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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for December 2017

Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards
Best Credit Card Tips for December 2017
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For many people, the holidays are as stressful as they are fun. But the Nerds are here to help you enjoy the season with some tips for using and managing your credit cards.

Be sure you’re getting the best price

Don’t spend hours comparing prices online or hopping from one store to another. To guarantee you’re getting the best price on gifts, use a credit card with price protection. Here’s how it works: You make a purchase and register it on your credit card’s website. If you find the item for less within 60 or 90 days (depending on your card), you may be refunded the difference.

Citi cards do much of the work for you with the Citi Price Rewind program. When you register a purchase made with any Citi-branded consumer credit card, Citi Price Rewind searches for a lower price. But you don’t have to register the item as soon as you buy it. A Citi spokesperson says: “Within 60 days of a purchase, the customer must log in to their Citi account and search the Price Rewind database for the item. Once they’ve found the item, they then enter the purchase details and upload the receipt to start a Price Rewind request.” According to Citi, the average refund per customer is just over $30.

And here’s an extra credit card tip for the holidays: Keep your receipts! Even if your card doesn’t offer price protection, you might need to return an item later.

Find free shipping

Hundreds of online retailers participate in Free Shipping Day, which is Dec. 15 this holiday season. But you can already get free shipping from many online stores all year round.

Walmart.com, for example, offers free, two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more. Zappos.com gives free shipping to Zappos Rewards members, which is a free program you can join. Target offers free shipping for customers who use a Target REDcard. And, of course, there’s Amazon Prime, which — for the $99 annual fee — gives you free shipping on eligible purchases.

Save time by going mobile

Shopping. Gift-wrapping. Decorating. Party planning. Cooking and baking. Your holiday to-do list goes on and on. To make the most of your time, take advantage of your credit card mobile apps.

You might already visit your issuer’s website to avoid physical trips to a post office or bank branch, but mobile apps often let you avoid breaking out the laptop, too. Your credit card app may be able to help you keep an eye on your spending, your credit limit, your payment due date and any potentially fraudulent charges.

“The adoption of the banking app has been growing consistently,” says Ravi Acharya, head of consumer lending and innovation at Santander Bank. And consumers are using their phones to manage every aspect of their lives. “At train stations, people waiting used to read newspapers. Now they’re reading their phones. If you can use that time to do banking, it frees you up to do other things with your time,” Acharya says.

If you haven’t downloaded your credit card app yet, try it — it might make this next month less stressful.

And enjoy the holidays!

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