by Christy Bieber | Dec. 17, 2019
Certain credit cards are more popular than others when it comes to holiday spending.
When it comes to holiday spending, using credit cards makes a lot of sense. As long as you are responsible with your credit and plan to pay off any charges before you incur interest, credit cards can be the ideal way to pay. After all, cards can allow you to earn rewards and take advantage of buyer protections such as extended warranties.
Over two thirds of Americans will use credit cards for at least some of their holiday spending. According to a YouGov survey, 68% of people will use their credit cards this holiday, although less than 30% of consumers will exclusively spend on credit. Others will use a mix of credit cards, debit cards, and cash, with some not using credit card at all.
Among those who plan to use credit, there's one particular type of credit card that is far more popular than the others.
According to YouGov, 42% of adults who plan to use a credit card for holiday spending will use a cash back credit card. This type of card -- which gives cash rewards for a percentage of all spending -- is by far the most popular. Depending on the card, this could potentially be paid into a bank account or redeemed as a statement credit.
General purpose cards are the second most popular, with 35% of holiday shoppers who plan to use a credit card opting for these. And 16% will use store cards, making it the third most popular choice.
And another type of rewards card -- one that offers travel rewards -- is the choice for 15% of credit card users. Finally, 14% will use secured cards, and 10% of card users either don't know or will opt for some other type of card.
The good news is, the majority of these credit card users are making a smart choice when it comes to their holiday payment method. Cash back cards can provide generous rewards, and getting money back helps to offset the cost of holiday purchases.
General purpose and store cards, on the other hand, may not be ideal. There's little benefit to using a credit card that doesn't have a good rewards program. And store cards tend to come with higher APRs as well as store-specific rewards that often require you to spend more to use them. You might get a gift card to the store, for example, but could end up spending more than the gift card amount when you go back to use it.
Cash back and travel credit cards are both good options, but you need to see which one is best for you. That depends on the kind of spending you're doing, as well as what you plan to do with the rewards. Most travel cards offer extra bonus points if you purchase flights or hotels, so if you're taking a trip for the holidays then they may be your best payment choice.
Now that you know cash back cards are the most popular option, you may want to consider jumping on the bandwagon and using these cards yourself so you can get paid back for what you buy.
The key is to make sure the card you choose is well matched to the spending you're doing. So always look for a rewards card that offers bonus cash back, points, or miles on the things you'll be spending the most on during the festive season. Our picks for the best rewards cards or best travel cards can help you to find one that's right for you.
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.
But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases into 2022, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.
That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.
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