You can buy gift cards with a credit card at some retailers but not others. For example, you can buy gift cards with a credit card at Walmart, Target and Amazon.com but not at 7-ElevenSave Mart or Albertsons. Many stores don’t allow it because buying gift cards with counterfeit or stolen credit cards is a common practice. On that note, you may earn rewards when buying gift cards with a credit card, but if you use the money from those same gift cards to pay your credit card bill, you could lose your account due to rewards abuse.
What You Should Know About Buying Gift Cards With a Credit Card
A store may or may not allow it. It depends on how confident they are in their fraud protection.
Retailers where you can buy gift cards with your credit card include Amazon, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS, Simon Malls and GiftCards.com.
Some stores where you can’t buy gift cards with a credit card include 7-Eleven, Save Mart and Albertsons.
Your issuer may or may not let you earn rewards for gift card purchases. For example, gift cards aren’t eligible for rewards on any American Express cards. But if you do get rewards from gift cards, you can’t turn those gift cards into cash and use the money to pay your bill.
Many credit card rewards programs allow you to redeem your points or miles for gift cards, so that’s another avenue to get them with your credit card.
As more stores update their credit card security measures, you’ll probably see more and more places that let you buy gift cards with a credit card. But it’s always good to ask in-store before checking out, so you don’t end up being surprised.
The best time to pay a credit card bill is a few days before the due date, which is listed on the monthly statement. Paying at least the minimum amount required by the due date keeps the account in good standing and is the key to building a good or excellent credit score. That’s true for everyone, but some people might want to take things a step further, particularly cardholders carrying balances from month to month and people with high … read full answercredit utilization.
If you have a credit card balance that you carry from month to month, it’s best to pay that credit card’s bill as soon as the monthly account statement becomes available. This will save you money on interest. Paying the card’s monthly bill in full for two consecutive months will also reduce your interest charges by reinstituting your account’s grace period. Instead of purchases beginning to accrue daily interest charges right after you make them, you will have a window between when your monthly statement becomes available and when your bill is due to pay with no interest.
If the balance listed on your monthly credit card statements consistently equals more than 30% of the card’s credit limit, consider paying your bill multiple times per month. Paying once in the middle of the month and again before the due date will reduce the balance listed on your statement. That, in turn, will lower your credit utilization, which should help your credit score.
Here’s a quick example: You have a credit card with a limit of $1,000. You charge $500 to it, using up 50% of your credit. Then, you make a payment of $300 before the billing period closes and your statement is generated. That brings your statement balance to $200 and your utilization to 20%. Paying off the final $200 before the due date then keeps your account in good standing.
Here’s when to pay a credit card:
If your credit utilization is 30% or less and you pay in full every month, pay your credit card bill by the due date listed on your monthly account statement.
If your balance is more than 30% of your credit limit, pay your credit card bill before the billing period closes to reduce your credit utilization, then pay the remaining balance by the due date.
If you’re carrying a balance from month to month, pay off your full credit card balance as soon as possible to save on interest.
It’s a good idea to set up automatic payments with your credit card issuer so you don’t have to worry about when to pay your credit card bill. Doing so will automatically make a payment from a linked bank account every month on the due date, or a day of your choice before that. You can’t be marked late unless your account has insufficient funds. And even with automatic payments set up, you can still make additional payments any time you want.
It’s better to pay off your credit card than to keep a balance because paying the card off will save you money on interest. Credit card companies charge interest when you don’t pay your bill in full every month, but you’ll enjoy a grace period with no interest if you always pay your full statement balance by the due date.… read full answer
Some people think you need to carry a balance in order to see positive information on your credit report, but that’s simply not true. You don’t even need to use your credit card to build credit. Simply keeping an account open and in good standing is enough to help your credit.
Here’s why it’s better to pay off your card than to carry a balance:
If you pay your bill in full each month, you won’t be charged any interest on most credit cards, thanks to a grace period. But you’ll lose the grace period if you don’t pay in full one month, and you’ll have to pay your entire balance for two consecutive billing cycles to get it back.
You don’t need to carry a balance for a credit card to help your credit score. What matters most for credit building is meeting due dates and keeping credit utilization low.
Paying your bills on time doesn’t require you to pay your balance in full each month. You just have to make the minimum payment listed on your statement. But if you take on too much debt, you may find it hard to make your monthly payments.
Carrying a balance makes it harder to keep your credit utilization low, since your everyday spending will be added on top of the amount you’re carrying from month to month. It’s best to use less than 30% of the credit made available to you.
So, to recap, it’s better to pay off your credit card than to carry a balance because it builds your credit history just as well without subjecting you to interest charges. Just remember, not carrying a balance does not mean you have to stop using your credit card. There is a middle ground. A balance will be listed on your credit card statement whenever you make purchases, but if you pay that amount by the due date, you won’t really be carrying a balance.
Using your card regularly actually helps because having a credit utilization ratio between 1% and 10% is slightly better for your credit score than 0%. But credit utilization is based on your statement balance, and your monthly statement comes before the due date. So you can still pay your bill in full every month while doing right by your credit score.
Why 0% APR credit cards are an exception
During the 0% APR introductory period, your balance – whether from a purchase or balance transfer – won’t accrue interest as long as you pay the minimum amount required by the due date each month. So, keeping a balance is expected, but you do have to make monthly payments along the way. And if you don’t pay in full by the end of the 0% period, interest will come into play.
You should pay off your credit card every week if your statement balance at the end of the month would otherwise be close to your spending limit. Ideally, your balance at the end of a billing period should be less than 30 percent of your credit limit. Anything above that is bad for your credit score. So, paying off your credit card every week could prevent credit score damage. Weekly credit card payments are also a good way to keep your spending in check. You’ll be less likely to wind up with a big credit card bill that you can’t afford if you pay weekly.… read full answer
Plus, paying off your credit card every week ensures that you’re making your payments on time. If you pay in full by the due date, you won’t be charged interest on purchases either. And you’ll have more credit available for emergency spending.
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