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The average American consumer plans to spend $935.58 during the holiday shopping season, and holiday season retail sales are expected to increase by 3.6% over last year to a total of $655.8 billion. Since a lot of that spending will be done on credit cards, and because credit card offers and rewards have never been more generous than they are right now, here's a guide to some of the best credit cards for your 2016 holiday shopping.
Rewards and bonuses are better than ever
As I mentioned in a
For example, the Chase
The Capital One
If you're not worried about an introductory bonus, check out the Citi
Do you want more time to pay?
If you want to take your time paying for your holiday shopping, it doesn't get much better than the
Beware of store card "no interest" deals
Many store credit cards offer interest-free financing deals that sound much better than anything offered by a standard credit card. You may see signs saying "60-months no interest" in the windows of furniture stores or "12 months same as cash" at your favorite retailer.
These can certainly be great deals, if you pay the balance down before the no-interest period ends.
Unlike standard credit cards, store cards use a form of financing called deferred interest. This means that interest is accumulating from day one, and will be tacked onto your balance if your account isn't paid in full by the end of the promotional period. Store cards tend to have high interest rates -- many in the neighborhood of 29% -- so this can result in a big charge.
Choose rewards that make sense for you
So far I've only discussed credit cards with perks that appeal to all shoppers -- cash back, 0% interest, etc.
It's also worth mentioning that some travel, hotel, or store-specific rewards cards might offer excellent rewards that have a lot of value to you, ifthey fit your lifestyle. For example, my
Another favorite offer on the market right now is from the American Express
This is a great example of a card that has an excellent offer, but only fits certain lifestyles. If you're a frequent flyer, this card could be well worth the annual fee. If you don't travel much, you're better off with one of the cash-back cards I discussed.
The bottom line on holiday shopping with credit cards
To be clear, I'm not advising you to spend more than you otherwise would just for the sake of getting a big introductory bonus. Rather, the point is that you could get some pretty impressive rewards or interest-free financing for money that you were going to spend anyway.
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