How to Safely Use Rewards Credit Cards and Contactless Payments to Your Benefit

By Shari Kruzinski, Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Delivery, WSFS Bank

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Reading Time: 3 minutes
In this new era of social distancing in public, people are turning to using their credit cards, mobile apps and other forms of contactless payments while shopping.

Whether through the convenience of online shopping or delivery or curbside pickup at local small businesses, the safety, benefits and rewards of using low-touch forms of payment have increased in recent months and are here to stay.

Here are ways you can use your rewards credit cards and mobile contactless payments to your benefit.

Connect your rewards card to mobile payment apps
When used wisely, having a rewards credit card is a great way to expand your purchasing power through miles, cash rewards and more. Connecting your rewards credit card to mobile payment apps, such as Venmo, PayPal or Apple Pay, has several benefits including building rewards points when using these apps for consumer purchases and peer-to-peer payments. You can earn cash, airline miles, points toward big ticket items and more by connecting your card and paying people and businesses directly.

If your rewards credit card is contactless, you get the added benefit of enhanced security at chip-enabled terminals without having to touch anything but your own card. You simply tap the card on the terminal to pay.

Most credit cards also safeguard you well from fraud because the money spent on the card is essentially “borrowed,” allowing the credit card issuer to not hold you responsible for fraudulent purchases until their investigation concludes. This means you don’t lose money from the fraudulent activity and you don’t need to wait for it to be deposited back into your account. Federal law also caps your liability for fraudulent credit card purchases at $50, whereas debit cards can be higher.

Many issuers have fraudulent activity alerts in place to let you know when something looks suspicious, and you can set up purchase alerts so if something looks fraudulent to you, you know right away and can report it.

Cashing in rewards
Many Americans are feeling the financial impact of the pandemic and may have had to use their credit card more often than usual to make ends meet. If your income has been impacted by the economy or cash is otherwise tight, it may be worth redeeming your rewards points for cash or a statement credit rather than saving them for big ticket items or travel.

This option is situational, depending on the return rate of cash rewards compared to miles or points, and whether you need to redeem them now or if waiting and continuing to collect miles or points provides more value long term value to you.

With advances in technology that enable low-touch payments and the new practice of distancing in public, taking advantage of rewards credit card benefits and linking them with mobile payment options or using contactless features is easier than ever before – just remember to keep your credit card spending within your means.



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