credit cards

6 ways to spoil your cash-back rewards

Don't lose out on free cash
Don't lose out on free cash © urfin/

Cash back from credit cards can seem like free money. But how much you get can depend on your financial decisions and practices.

If you're cash-back savvy, you already know to shop through the card company's shopping portal or to take advantage of special promotions to double, triple or even quadruple the one penny back you get back on average from every dollar you spend.

But did you know there are ways you can lose that hard-earned cash back? And it's not as hard as you might think. While the average household earns $622 in some kind of rewards every year, $205 of that goes unredeemed, according to a 2011 study from Colloquy and Swift Exchange. That's a fistful of lost cash.

So could you be squandering your cash back? Bankrate outlines careless habits that can steal your cash-back rewards.

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A cash-back rewards credit card is no good if you're letting free money slip through your fingers. And that's a common problem.

A study done in 2011 found that while the average household earns more than $620 in rewards every year, $205 of that goes unredeemed. So, if you have to register online to maximize your rewards, a step required by some cards, don't forget to do that.

Keep tabs on when points will expire and make rewards redemption an annual practice, so you won't lose out on anything you've earned. Make sure you've chosen a card that matches your spending habits and doesn't save the best rewards for stores and businesses that you don't tend to patronize.

Pay off your card balance every month, so that the cash back you're earning isn't being eaten up by interest payments. And always pay your credit card bill on time, because if you're delinquent, the issuer can take your cash-back rewards away.



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Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.87%  0.01 15.86%
Cash Back Cards 16.37% --0.00 16.37%
Low Interest Cards 11.10% --0.00 11.10%
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