on the horizon. These tips will set you up for the coming months.

As graduation from high school or college rolls around this month, you may be considering applying for your first credit card. The typically require good to excellent credit. With a thin credit history, however, your options are more limited. That’s not to say there aren’t good cards for students or new grads. Discover offers two that have no annual fee and pay 1% cash back on all spending. The has no annual fee and pays 1% cash back on spending and an additional 0.25% on charges during that billing cycle when you pay on time, for a total of 1.25%. Also, you don’t have to be a student to apply for it.

Another good option for those new to credit is a . You deposit an amount of money to create your credit line, and the card company reports your usage to the credit bureaus to help you establish a credit history. You may be upgraded to a regular card after you show good credit management. Similarly, the may raise your credit limit after five on-time payments without an additional deposit.

The car trip, whether it’s for a holiday weekend or a cross-country trek, is part of American summer. If you’re planning one, check out the travel protections your credit card offers. Most cards offer insurance, which kicks in after you’ve filed a claim with your own car insurance carrier. If you’re taking your own car on the road, find out whether your credit card offers roadside assistance in case of an emergency. Or consider whether renting a car for your trip makes more sense than using your own. If you rent a car and it breaks down, the car-rental company will bring you a new one, and you'll be on your way. If your own car breaks down, you may wind up in Hell, Michigan, instead of the Grand Canyon for a few days.

Air travel is no longer the stylish experience we saw in "." Today, it’s more like the torture we endure to get to our relaxing vacation destination. But having  may help you get through security faster if your airport has a PreCheck line or a Global Entry kiosk. You’ll have to apply in advance and go through a background check by Homeland Security, but it’s worth filling out the forms if you travel frequently. Some premium travel cards, such as , the , the and the , reimburse cardholders for the application fees for either security program. That can save you $85 for TSA PreCheck or $100 for Global Entry every time you need to renew.

Sunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day. You’ve been reminded. In 2016, Americans expected to spend a total of $21.4 billion on Mother’s Day celebrations, and 55% of those surveyed said they would be taking Mom out for a meal, according to the National Retail Federation. If you’re having brunch or dinner, consider using a credit card that offers bonus rewards for restaurant spending. For example, the offers 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants and the offers 3 points per dollar at restaurants.

Enjoy the May flowers!

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