The right credit card can help protect you from online fraud, shoddy deals, and, of course, save you cash.
As the loonie rises and tumbles and household debt steadily increases, deal-happy Canadians are still gearing up to hit this week’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday door-buster sales.
Though the Black Friday and Cyber Monday “holidays” have origins in the U.S., they have steadily grown in popularity in Canada and are now usurping Boxing Day – with some shoppers even claiming Black Friday offers better deals.
For the savvy shopper, spending holidays can be a great time to save a few bucks on gifts and toys for the kids, maybe pick up the smartphone you’ve been eyeing, or grab that patio set you’ll need come spring.
But getting caught up in these sales has a downside – particularly, online and in-store fraud, travel costs and steep duties and taxes.
The good news? Your method of payment can go a long way in protecting you from shopping pitfalls.
Here are our top three reasons for getting a better credit card for your 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases.
You need to protect yourself in case you buy a dud
You managed to snag a TV during that fantastic door-buster deal… only to find out it’s busted as well when you took it out of the box. The store has a Black Friday no-return policy, and you can’t find a warranty within the packaging. You could be out of luck… unless you bought it on plastic with Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection features.
Extended Warranty typically adds up to two additional years on a manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, Purchase Protection usually insures your purchases from theft or damage for up to 180 days from the day you buy it. This means you’ll be covered in the event of unpreventable circumstances, from a broken screen to your goods being stolen from your car trunk or doorstep.
The top credit cards that offers Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty…
Not only are they great cash back options, but the Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card or the BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard will give you extra peace of mind on hastily-made purchases if they turn out to be duds or even stolen.
You’re going on a road trip
You may be planning on doing Black Friday the old school way by heading to the U.S. to score deals. If so, ensure you’re earning cash back or rewards on every mile logged – a gas rewards credit card or cash back card that earns on fuel purchases can help offset those road trip costs.
You should also have the proper travel medical, accident and collision insurance for your south-border jaunt. This kind of coverage can be found with most premium travel credit cards. Also check if your card is partnered with any auto rental companies; you could be eligible for a discount on your rental car with collision insurance to boot.
The top credit card that offers gas rewards…
The Shell AIR MILES®† MasterCard®* from BMO won Best Gas Rewards with No Fee at our Best of Finance awards, giving you 500 bonus Air Miles for signing up, plus three times the Miles you’d regularly earn for the first three months of card-membership.
The top credit card that offers travel insurance and other travel perks…
The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®Card offers everything from travel medical and travel accident insurance to baggage insurance, flight delay insurance, rental vehicle insurance, and trip interruption or cancellation insurance. This is partially why this card won the Best Card with Travel Perks award at the 2017 Best of Finance awards.
You can also earn 25,000 bonus points with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first three months, and these points can be redeemed for a few flights. And while there is a $99 annual fee, it is waived in the first year.
You need to be rewarded for spending all of this money
You’re the type to always pay off your credit card balance promptly and without fail. Why not be rewarded for making your purchases? Black Friday presents a great opportunity to amp up your earnings and cash in on purchases you were going to make anyway.
You may also want to do your Black Friday shopping abroad and use your card to earn rewards. But be warned – today’s loonie only measures up to about 78 cents on the U.S. dollar, so expect your wallet to take a hit south of the border, even on the most basement of bargains. In addition, you’ll pay what’s known as a Foreign Exchange Fee on each transaction to your credit card provider. This fee is generally around 2.5 per cent – meaning for every $1,000 you spend on your card internationally, you’ll be charged $25 in Forex fees. While many American banks have waived this fee on credit cards, most Canadian lenders charge their cardholders for currency conversion.
A good rewards card will help you ultimately offset the cost of your purchases and forex fees through cash back or points.
The trick is to use a credit card that earns rewards on any type of purchase and has no cap on the amount of rewards you can earn.
While there are many fantastic rewards credit card options on the Canadian market, they’re often limited to eligible gas, grocery or drugstore purchases. It’s important to understand what type of transactions are eligible for rewards on your card.
This makes the difference between being rewarded for purchases you planned on making anyway, or being forced to make purchases at places where you wouldn’t usually shop, simply for the rewards.
The top credit card that offers unlimited rewards…
The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card once again comes out on top. Not only does this card offer five per cent cash back on everyday purchases for the first three months of card-membership, but there’s also no annual fee for the first year. Only after 12 months, a $99 annual fee will apply, but the cash back you earn will likely surpass that. This card won Best Rewards Card at our 2017 Best of Finance awards too.
Don’t wait. Sign up for the credit card you need at RateSupermarket.ca today so you can truly enjoy the fruits of your purchases throughout the holiday shopping season.
This post has been updated.