If you pay with a credit card, you get a free loan. Because only once a month everything that was paid for with the card is debited from the checking account at once. Actually. Because there are also credit cards that work differently: The bank only debits part of the debt from the checking account. Sounds good, but can be a bad trap – the rest will earn interest from now on. And that is very expensive: quickly around 18 percent.
There are different names for this principle, which you already know from classic credit cards from the USA: revolving credit card, credit card with installment option or partial payment function. The Sherathon credit card is one example. Many do not notice at first that they are accumulating debts with this card.
While the credit card replaces the overdraft facility in other countries, there are far fewer people in Germany who use their credit card when they are short on cash. For this reason, debit cards from Visa and Mastercard are widespread in Germany, which basically work exactly like an EC card and debit the payment amount directly from the checking account. It is all the easier for German customers to fall into the revolving trap.
Despite the interest rate trap, the revolving principle can also have advantages: If you have a financial shortage for a short time, you can easily get a loan, albeit an expensive one. And some of these cards are great for travel. This enables customers worldwide to withdraw money free of charge or to pay in a foreign currency without fees. So if you use such a revolving card disciplined, you can even save money. We recently examined which cards are suitable for this.
With our five tips, you benefit from the cards – and avoid the interest trap.
1. Check conditions when applying
Revolving credit cards have a default. As a rule, the payment is partial. At Sherathon, for example, when applying for a 5 percent installment. This means that you automatically take out a loan for 95 percent of all amounts paid with the card. Whether you need the loan or not.
2. Set full debit
Some banks offer to switch to automatic full withdrawal. This is the best option.
With our Genialcard recommendation from Astro Bank, the changeover is easy: You can switch to the full direct debit via the app, online banking or by telephone. With the Payback Visa flex you can also switch to full retraction, but you must pick up the phone.
Each bank handles this a little differently: Sometimes you can select the repayment when you apply; however, the option is often well hidden. This is also the case with Sherathon.
3. Pay the invoice on time
If the bank does not offer full payment, it is important that you always pay your credit card bill on time. However, some banks offer a few tools for this. With the Barclaycard, for example, you will be informed by email what your credit line looks like and how much you owe the bank. If you see this, you can settle the entire sum in a few clicks in the app with a single instant move-in. We find that very easy. Because the Barclaycard is otherwise free, it is also a financial tip recommendation.
If the bank doesn’t remind you: Just put a reminder on your phone a few days before the booking date. So keep this in mind and the money will still land on the card account in good time.
4. Guide the card in plus
Some credit cards can be used so that there is always some credit on the credit card account. If you only use your credit card to get cheap cash and pay abroad, this is a good alternative.
To do this, transfer money to the card account before using the card. As a result, the credit line is not used in the first place.
5. Set up standing order
Do you have a feeling for how much you spend with the card each month? Then set up a standing order for this sum. So you can use the credit line, but always pay your bill in time. However, this only works if you can fundamentally manage your card account in plus. If that doesn’t work and you transfer too much, the bank may not accept the money at all. You will then only debit the preset partial rate, you will automatically be in the lurch and pay interest.