Chris Bridges, Founder and CEO, VITAL Card Inc.
The Credit Cards of Summer
Essence calls summer a “time to get your wallet in order”, while recommending a list of new credit products to “suit your personal needs.”
The magazine correctly notes that “no one size fits all” credit card, but this is because the majority credit market advertises based on what rewards can get.
Something To Think About When Shopping For A New Summer Card
When credit card shopping, you need to be mindful of one thing. The number of applications you file for credit are called credit inquiries. This is because lenders will look at your credit file when you apply. This can take points off your credit score. Consumer Reports cautions against applying for a bunch of new credit cards to suit the summer spike.
Where VITAL Card Features
VITAL Card is a departure from this traditional system. Our rewards are not brand or category based. Rather, VITAL Card rewards responsible spending.
Summer Expenses Racking Up? Here’s Some Perspective
Summer is an expensive season. Heat drives up light bills, holidays have us traveling more. If you have kids, they are in camps and programs. If not, you may be pursuing career or life goals in summer.
Pro tip: It’s not so much what as it is how you spend. See more.
We always return to the crime scene with what may be a shocking point to some. VITAL does not advocate “frugal” spending, or the type of money-saving advice that may come off as miserly.
You may ask, “how can I spend responsibly if I’m not being frugal?”The secret is…it’s not what you buy, but how you buy it.
Say you have these summer expenses. Holiday travel, kids in summer camps, yoga classes, pool parties, pizza…You name it,it’s probably happening in the summer. Within a good balance, put those expenses on your credit card, and then pay off your credit card on time.
Pro tip: pay down credit balances with smaller payments before the due date.
Remember that credit is a tool. Credit debit-to-credit is called the credit utilization ratio. If you have a credit card limit of $2000 dollars and you use $200, your credit utilization ratio is 10% because 200 is 10% of 2000.
Holiday Travel As An Example
As a complimentary service, VITAL will offer access to the Mastercard World Elite tier of Mastercard World Card when it launches officially on the market.
World Card is a service of Mastercard that provides travelers with zero liability protection, access to global emergency services, added security, concierge services, subscriptions to ride share, food delivery, retail services and so much more. You can read all about Mastercard World Elite here.
Let’s say you’ve been planning a vacation to Monaco for years. You’ve done the budgeting, the savings and calculated the most affordable way to go. Your planning was beautifully executed, and you know you can pull this off.
A Strategy That Decompresses Travel Plan Anxiety
Let’s say that, you want to buy airlines tickets a few weeks in advance of the trip, but you’re also stressing over booking hotels. Let’s say that the airline tickets are the smaller of the expenses for you and your significant other.
You checked, and your credit card balance payment isn’t due for another couple of weeks. Which means, you can put the airline tickets on your VITAL Card, and let that balance post to your credit account over the next few days.
You’ll then go ahead and pay for the hotel room deposit, as you can comfortably use that cash now and not cut into your savings too much. Once you get paid, you’ll have reimbursed your savings once again. You can now pay off the VITAL Card balance, or make a small payment to bring the credit utilization ratio down to a healthy industry-recommended 10-30% range.
Why This Works
Our analogy is good for many things. One, in this analogy we’re seeing credit used as a financial tool for something we’re budgeting for, and can afford. We’re not panicking and wiping out our savings.
Next, we’re building credit and making use of our card that has access to World Elite. This gives us some travel options complimentary of Mastercard that we can make use of such as World Elite’s Travel and Lifestyle Services.
Good Money Habits Are Strategic
Good money habits does not mean penny pinching. Sure, it’s good to budget and save. Savings matter and buying with the means of those savings matter. Yet, it’s how you use those savings toward your financial goals that makes the difference.
Using those savings alongside credit will build your credit score. By making the actual transactions with the credit card, you are using the financial system within what you can afford. If you already have the money in savings, then you can pay the balance payments off when they post, in increments or all at once, at or before their due date.
Pro tip: Have a strategy that includes builds long and short term goals.
Why is this a good strategy? Because having a great credit score is equally as important as budgeting and saving in the grand scheme of crossing financial goal posts. With a higher credit score, you have more negotiating power over the big loans of your life, such as mortgages or auto loans.
Summer, even with all its expenses, is a great financial goal opportunity. By using your credit as a tool to make your savings work in ways that meet both long and short term goals, you’ll build credit wisely. Doing so can have lifetime benefits. Enjoy your the sunshine and success!
“5 Smart Credit Card Moves...,” Consumer Reports.org
“8 Expert Tips For Negotiating Your Mortgage,” Nerdwallet