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3 Ways a Credit Card Can Help with Holiday Shopping

No, your credit card can’t go to the mall or wrap presents for you, but it can do a few other handy things.

Don Milne Nov 6, 2018

Article originally published on November 6, 2018 and refreshed on March 18, 2021.

The holiday season is big business. For many retailers, November to December is the busiest time of the year. It is also a busy season for consumers who make extra purchases that can exceed $1,000 or more.

According to the Transunion 2019 Holiday Retail Fraud Survey, a little more than one-third of respondents (34%) planned to use either a bank-issued or private label credit card for their holiday purchases.

While there are good reasons to pick cash and debit cards, there are three reasons why credit cards are the preferred choice for holiday shopping.

Reason #1 to use a credit card for your holiday shopping: Buy now, pay later

Perhaps the best reason is that you are buying on “credit” so you don’t need to take the money out of the bank to pay the merchant right away.

Depending on what time of the month you make your purchase, you could be waiting up to 50 days before having to pay for your purchase. If you pay your balance off in full each month, you don’t pay any interest.

Reason #2 to use a credit card for your holiday shopping: Fight fraud

Another big advantage is that if your credit card is used without your permission, and if you report the loss as soon as you find out, the fraudulent purchase is removed from your balance.

With a debit card, it will be longer before the stolen funds are returned to your checking account. And if you lose cash, there is no way to recover it.

Reason #3 to use a credit card for your holiday shopping: Earn benefits

If you have a Zions Bank credit card, there are additional reasons to favor paying with credit, whether you’re buying this year’s hottest toy or a fruitcake (or not). With thousands of different credit cards to pick from, Zions Bank wants to make sure that you have some great benefits for choosing ours.

Zions Bank Clarity Visa® Credit Card*- With this card you get a low interest rate, no annual fee, no late fees, and no foreign transaction fees, so more of your payment goes to paying off your purchases.

Zions Bank Vivid Rewards Visa® Credit Card* - Earn up to 3X points from everyday purchases that you can use for other purchases. Unlike many other cards, there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions. Because your points don’t expire, you can save them up to use whenever you are ready.

Zions Bank Agility Cash Visa® Credit Card* – Earn 1.5% cash back with each purchase. There is no limit to what you can earn and no expiration date.

Warning: Don’t pay with credit if you can’t pay it off

With these three great reasons to use credit cards, there is one big reason to decide not to use a credit card for your holiday shopping. While many people make it a habit to pay off their credit cards in full each month and thereby avoid paying any interest, other people don’t.

Among those who don’t pay off their balance each month, they carry an average balance of over $15,000. That means that if they are not paying down their balance with extra payments, they are paying up to $3,000 or more in interest each year. Who would rather have $3,000 to spend on Christmas than use it to pay interest?

How can you decide if the benefits of using a credit card outweigh the risks? It’s kind of like asking should you drive a car? Most people can handle driving just fine, but some people should leave the driving to others. If you make sure you pay off your credit card each month you can not only save money, but you can make money. That’s a win-win.

Not sure which credit card is right for you? Compare the Zions Bank Visa® Credit Card* offerings on our website to find the card that fits your lifestyle. Visit your nearest Zions Bank branch or apply online.

*Credit cards are subject to credit approval. Terms, conditions and restrictions apply. See banker for details.

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