Seasoned (and budding) shoppers, do you recommend getting a credit card?

I don't have a single card. I'm 28 -- credit isn't the best or the worst. I think it was around 704 last time I checked it for free. I have just 2 lines of credit out right now though; Ally & Great Lakes. I've read a few posters talking about using them for shopping and then others talking about the points racking up from major purchases. I'm pretty frugal so I doubt I would ever use it for anything other than shops.

Which cards do ya dig?

*Edit: I like cash, Amazon or Walmart gift cards, air miles, and hotel stays with minimal restrictions...

MegglesKat


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2017 11:37PM by MountainCacher88.

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That is a personal and/or professional decision. Others will tell you how/why to use a separate credit card for your business. Others can tell you if they believe it is worthwhile to have excellent, established credit. There is a reason for this: One shop type pays well and requires the shopper to have an excellent credit score. Other types require online or phone purchases with credit cards.

Points could come in handy for some unanticipated expense. On the other hand, if you have liquid monies, you might not need credit.

How do you do your work? Do you need to rent transportation or lodging? You might have to hold your rentals with a credit card even if you are allowed to pay with another tender.

If you are a hobbyist (you are not DBA or doing business as or using a corporate name for your mystery shopping), you could consider separate cards for your personal and mystery shopping purchases. This is completely up to you.

I would only say this: read the excellent information that others will provide in subsequent posts. Weigh all of that against your goals. Do you want credit? Do you want to be credit card/credit line/charge card free?

After considering all available information, do you conclude that it is worth your while to have any forms of credit? It is completely up to you.

“I want a yacht and, really, that’s not a lot”
(Santa Baby)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2017 11:47PM by Shop-et-al.
Even if I wasn't a shopper I would absolutely have a credit card. I charge pretty much everything, and I just make sure I pay it off each month. I have the Marriott rewards Visa and mainly use it to earn free hotel stays. My credit score has gone up since I got the card (I used to use my debit card for everything) and if my card gets compromised in any way (like a gas station skimmer, for example) I don't have to worry about someone draining my bank account.
I use my Bank of America Cash Rewards card for all my shops. You certainly won't get rich from it, but depending on the kind of shops you do, it adds up. (I originally got the card for its 0% balance transfer, but this is a nice perk.) Just be sure that you pay it off each month so you're not getting interest charges and losing money on your shops.
Like mtsakash, I charge just about everything - food, gas, clothing, bills, toilet paper...as long as it's over a few dollars I charge. I have several cards. I choose between miles & hotel stays. I get an annual $99 companion flight which is always used. I use miles for upgrades for long flights and hotel stays on trips. You can also get gift cards from charging as an option with many different cards, plus many have bonus points for the first $xxx charged in the first few months.

The key is to pay any and all cards off every month - don't buy unless you have the $$ to pay for it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2017 01:00AM by Iamme.
I was talking to a banker who suggested linking the card up under my bill payments on a debit card so --

I could set up an autopayment on the card each month to go from the debit and earn points in that way. I pay $350 on the car payment with the credit card, and then the debit card pays $350 on the credit card, or however I set it up. I just kinda feel like with shops -- where I spend $500-$1500 a month on items that will be reimbursed -- I'm missing out on potential credit card perks. When we first met, my husbands job put them up in a hotel and paid them a per diem that covered the stay. He signed up for a reward account with the hotel for his room and after over a year of living at the hotel, amassed quite a few hotel nights. I believe we had roughly 36 nights accumulated/points earned. We ended up cashing in a higher point value to stay at a 5 star ocean front hotel for two weeks that year. That was a pretty nice perk. Free beach trip other than the food we bought.

MegglesKat
It sounds like your mind is made up. I would recommend having a credit card if you can use it responsibly, ie don't pay interest. If your card bill is due on the 12th of the month for the charges you made last month, and the MSC doesn't pay until the end of the month, you are paying interest. It's better to use your debit card.

Get your flu shot...because I didn't!
Instead of paying high credit card interest, accumulate some savings (low interest on those accounts!) and use that as a "sweep" fund to cover cc debt that has not yet been reimbursed by the MSC. Then, when the reimbursement arrives, "sweep" that into your sweep account. Rinse and repeat. You will earn rewards points AND build your personal credit rating.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
@mtsakach wrote:

I have the Marriott rewards Visa and mainly use it to earn free hotel stays.

Did you know that if you switch to the SPG Amex card, you're earning Marriott points at 3-times the rate you do with the Marriott card? Iiiiiit's true!

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I did not have a credit card until I began mystery shopping. Don't like them in general, but it has been useful for car rentals and hotel reservations. I always pay off my card each month. I think reward points programs are just a gimmick, unless you put in a lot of effort making sure you spend every single dollar using your card; then you become one of those annoying people who tie up the line buying a soda or snack using a credit card.
@Hoju wrote:

@mtsakach wrote:

I have the Marriott rewards Visa and mainly use it to earn free hotel stays.

Did you know that if you switch to the SPG Amex card, you're earning Marriott points at 3-times the rate you do with the Marriott card? Iiiiiit's true!

To better explain what Hoju's talking about, 1 SPG point is 3 Marriott point. Between Marriott, SPG and Ritz-Carlton, you can convert points without any charge since SPG and Marriott merged.

Marriott is still a decent card if you manage to grab it at a 100,000 point sign-on bonus and take advantage of the free night. At a slightly less annual fee of $85, you accrue points at 5 Marriott points for every $1 spent at SPG or Marriott hotels. Otherwise, the card's pretty useless aside of taking advantage of the free night at a category 5 hotel. Think $85 for a nice hotel stay a year!

As for SPG's card, you earn 2 SPG points (or 6 Marriott points) for every $1 spent at Marriott and SPG hotels. The best time to get this card is when it's at a 35,000 sign-on bonus (or 105,000 Marriott points)! However, the annual fee is $10 more at $95 a year. I personally like the hotels offered by Marriott, but again, it'd be ideal to take full advantage of the free night offered per year by shooting for the nicest hotels offered from W, Westin, etc. The SPG card also has other benefits like free Boingo internet service (that internet provider you see sometimes at airports and other public places.

As for choosing to get a credit card, that's up to you. You need to fully understand how it works and let it work for you, as credit cards can only be a benefit to the user if used properly.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 27 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2017 02:33PM by Tarantado.
I prefer my debit card getting cash back for every purchase, easy to track besides no interest. since I always go over what I expect with my credit card, this has worked for 11 years. I'm probably alone, do what works for you.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
Did you know that a credit card is protected. A debit card is not protected. A bank could close your account and hold it until the debt is solved. I think you should have a credit card, as long as you can control it. Get the lowest interest rate possible. I was just compromised with my Amazon Chase account. Chase is great at notifying you. Someone in Florida tried to purchase items at Target for $500 and $900. Chase contacted me and closed the account until I get my new card. Those who have credit cards should add a code to get into your account instead of your mother's maiden name etc. Equifax has all the information the Scammers got.
My Bank (creditUnion has three questions of your choice....always switched when Iogin. I use my credit card for large jobs,my usual15.00 jobs are better with Debit Card.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
Thanks @Tarantado. I wasn’t up for writing that all out on my phone.

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
@shopper8 wrote:

Did you know that a credit card is protected. A debit card is not protected. A bank could close your account and hold it until the debt is solved. I think you should have a credit card, as long as you can control it.

The above is so true. About a year ago my 27 year old son decided he wanted a credit card. He is financially secure with a computer programmers huge salary but with no credit he could only get a secured card which had no points rebates and he had to pay a (relatively small) fee per year. I discovered that I could add him to my credit card for no fee and he would get the same rewards points I do while he built his credit score. I could also set a $$ limit on what he could charge per month. It sounds like you husband has a credit card. Depending on the financial relationship and agreements you two have he could do the same for you. Then once you have a history of credit you will begin to get offers yourself if you want to switch to your own card. I pay my sons bill and he reimburses me but it can be set up so he pays his own bill. We have an American Express Blue card. Not sure if other companies have the same deal. There are probably better ones out there as far as points are concerned but I liked American Express when I had it with Costco and decided to continue the relationship. They will fight for you and reverse charges easily for anything that is a problem purchase.
I also have my kids as authorized users on a couple of my cards. My 10 year old is building credit history without having to do anything.

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I do have a Platinum Amex, and I think that enrolls me in some SPG program, but I honestly haven't looked too much into it. I was lucky enough to get that card when they were offering 100,000 points for signing up. I try to "make back" the annual fee by taking advantage of the membership offers, especially at restaurants. It is especially awesome when I am doing a shop for a restaurant and I get an additional credit on my statement for using my card when doing the shop. I also recently discovered I can use my $200 airline credit to get gift cards... I had heard mixed things about whether that was allowed or not, but it worked for me this year with Southwest. I will have to look more into the SPG rewards...thanks for the info!
@shopper8 wrote:

Did you know that a credit card is protected. A debit card is not protected.

I'm not sure exaxtly what you are trying to say here. Could you explain? As for fraud protection debit and credit cards have the exact same protections.

Talking tough is easy when it's other people's evil and you're judging what they do and don't believe.
Right now my favorite credit card is the AARP with Chase. I got the sign up of spend $500 and get $200 cash back. Normally it's $150 cash back. This is my favorite card because it pays back 3 points on every dollar I spend at a gas station. Last I heard you don't need to be an old person to get this card.

I also like to use this card to help me keep track of my extra expenses for mystery shopping. YMMV.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning; the devil shudders...And yells OH #%*+! SHE'S AWAKE!
My debit card has the same fraud protection as a credit card. It is highly monitored, too. It's not unusual for me to receive a phone call anytime I make an out of the ordinary purchase because my bank wants to be sure it is me and my card hasn't been stolen. They reversed the charges the one time someone else had gotten my information, and ordered me a new card.
Maybe I'll browse a few online and see what the general consensus is on rewards and such and which purchases earn points. Will bills, auto, student loan, and what I spend shopping, I could probably spend $1500-$2500 a month on the card and have it paid up in full after the purchase. Cash back is nice, as are gift cards. I don't think my bank offers cash back on my debit but the account is free with no purchase requirements, minimum balance, or 10 transactions etc. I must do more digging on this! If there' s a good bank with a debit card that works similarly, maybe that could be a good starter route. I'd really like to earn some type of incentive rewards and cash them in as a little surprise/treat now and again.

MegglesKat
When I go out of town I tell my Bank otherwise they won't honor any purchase from out of state on my debit card.
I'm with a Credit Union who cares about their clientele. My debit card does everything a credit card does except charge the high interest. Fraud is taken care of same as credit card.. I control what I spend as I know exactly
how much I have to spend, for me, credit cards are "oh well I'll get this along with that". I have one CC for hotels car rentals emergency's, etc., not for small stuff.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

When I go out of town I tell my Bank otherwise they won't honor any purchase from out of state on my debit card.
I'm with a Credit Union who cares about their clientele. My debit card does everything a credit card does except charge the high interest. Fraud is taken care of same as credit card.. I control what I spend as I know exactly
how much I have to spend, for me, credit cards are "oh well I'll get this along with that". I have one CC for hotels car rentals emergency's, etc., not for small stuff.

A debit card can not do everything a credit card does. A debit card does not build credit.
@eyelove2shop wrote:

@Irene_L.A. wrote:

When I go out of town I tell my Bank otherwise they won't honor any purchase from out of state on my debit card.
I'm with a Credit Union who cares about their clientele. My debit card does everything a credit card does except charge the high interest. Fraud is taken care of same as credit card.. I control what I spend as I know exactly
how much I have to spend, for me, credit cards are "oh well I'll get this along with that". I have one CC for hotels car rentals emergency's, etc., not for small stuff.

A debit card can not do everything a credit card does. A debit card does not build credit.
I no longer build credit, I've owned homes cars and have established credit....plus my bank has lower interest rates being a credit union so needing a loan I'd do better with them..but those days are over. I've had friends who's kids ruined their credit with credit cards...had to move home and pay everything off. Done well, yes you can build credit, just be careful.....

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2017 04:45PM by Irene_L.A..
[www.nerdwallet.com] is a good site that will explain the details of the cards. I have opened many credit cards for mystery shops.
You are missing out on some money by not having a card.
begriffin I was told by the bank awhile ago that the protection was not the same. I would double check with your bank to verify. Maybe it depends on the bank. I will double check myself. I am talking about a debit card, not a credit card.
@Shopper8: My debit card is fully protected. I once saw a tiny charge I didn't remember and they issued me a new card with no problem. My bank is extremely careful; more so than BofA. No bank wants frauds and have security dept's monitoring that. I'm not dishing credit cards, I have one but as for safety, their both safe. We now have chips which protect even more. You may have been told protection was not the same as your bank wanted you to get their credit card...interest rates and all that makes good business. #upsell

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
There are many good cards out there. I personally put everything on credit card and pay off when statement cuts. Why not get 5% (for restaurants with various cards) or similar for paying for your mystery shops, something you'd have to pay for anyway? You're getting reimbursed, so while it's small peanuts, it's free peanuts for Mystery Shopping!
I see bonus shops in my area up to $20 and there's probably 15-20 of them but they require a Visa. There are others too I've noticed that require Visa or Mastercard. Haven't spotted any Amex. I know I'm probably missing out on a few fees and reimbursements with those.

MegglesKat
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