As you begin checking names off your list, it’s also a great time to make sure you’re using your credit card as effectively as possible this holiday season. You may find yourself swiping your card or using it for online shopping more than usual this time of year. By using your credit card for your holiday purchases, you can help safeguard your money, while potentially getting rewarded. Here are some tips on how to use your credit card to keep this holiday season merry and bright:

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  1. Set a Budget: Make a list of who you will buying gifts for this holiday season. Set a spending limit for each one. Being mindful of a budget will help you not overspend. This may also help to avoid impulsive purchases that tend to be over your spending limit. Try a 24-hour rule on purchases before you pay with your card.
  2. Credit Utilization: Be mindful not to max out your credit cards. This can damage your credit score due to increasing the utilization percentage of your revolving lines of credit. Consider setting an account alert that will notify you when you have reached a certain balance. It’s easy to manage your card account alerts through Arvest CardManager! You can set alerts to remind you when your payment is due, if your card balance goes above a certain dollar amount or when your remaining credit limit hits a certain dollar amount. These are all great ways to help manage your credit utilization during the holiday spending season.
  3. Rewards Programs: After reviewing where you’re going to spend the most of your money on holiday expenses, see if there are any bonus rewards on those purchases. Earning rewards now can save you some cash for future expenses in the Spring and Fall.
  4. Make Payments: It’s important to pay off or make consistent payments on your credit card each month. If you can pay off the entire bill sooner, rather than later, you won’t accumulate interest charges or late fees.
  5. Tips to Avoid Fraud: Jingle bells ring out holiday fraud! There are things that you can do to help avoid credit card fraud this holiday season.
  • Monitor Your Purchases: Take advantage of online card management systems that allow you to view authorizations and purchases at your fingertips, generally in near real-time. You’ll be able to look up transactions and track every time you utilize your card. The holidays are a busy time, making it easier for thieves to take advantage of you. Monitoring your credit card account regularly is crucial part of card management, especially during holiday shopping time. If you see a transaction you do not recognize, contact your credit card provider immediately.
  • Only use secure websites when shopping online. Look for the “https:” in front of the URL, not “http:” You can also register your Visa card for Visa® Click to Pay to make your online card payments simple and secure.
  • Use your contactless card when possible to help protect your card information at point of sale.
  • Using public Wi-Fi networks for online purchases should be avoided. These networks are very risky for others accessing your personal information.
  • Utilize account notifications like Visa® Purchase Alerts to alert you when a purchase has been made on your card to monitor for potential fraud.

The holiday season can mean more spending and it’s important to watch out for potential fraud while preparing to use your credit as effectively as possible this holiday season.