With the World Series underway, you’ve probably got baseball on the brain – and we know how you feel! While the Nerds were gearing up for the championship, we couldn’t help but notice all the great credit card tips we’ve learned over the years from America’s favorite pastime. We’re excited to take a moment to share them before turning back to the game.
Here are seven credit card secrets every baseball fan knows:
1. An early lead helps, but isn’t essential to winning the game
Scoring a few runs in the first inning of the game can make it easier to come out ahead in the end. The same goes for your credit card: By opting for plastic with a high signup bonus, you’re setting yourself up for a big win with rewards. In fact, there are some cards on the market that could score you several hundred dollars in miles or points, just for meeting an up-front spending requirement. Talk about a home run!
However, it’s important to remember that a signup bonus – just like an early lead – isn’t everything. When you’re shopping for a card, you should look at all its qualities before making a final decision.
2. Timing matters
Baseball is a game of strategy. The best players are those who know that timing matters when it comes to scoring an extra run or tagging an opponent out.
This is also true with your credit card. Paying your bill on time is critical to maintaining a good credit score, so make sure that your due date comes at a convenient time every month. If it doesn’t, call up your issuer and change it. After all, this is what any good ballplayer would do.
3. Spend some time finding a position you like, and you’re sure to play your best
Many baseball players spend their high school and college years researching and experimenting with different field positions to figure out which one is a good fit. This makes sense, because it’s more likely they’ll play well in a position that’s suited to their skills.
With your plastic, don’t be afraid to look into a few different rewards programs before settling on your next card. It’s important that you’re earning points, miles or cash back that you’ll actually use, and figuring out what fits your lifestyle best might take a little time.
4. The batter on deck could have a big effect on the game
Making a batting lineup is a big task for a professional baseball team’s manager; this can sometimes determine the outcome of an entire game. The same idea can be applied to your credit cards – although you’ll likely designate one as your primary card, it helps to have another one on-deck just in case. This could come in handy if your usual card gets lost, stolen or hacked.
Think carefully about your plastic lineup – your card could be your lifeline if the going gets tough.
5. Aim to hit it out of the park every time
Taking a big swing often adds up to big results. You should use the same attitude toward your credit card bill – swing for the fences and pay it off in full every month. You’ll avoid high-interest credit card debt, as well as damage to your credit score caused by a high credit utilization ratio (more on that in a minute).
Whether you’re stepping up to bat or sitting down to pay your credit card bill, you should always set your sights on knocking one out of the park.
6. Striking out happens – don’t let it get you down
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, even professional athletes. Striking out at the plate can be embarrassing and a little demoralizing, but the best players do what they can to bounce back quickly.
This same approach should be applied to your credit card habits. If you slip up and overcharge one month or make a mistake that causes you to get hit with a fee, don’t panic. Just make some adjustments to your routines and get back on track. It’s what any major leaguer would do.
7. Even professionals shouldn’t overdo it
Professional pitchers can only play so many games before they have to give it a rest. Otherwise, they could overdo it and end up getting injured. Your credit card works the same way – even if you’re diligent about paying off your balance in full every month, over-utilizing your available credit at any point in the month could cause your credit score to get dinged.
It’s a good idea to call in a relief pitcher (i.e., another card) if you start getting too close to the 30% credit utilization threshold. Just be sure to pay both off in full by their due dates, and you’ll be sure to stay in the game.
Baseball image via Shutterstock.