BOSTON (CBS) – Tips or pitfalls from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

With reward credit cards you can earn miles, airline points, gift cards or even cash back. I particularly like the cash back for unless you have an airline card for miles it could take you forever to earn enough miles for a trip.

Reward categories often change quarterly, resulting in fewer rewards than hoped for.

And studies have found that some folks tend to spend more simply to earn the rewards. If you can’t pay the balance in full each month, a reward card is not for you. You’ll need to find the lowest interest rate card you are eligible for. And you want one that does not charge an annual fee.

Most of the airline cards will cost you an annual fee, usually the first year is free though. If you fly a lot and charge your airfare and can use the card for every day expenses it would be worth the effort to get one.

A wise daughter (mine) once told me she treated her frequent flyer miles like money. These were the miles that got her home from California on a regular basis.

Also those airline cards may get you free checked bags as well as priority boarding which is a plus if you travel a lot. And the payback after 2 trips is the cost of the card if you had to pay for luggage.

There are many savvy consumers who have learned to manage their points as they would cash. If you can do that, then you can benefit greatly from using a rewards credit card.

Look for a free credit card that provides points. I like cards that allow cash back. The Discover card was the first to use this reward to increase business and it was successful.

Fidelity offers two free credit cards to its customers. The money can go into a Fidelity account of your choosing such as the college 529 plan for you kiddo. Chase offers many different credit cards to fit most needs.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the organization I recommend most often to listeners whenever they tell me they need help with credit card debt. It has many local member agencies that it can recommend.


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