In an age where financial transactions are becoming increasingly digitized, credit cards rank among one of the most versatile payment methods. In fact, in 2023, credit cards account for 27% of the total point-of-sale transaction value worldwide and 22% of all ecommerce transactions.

Aside from simply facilitating purchases, credit cards offer a ton of other benefits that extend beyond payment transactions. From cash back rewards to travel perks, credit cards have become synonymous with convenience, security, and financial flexibility. 

In this post, we delve into recently published survey results to understand the biggest credit card benefits and why people opt to pay with plastic. Here are the top 13 benefits of using credit cards and what they entail.

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Why do people use credit cards: top 13 credit card benefits

1. Cash back rewards (42%)

Perhaps the most sought-after credit card benefit, cash back rewards offer a percentage of your purchases back in cash, providing a tangible return on your spending.

2. Points (36%)

Rewards points also rank among the top credit card benefits. Many card providers offer points that can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or even cash back, providing flexibility in how you use your rewards.

3. Discounts or rewards (34%)

Beyond cash back, discounts or rewards may include perks like complimentary insurance, extended warranty protection, roadside assistance, travel insurance, or access to exclusive events.

4. Store discounts (30%)

Some credit cards partner with specific retailers to offer perks when you shop with them. This drives loyalty and repeat businesses for the stores and helps credit card users save on everyday purchases. Such perks can come in the form of discounts, bonus rewards, or even free gifts.

5. Ease of payments in stores and online (28%)

Another one of the biggest benefits of using a credit card is the convenience it offers when paying for purchases both in-store and online, with added security features like fraud protection and purchase protection.

6. 0% money transfers (26%)

Certain credit cards allow you to transfer balances from other cards or loans at a 0% interest rate for a limited time, helping you save on interest charges.

7. Introductory bonuses (24%)

Many credit cards entice new cardholders with introductory bonuses like extra rewards points, statement credit, and cash back. Note that these often come with strings attached, such as meeting certain spending requirements within the first few months of opening an account.

8. 0% APR for the first year (18%)

Credit cards with a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) offer a period of interest-free financing on purchases and balance transfers, providing breathing room for managing expenses.

9. Airline miles (17%)

Travel rewards credit cards often offer airline miles. For frequent flyers, this is one of the biggest benefits of credit cards. Accrued miles can be redeemed for a host of perks like seat upgrades, free seat selections, free onboard meals, or even flights.

10. Airline benefits (16%)

In addition to earning miles, some credit cards provide airline-specific benefits like priority boarding, free checked bags, or access to airport lounges, enhancing your travel experience.

11. Carryover debt at low interest rates (15%)

Cards with low ongoing APRs offer the flexibility to carry a balance from month to month at a lower interest rate. These have the potential to save you money on interest charges.

12. Statement credits (14%)

Statement credits can reduce out-of-pocket costs by offsetting specific purchases, such as travel expenses, dining purchases, or subscription services.

13. Exclusive cardholder events (10%)

Certain credit cards offer access to exclusive events, such as concerts, sporting events, or VIP experiences.

Benefits of using a credit card: check your perks

While this list highlights some of the top credit card benefits, it is by no means exhaustive, and not all cards offer every benefit listed. It's best to meticulously review the specific benefits of each card, which are contingent on the issuer and card type. By familiarizing yourself with and capitalizing on these perks, you can optimize the utility of your credit card and stretch your spending potential.

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