Strapped for cash Britons turning to credit cards that offer rewards

10th August 2012  

In these difficult economic times, most people are looking for ways to save money and make their weekly and monthly budgets stretch further. And according to recent research by American Express credit cards, one way they are choosing to do this is by using credit cards that offer rewards.

The survey of UK consumers revealed that the number of people who currently have reward-based credit cards was 32% higher than last year. Reward credit cards are those which offer something in return for using them to make transactions.

UK Consumers change shopping habits to reap rewards

These rewards cards offer attractive perks and reward schemes, such as cashback for each pound spent, or points that can be redeemed for specific purhases like flights and other little treats. Sometimes the rewards are merely for using the card, while with others consumers must shop at specific stores or purchase certain items to get maximum rewards. The research shows that this is significantly influencing where people are going to spend their money, with 48% of those with reward cards reporting that they are likely to change where they shop specifically to receive cashback or reward points.

But despite their popularity, 52% of UK adults don’t currently have a reward credit card, collectively missing out on approximately £3 billion worth of rewards and cashback opportunities, according to the research. If you’re one of this half of the population, now may be an ideal time to look into taking up the offer of a rewards card.

We have tables showing the most generous cashback credit card and rewards credit cards this month.

Choosing a rewards card that’s right for you

There are lots of different types of reward cards, and the right one for you is the one that matches your lifestyle and your goals. For example if you want to make your weekly grocery budget go further, choose a card that offers cashback whenever you use it. If you’re looking for a way to be able to go on holiday while still tightening your budget, choose a scheme that rewards you with points towards free or discounted flights.

Currently, cards that offer cashback are the most popular with the British public, accounting for 38% of all such cards, while schemes offering retail vouchers that can be redeemed in store are also popular, standing at 33% of the total.

If you’re thinking about getting a rewards credit card, it is of course important to pay attention to the details and the small print. If reward points are offered then check how many you get per pound spent, AND what they are actually worth.

It’s also important to remember that rewards cards are only really useful if you are realistically capable of paying off the balance in full every month, otherwise you’ll incur interest charges that will promptly negate any savings you might make. If you’re unlikely to be able to pay off the balance every month, then you’re probably much better off with a standard credit card that offers a lower interest rate.

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