There are lots of odd uses for items we use frequently:

  • A handy can of WD-40 (NASDAQ:WDFC), for example, can be used to keep flies off cows and pigeons off balconies. (Some people think that WD-40 is a great stock. See what Timothy Otte thinks.)
  • Budweiser beer, made by Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD), can reportedly be used as a hair conditioner. (Philip Durell recently recommended the company's stock in his Motley Fool Inside Value newsletter service. Grab a painless free trial and see which other stocks have been offered up.)
  • Some claim that Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), another Inside Value pick, can remove grease stains from clothes.
  • Sheets of Procter & Gamble's (NYSE:PG) Bounce fabric softener carried in your pockets can keep yellowjackets, mosquitoes, ants and other pests away and can freshen sneakers and remove soap scum from shower doors.

I've even run across instances where credit cards get used in some possibly unexpected ways. For example, according to, it seems that police in Boca Raton, Fla., have found that "nearly 700 people used credit cards between April 2000 and March 2005 at Dreamescape, a brothel.. While some clients paid in cash, one 80-year-old man charged more than $36,000 on his credit card in the 232 times he visited the establishment, according to police." Yikes.

Meanwhile, in Israel, the Leumi bank, a major player, is offering a card that "might help shoppers score some points in the world to come," reports. It doesn't work on the Sabbath and "even on non-holy days, it will never function at a store that stays open on Shabbat." One aim is to encourage merchants to close on the Sabbath. And here's an interesting benefit to being a cardholder: "If an Orthodox Jew's wallet is stolen on Friday afternoon, even the most secular of Jews can't fraudulently use the card for at least 25 hours."

If you think you've seen everything in the credit card world, you probably haven't. A bank in Singapore is issuing scented cards, targeted at women. We've already got cards that glow and cards that make noises. Now we have cards that smell. What's next?

These stories are interesting, but if you'd like to be the smartest person in the room when it comes to the credit card industry, spend a little time in our Credit Center, which can open your eyes to some surprising practices. Be smart about credit and you may save yourself lots of headaches and even thousands of dollars. Don't let lenders take advantage of you -- protect yourself by becoming an informed and savvy consumer. The following articles can help you:

Check out our spiffy Motley Fool credit card, too. And read about all things credit-related on our Consumer Credit / Credit Cards discussion board.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Coca-Cola. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.