Guide to Metal Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

Guide to Metal Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

Pulling a metal credit card out of your wallet was once considered a status symbol. Today, however, more card issuers have added credit card metal options to their card offerings for customers who prefer a sleek — and heavier — plastic alternative.

But beyond being metal instead of plastic, you may wonder what is a metal credit card exactly and are they better? We delve into the similarities and differences between plastic and metal credit cards, as well as how to get a metal credit card if you’re looking to add some heft to your wallet.

What Is a Metal Credit Card?

A metal credit card functions much in the same way as its plastic cousin. You can swipe a metal card at a point-of-sale terminal, or if the card is chip- or RFID-enabled, you can insert or tap it for payment.

Additionally, cardholders who have a metal credit card but prefer to use their digital wallets, can use their digital metal card the same way as other credit cards in their digital wallet. To use a credit card in this manner, simply tap your device toward the card reader to activate the transaction.

A key distinction with metal credit cards, however, is the material that the physical card is made of. They’re typically composed of some type of hard, durable metal.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

A Brief History of Metal Credit Cards

The credit card issuer to spark buzz with its metal credit card was American Express. In 1999, it launched the Centurion Card — colloquially called the Black Card — which was the first metal card of the time.

The innovative, invite-only card was offered to the highest spenders of AmEx’s Platinum Card. Its exclusivity, coveted benefits, and unique credit card metal material set an impressive bar for the luxury credit card market moving forward.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

What Are Metal Credit Cards Made Of?

The transition from traditional, lightweight plastic to various metals is why some credit cards are heavy. Specific materials that are used for metal credit cards vary across card issuers, with many companies keeping information about their credit card metal materials under lock and key.

As an example, the metal used for the Apple Card is titanium, while some cards use stainless steel, metal alloys, 24 karat gold, palladium and other metals, as well as hybrid cards that have a metal exterior with a plastic core.

Why Metal Credit Cards Are Popular

Since AmEx launched its metal Centurion Card, metal cards have oozed a sense of luxury and prestige. This premium metal card phenomenon went mainstream when Chase announced its metal Sapphire Reserve credit card in 2016.

The heavier material of metal credit cards has a noticeable in-hand feel that some cardholders prefer. Metal credit cards are also generally associated with elite status. For some, the perk of carrying a card that feels and looks special can be attractive.

Differences Between Metal and Plastic Credit Cards

Although metal credit cards have grown in popularity in the market, traditional credit cards made out of plastic are still commonly available. Below are the main differences to know between a metal versus plastic card:

Metal Credit Card

Plastic Credit Card

Made of various metal materials Commonly made of PVC plastic
Weighs more (10.5 grams and up) Weighs less (approximately 5 grams)
Some have a higher barrier of entry Can be more accessible to consumers
Highly durable Less durable
May need to mail back to the issuer for safe disposal Can dispose of using commercial-grade tools

Similarities Between Metal and Plastic Credit Cards

As mentioned earlier, how a credit card works doesn’t vary whether it’s metal or plastic. You can add both metal and plastic cards into a digital wallet for convenience and use them in the same way to make purchases.

Further, both options offer the same bank-level security features you’ve come to expect from a credit card since encryption isn’t dependent on the material of the card. Rather, it’s contained within other features of the card, like the magnetic strip or chip-and-PIN technology.

Finally, despite the noticeable added weight of a metal credit card, their dimensions are roughly the same as those of a plastic credit card. Both a metal and plastic credit card fit into a standard wallet’s card slot, although metal cards might be slightly thicker.

How to Get a Metal Credit Card

Various card companies offer credit card products that issue a metal card, if you qualify. A good credit card rule of thumb to find the right card — whether metal or otherwise — is to compare various features, such as annual fees, rewards programs, sign-up bonus incentives and minimum required spend, and other card benefits.

Here are some examples of where to get a metal credit card and its specific card product name(s):

•   Amazon: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

•   American Express: Gold Card, Platinum Card, Centurion Card

•   Apple: Apple Card

•   Capital One: Savor, Venture X

•   Chase: Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve

•   Citi: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

•   HSBC: Elite World Elite Mastercard

•   JP Morgan: Reserve Credit Card

•   MasterCard: Gold Card, Titanium Card, Black Card

•   U.S. Bank: Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

Factors to Consider Before Getting a Metal Credit Card

Flashing credit card metal when dining out might seem intriguing, but the bells and whistles of a premium metal card will also cost you. And, at the end of the day, a credit card’s material doesn’t affect what a credit card is and how it serves you.

Generally, credit card companies offer a metal credit card for its premium card products that charge steep annual fees. For example, for the privilege of using a swanky metal card, you might have to pay an annual fee of $95, with some cards charging up to a $550 annual fee.

If that’s within your budget, take a closer look at the benefits and incentives that the metal card offers, compared to non-metal cards. Whichever card you get next should serve your needs, whether that’s preference for high bonus reward categories in your top monthly spending categories or unique travel benefits and protections.

Also, consider that getting rid of your metal card takes a bit more effort than a standard plastic card. Whether you close your account or you’re issued a replacement for an expired card, you’ll usually have to mail your old metal card to the issuer for disposal. They’ll issue you a dedicated envelope to do so, but it’s an extra step that doesn’t exist with a plastic card.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Pros and Cons of Metal Credit Cards

As you can see, there are both upsides and downsides to metal credit cards. Here are the pros and cons to take into consideration before you get a metal credit card:

Pros

Cons

Sleek style Slightly bulkier in wallet
Less prone to damage May need to mail in for disposal
Typically offers premium card benefits Typically has a high annual fee
Associated with luxury Novelty is fading

How to Destroy a Metal Credit Card

If your existing metal credit card has passed its credit card expiration date, you won’t be able to destroy it using a standard pair of scissors, nor can you put it in a shredder that could typically handle your plastic cards.

To effectively destroy a metal credit card, you must either:

1.    Return it to your card issuer by mail. Your issuer will provide you with a prepaid mailing envelope.

2.    Drop it off at a local branch. If your issuer has a brick-and-mortar location, it might be able to dispose of it or mail it to the correct department.

Since the card is made of metal, it requires industrial-grade tools to dispose of securely. Additionally, shredding it yourself might result in injury. Consider relinquishing the metal card to your issuer for safe disposal.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

Metal credit cards might add panache to your credit card rotation, but their aesthetic appeal shouldn’t be the only reason to seek one out. A plastic card that has a generous rewards program might be more valuable in the long run than a metal credit card that has limited perks. Always consider your own credit card habits, the types of purchases you make, and the benefits that are most valuable to you when shopping for a new credit card.

For example, if you value a rewards program, a cash-back rewards credit card like the SoFi credit card might be the right fit for you.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Can anyone get a metal credit card?

Everyday consumers who meet a card issuer’s lending criteria can be eligible for a metal credit card. Unlike decades prior when metal credit cards were accessible to a select few by invitation only, today more card issuers offer their own metal credit card.

Are metal credit cards safe?

Yes, metal credit cards are safe to use. They have the same security features as their plastic credit card counterparts. The main difference is that the credit card metal material is more durable.

Can I request a metal credit card?

No, generally, a metal credit card is not a feature you can choose. Instead, metal credit cards are offered for specific credit card products that you can apply for.

Why are some metal credit cards heavy?

Credit card metal materials vary depending on the card. Some card companies use materials like stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, or a blended mix of metals to create the card. Different metals have different weights, some of which may feel heavier.

Are metal credit cards generally better?

No, metal credit cards aren’t better than plastic cards in terms of how the card functions or its features. Metal credit cards do have an edge when it comes to durability, however.


Photo credit: iStock/VioletaStoimenova

1 When you elect to redeem rewards points as cash deposited into your SoFi Checking and Savings account, as a statement credit to a SoFi Credit Card account, as fractional shares into your SoFi Invest account, or as a payment toward your SoFi Personal Loan or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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Why Credit Cards Get Declined: 7 Common Reasons and Solutions

Why Credit Cards Get Declined: 7 Common Reasons and Solutions

There are several reasons why your credit card might get declined when trying to make a purchase. For instance, it could happen due to insufficient funds or because you’ve maxed out your card. Ultimately, the reason why your card is being declined depends on the particulars of your situation.

Awkward? Frustrating? Embarrassing? You bet. And in some instances, having your card get declined — especially when you have money — can be worrisome and costly. Let’s take a look at seven common reasons why your credit card may get declined and what you can do if it happens to you.

What Does It Mean for Your Credit Card to Be Declined?

When a credit card is declined, something went awry, and your transaction wasn’t processed. In turn, you won’t be able to make a purchase with that card. That’s because the credit card issuer did not provide authorization on your account — an essential component to what a credit card is and how credit card transactions function.

Sometimes, your credit card is declined due to what turns out to be an easy fix — for instance, a simple blunder like punching in the wrong ZIP code or a chip malfunction. In other cases, the reason might be something more complex and require steps to resolve before you can resume using a credit card.

7 Reasons Why Your Credit Card May Have Been Declined

Standing at the register wondering, ‘Why is my card being declined?’ Knowing the reason can help prevent the situation from happening again and ensure that future transactions go through smoothly.

1. You’ve Met Your Credit Limit

If you’ve maxed out your card — meaning you reached your credit limit — the issuer might block further purchases from going through.

Your credit limit is how much credit a card issuer extends you on a particular card. This amount varies from cardholder to cardholder, and it hinges on a handful of financial factors. You can find your credit limit on your credit card statement as well as in your cardholder agreement.

You’re more likely to reach your upper credit limit if you’re carrying an existing credit card balance. Beyond causing your credit card to get declined maxing out on your card — or getting close to it — can ding your credit. That’s because it increases your credit utilization rate, which is a factor in determining your credit score. It’s generally recommended to keep your credit usage below 30%.

What to do: Pay down your balance. You can also request a higher credit limit, but this could open the door to racking up more debt.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

2. Your Transaction Was Flagged as Suspicious

Wondering ‘why is my card getting declined when I have money?’ In this scenario, it could be due to something entirely out of your control. For instance, the card issuer might block a transaction from going through to protect you from fraudulent activity.

Fishy purchases might include a transaction for a big-ticket item or a first-time purchase from a website or app. Or, it may raise a red flag to the card issuer if you use a card after a long dormant, or if there’s a cascade of purchases made in different locations within a short period of time.

What to do: Often, the card issuer will contact you to let you know that there’s been suspicious activity on your card and that your card has been temporarily blocked. You’ll be asked to review the last few transactions to make sure they’re indeed legitimate and that they were made by you. You can also reach out to the credit card company to see why your card has been blocked.

3. There’s a Large Transaction Pending

A merchant might request a credit card hold on your account if you make a large-ticket purchase. That’s because the merchant wants to ensure it will get paid what it’s owed. If there’s a hold on your card, that means that a portion of your credit limit is set aside, which could prevent further transactions from being authorized.

Holds are also common for transactions where the grand total might not be determined when you make an initial payment — think hotels, resort fees, purchases on cruise ships, and car rentals. The hold is usually lifted a few days after a transaction is cleared, if not sooner.

What to do: You can clear a hold by either reaching out to your credit card issuer or the merchant and requesting that it’s lifted. While there are no guarantees, it’s worth asking.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

4. You Provided Incorrect Payment Details

Punching in incorrect payment details — think your billing address, card number, credit card expiration date, or security code — can result in your card not going through. And when you’re trying to use your card at the gas pump or at a brick-and-mortar store, entering the wrong ZIP code on the keypad can also trigger a “card declined” message.

What to do: Double-check all information before attempting to resubmit payment. Or, if you’re making an in-store purchase, consider using a mobile payment platform.

5. You’ve Defaulted on Payment

One of the significant consequences of a credit card late payment is that your card issuer might block you from making further purchases. A single late payment usually won’t trigger this result, but if you’re late for several months in a row, you might default on your card. In turn, your transactions might not go through.

Not only does falling behind on your payments impact your ability to tap into your card to pay for things, but it also dings your credit. Plus, it can trigger late fees.

What to do: Make a credit card payment as soon as you can. Once your payment is posted, your card should be unblocked and you can start using it again.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

6. Your Credit Card Is Deactivated or Expired

Cards usually expire three to five years from its issue date, after which point you can no longer use the card. Because the period until expiration varies, don’t forget to glance at the expiration date on a credit card if it’s been some time since it’s gotten some use.

You also won’t be able to use a credit card that’s been idle for a long stint or deactivated entirely. How long it takes for your card to be deactivated due to a lack of use will vary.

What to do: If you’re juggling multiple credit cards, remember to routinely check the expiration dates. You might also consider keeping a log of when each card expires, or when you last used it.

7. Your Purchase Was Attempted While Traveling

If a purchase was made in Prague and you live in Pittsburgh, this could alert the card issuer of potentially suspicious activity. In turn, a temporary freeze might be placed on your account.

What to do: Set a travel notification before you depart. Some card companies make it easy for you to set a notification on its mobile app. Otherwise, give the issuer a call to give them a heads-up of your travel dates and planned destinations.

What to Do if Your Credit Card Is Declined

The steps you’ll need to take to get to the bottom of a credit card getting declined largely depends on why it happened. In general, however, here are some moves you should make if your card was declined.

Contact the Credit Card Company

Reaching out to the credit card company can help you figure out exactly why your card was declined. If it was due to reasons such as suspicious activity or because you were traveling, you can verify the transactions. In turn, your hold can get lifted.

Verify Account Details

Incorrect information stored on retailer accounts, payment platforms, and your digital wallet could result in a failed transaction. Check to make sure the details on the cards on file are accurate.

Make a Card Payment

If you’re behind on your payments, make a credit card minimum payment as soon as possible. Once the payment goes through, the card issuer will likely unblock your card.

Preventing Your Credit Card From Being Declined

To avoid a declined credit card in the first place, mind these steps:

•   Set card alerts. Signing up for email or text alerts for your credit card transactions will help you stay on the lookout for suspicious activity. You can get notifications when purchases are made over a certain threshold or for any in-store, online, or over-the-phone purchases.

•   Keep tabs on your card balances. Monitor your spending and check how much of a balance you have on your cards. Stay below your credit limit to remain in the clear. As discussed previously, maxing out your cards — or nearing the threshold — will put you in danger of a declined credit card.

•   Stay on top of your payments. Make it a priority to stay on top of paying off your cards. Pay at least the minimum amount required by the credit card payment due date. Consider putting your card payments on autopay, which will help you ensure you make your payments on time. On-time payments will also help boost your credit score and avoid late or returned payment fees.

•   Set travel notifications. Some credit cards have a travel notification feature on their app. Before you depart, reach out to your card issuer to let them know when and where you’ll be traveling.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

Having your credit card declined while trying to pay for something can feel frustrating. It’s important to figure out why your card is being declined, whether it’s due to late payment or an expired card. From there, you’ll know what steps to take to prevent it from happening again and ensure that you can use your card when you need it.

Curious to learn what your credit card options are?

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Can a credit card be unblocked?

Yes, you can unblock a credit card. How you’ll do so depends on the reason it was blocked in the first place. As such, you’ll first want to get to the bottom of why your credit card was blocked. Then, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to release the block. For example, if your card was blocked due to suspicious activity, you’ll need to call the card issuer and confirm you made the last few purchases.

How long does it take to unblock a credit card?

It depends. If it’s a temporary block, your card can get unblocked immediately. But in other instances, it can take a couple days or even a couple weeks to unblock a credit card.

How can I check the status of my card?

You can check the status of your card by logging onto your account via a computer or mobile app. You can also check its status by calling the customer service number listed on the back of the credit card and inquiring.

How long does it take for a declined transaction to come back?

It depends on the card issuer and the reason why the transaction was declined. In some cases, it can take a few days. And in other cases, it can take longer.


Photo credit: iStock/bernardbodo

1 When you elect to redeem rewards points as cash deposited into your SoFi Checking and Savings account, as a statement credit to a SoFi Credit Card account, as fractional shares into your SoFi Invest account, or as a payment toward your SoFi Personal Loan or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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A Guide to How a Credit Score Simulator Works

A Guide to How a Credit Score Simulator Works

A credit score simulator is an online tool that can help you see how certain behaviors and decisions might impact your credit score in the future. It might take your existing credit history into account and how certain actions could affect your credit score.

For example, perhaps you open a new credit card or have an account sent to collections. A credit score simulator would take these marks into consideration and help you estimate the impact they may have on your credit score.

What Is a Credit Score Simulator?

A credit score simulator is an online, interactive tool that can help you assess how certain decisions or events will affect your credit score. Because everyone has a unique credit history, these tools can only help you to estimate the impact of changes to your credit score, rather than making this determination for certain.

Nevertheless, credit simulators can be useful, especially if you are working to improve your credit. There are many actions you could take that may affect your credit score — here are just a few examples:

•   Financing a home or car

•   Using a balance transfer credit card to consolidate your debt

•   Closing a credit card

•   Declaring bankruptcy

These are just a handful of the ways your credit score could rise or fall; there are many more examples. With so many possibilities, it can be difficult to predict how changes to your credit history will affect your credit score. Once you know what a credit card is, it quickly becomes apparent how a credit score simulator can help.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

How Does a Credit Score Simulator Work?

After gaining an understanding of how credit cards work, you can start to understand how a credit simulator works. Each credit score simulator is different, but there are some commonalities in how they work.

Some start with your current credit score provided by a credit reporting bureau, then let you see how some of the changes mentioned previously would affect your score if you were to make them. While there’s no guarantee they will be completely accurate, they should give you an idea of the potential impact on your credit score.

Other credit score simulators might guide you through several questions about your credit profile. The result estimates your current credit score based on your responses. For example, the myFICO credit score estimator asks you about things like how many credit cards you have, how long ago you opened your first card, and whether you’ve missed a payment.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

How Your Credit Score Is Calculated

Credit score simulators generally use popular credit scoring models to estimate your current or future credit score. For instance, they might use FICO® Score 8 or VantageScore 3.0. These models use certain credit factors to calculate your score.

While each credit scoring model is different, certain behaviors tend to have a positive influence on your credit score, regardless of the model. Typically, some of the factors affecting credit score are:

•   Payment history: This is usually one of the most important factors in the calculation of your credit score. To avoid a negative impact on your credit score, you’ll want to avoid being more than 30 days late on any credit card payments.

•   Credit utilization ratio: This ratio is simply the total outstanding balance on all of your credit cards divided by their total credit limit. One of the credit card rules is that you should aim to keep this ratio below 30%.

•   Derogatory marks: These are items like bankruptcies, tax liens, and collections. It’s best to avoid these altogether if possible, especially since they can stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years.

•   Credit age: Creditors like to see that you have a long history of responsible credit use. Thus, your credit score may be slightly more favorable if your oldest credit card is decades old. The same holds true for loans.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

What a Credit Simulator Can Do

A credit score simulator can help estimate either your current credit score or what your credit score might be in the future. The result is that they can help you better understand how different actions will increase or decrease your score.

Thus, they can help you prioritize which actions to take. Should you pay off your credit cards quickly, or should you focus more on your loans for now? Credit score simulators can help you answer these questions when the answer isn’t so obvious.

What a Credit Simulator Cannot Do

The main thing that credit simulators cannot do is tell you exactly what credit score you should expect to have at a given point in the future. There are simply too many variables at play to know with absolute certainty what your score will be.

For one, your credit card issuer might use a different credit scoring model. Another possibility is that there are other changes to your credit profile that could impact your score. Perhaps you finish paying off a credit card six months from now, but an emergency suddenly arises that results in you taking out a personal loan.

The fact that there are so many possible scenarios is why we say credit simulators can only help you estimate your score rather than tell you exactly what it will be.

When It Makes Sense to Use a Credit Simulator

It makes sense to use a credit simulator in certain situations. For example, suppose you plan to finance the purchase of a new car. That will certainly have some impact on your credit, but the effect will vary depending on your credit history. A credit simulator can help you estimate what that impact will be.

Credit simulators can also help you decide which actions to prioritize if you have a bad credit score. Many of these possible actions might improve your score, but chances are, some will help more than others. Over time, you can gain a better understanding of which kinds of actions tend to have the largest impact.

Other Tools to Monitor Your Financial Health

Credit simulators are not the only thing that can help you monitor your financial health. Here are some other tools to consider:

•   Credit score monitoring: While credit simulators can help you estimate how changes to your credit report will affect your score, credit monitoring tools give you credit score updates on an ongoing basis. They can also give you a breakdown of your credit factors and how your score has changed over time.

•   Budgeting tools: Budgeting tools are useful because they often let you sync all of your bank accounts and credit cards in one dashboard. You can then see all of your balances in real-time.

•   Identity theft protection: If your identity is stolen, it can have a major impact on your credit and your finances as a whole. Thus, it’s not a bad idea to have this protection just in case.

What Makes a Good Credit Score?

It’s tough to overstate the importance of having good credit. Nevertheless, what constitutes good credit will vary from person to person. The general idea is you must show creditors that you are a responsible borrower and that you aren’t going to default on your debt (in this case, your credit card).

This is why things like late payments and high credit utilization can drastically lower your credit score. Late payments suggest you may not be able to reliably make your payments. And a high credit utilization suggests you may have a higher risk of default as you are using a high percentage of the credit available to you.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

Credit score simulators are one tool that can help you assess how different behaviors can affect your credit score. Because they are just simulators, they may not be completely accurate. Still, they can give you an idea of what to expect and help you reach your financial pals.

One credit card that can help you reach your financial goals is the SoFi Credit Card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Are the changes made by a credit score simulator guaranteed?

In short, no. Credit scores are complex and other factors could affect your score in the meantime. Nevertheless, credit simulators can help you better understand how various changes may affect your credit score.

How long do credit score changes usually last?

How long changes to your credit score last depends on reporting to credit bureaus. Each bureau has its own schedule, but credit card updates usually happen every 30 to 45 days. However, some changes — such as a bankruptcy declaration — can remain on your credit report for as long as 10 years.

How accurate is a credit score simulator?

Credit score simulators should be relatively good at estimating credit score changes based on the information provided or available to them at any given moment. However, credit reports can change frequently, and simulators can’t usually predict what will happen with your credit a day, a week, or a month from now.


Photo credit: iStock/millann

1 When you elect to redeem rewards points as cash deposited into your SoFi Checking and Savings account, as a statement credit to a SoFi Credit Card account, as fractional shares into your SoFi Invest account, or as a payment toward your SoFi Personal Loan or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. If you elect to redeem points for cash deposited into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account or fractional shares in your SoFi Active Invest account, or as a payment to your SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. If you elect to redeem points as a statement credit to your SoFi Credit Card account, your points will redeem at a rate of 0.5 cents per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Leveraging Credit Cards to Build Wealth

Leveraging Credit Cards to Build Wealth

If you have strong credit, leveraging your credit cards as part of your wealth-building strategy might be possible. Whether you’re looking to use them toward shrewd investments or through tactically accumulating rewards, your credit card can be a powerful tool.

However, before you worry about how to leverage credit to make money, it’s crucial that you understand the high risk involved in leveraging your credit line as investment capital. If you don’t have cash flow ready to immediately repay large credit card purchases, you’re putting yourself in danger of getting buried in debt.

Strategies for Leveraging Credit Cards

Depending on your risk tolerance, how much cash you have on hand for repayment, and your financial goals, you have a few options for how to leverage credit cards. Here’s a look at some of the ways you could leverage your credit to help pave your path toward building financial freedom.

Upgrading Your Property

If you’re looking for new investment options outside of your online trading platform, you could leverage credit cards toward your existing home. Using your card as a cash flow tool to fund renovations and upgrades can help you increase your property’s value.

According to Realtor.com, homeowners who update their kitchen can typically expect a return on investment (ROI) of about 83%. The approximate ROI on a bathroom remodel is 66%. Your ROI will depend on many factors, such as the quality of materials and appliances used, but in general, updating your home can improve its value.

Utilizing 0% Credit Promotions

If you’re wondering how to use good credit to make money, another option is a 0% promotional offer. A 0% APR credit card promotion lets you leverage your credit line at no additional cost for a limited period of time. The temporary promotion is typically reserved for those with excellent credit and is available for a short time frame, such as from six months to 18 months.

You can use your card toward other wealth-building strategies and repay your purchases within the promotional period to avoid interest charges. The main caveat is ensuring that you can realistically afford to repay your card charges within the promotional period. If you don’t, some cards charge deferred interest on any remaining balance after the promotion expires.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Turning Your Credit Card Debt Into Good Debt

Credit cards can be used as a tool to increase your credit profile. A higher credit score earns you access to lower, more competitive interest rates and a higher borrowing limit when you need a loan in the future.

Practicing sound borrowing habits on a credit card, like maintaining an on-time payment history, keeping your credit utilization ratio low, and not opening too many new accounts in a short period are some factors that can positively impact your score. Keep in mind that the better your credit, the better the terms you may receive to then use toward investments.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Flipping Items for More Cash

Retail arbitrage is one way people leverage credit cards to increase their wealth. As an example, let’s say you purchased a vintage Windsor chair from a thrift store for $20 using your credit card. If you successfully sell it on Etsy or eBay for $250 before interest accrues on the purchase, you’ve effectively leveraged your credit to earn a $230 profit.

Before you leverage your credit card in this way, do your due diligence by researching high-value items that can be flipped in a short period of time. Having inventory that’s taking up space in the corner because it’s not a hot item, or too niche, might result in getting hit with interest charges before a profit is made.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Making Use of Available Discounts

Another way to leverage credit cards is by using a credit card to save money on planned purchases. Many rewards and travel credit cards offer discounted rates on vacation packages or trip costs like flights and accommodations.

Taking advantage of discounts that already come with your card is another way to save money. You can then reallocate this discretionary cash flow toward more lucrative investments.

Maximizing Big Welcome Bonuses

Some credit cards offer lucrative sign-up bonuses for consumers who open a new account. For example, a credit card might offer 60,000 bonus points (that’s valued at $750) to new cardholders who make a minimum of $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account.

Keep in mind that this option is likely best for cardholders who have a large purchase coming up, or already use a card for everyday expenses that will allow them to hit the minimum purchase requirement.

If you meet the requirements of the sign-up bonus offer, you can use your earned rewards toward a statement credit, travel, and more, effectively freeing up cash flow that otherwise would have come out of your pocket.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

Racking Up Cash Rewards

You can also strategically leverage credit card rewards. If your card offers cash-back rewards, use that card to cover your day-to-day expenses rather than your debit card. That way, you can earn money back on each dollar you spend.

For example, you can use a cash-back rewards card for groceries, school supplies, gas, dining, entertainment, vacations, and more. Depending on your rewards program, you could accumulate a sizable amount of cash back that could end up covering a portion of your monthly statement balance or even a trip. Or, you could get your rewards as cash that you then put into the market, allowing you to effectively invest with credit card rewards.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Investing in Yourself

Buying stocks with a credit card may seem like the more obvious investment opportunity, but using your credit card to enhance your skills or education can actually be a powerful way to leverage your credit. For example, learning additional coding language might make you a more competitive candidate for a higher paying job.

In this situation, using your credit card toward online courses could potentially boost your long-term wealth and career opportunities.

The Takeaway

Responsible credit card habits are key to leveraging credit cards to build your wealth. If you can confidently repay your credit card charges in full every month, a credit card can earn you rewards while leveraging your credit toward investment opportunities.

When leveraging credit cards to build wealth, it’s important to avoid credit card fees and take advantage of any perks offered.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

What does it mean to leverage your credit card?

Leveraging your credit card to increase your wealth means using your card as a cash flow tool. It’s best when used by cardholders who practice responsible borrowing habits, such as paying off monthly balances in full to avoid finance charges.

How do you make money leveraging credit cards?

Different ways to leverage credit cards include using your card toward a home remodel that increases your home value, or capitalizing on credit card rewards on purchases you already make.

Is leveraging credit a good idea?

Leveraging your credit can be a good strategy if you maintain positive financial habits, like making on-time payments and paying off your full credit card balance each month. If you don’t have the cash to pay back your purchases, this strategy can quickly backfire through accumulated debt and interest charges.

What is credit card arbitrage?

Credit card arbitrage is a strategy that involves borrowing credit from your card, and then using those funds toward a higher-interest investment vehicle. This is commonly seen using promotional 0% APR credit cards. After you’ve earned dividends from your investment during the temporary no-interest period, you’d repay your credit card balance, and keep the investment profit.

How do I turn my credit into cash?

One option to turn your credit into cash, without costly cash advance APRs, is if you have a friend who needs to make a large purchase and has cash in hand. You can offer to make the purchase using your credit card in exchange for the cash, which you can then put toward the investment purpose of your choice. Similarly, you could purchase gift cards using your credit card for the balance you need. Just make sure you can realistically repay your credit card statement at the end of the month.


Photo credit: iStock/Delmaine Donson

1 When you elect to redeem rewards points as cash deposited into your SoFi Checking and Savings account, as a statement credit to a SoFi Credit Card account, as fractional shares into your SoFi Invest account, or as a payment toward your SoFi Personal Loan or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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Paying a Credit Card Early: What to Know

Paying a Credit Card Early: What to Know

Making on-time payments is not only financially responsible, but it can help you with building and maintaining a high credit score. But what about paying your credit card early? Far from being bad, paying your credit card before the due date, or even making extra payments each month, might offer some benefits — including a positive impact on your credit score.

To decide if you should pay your credit card early, consider the benefits and weigh whether it’s financially worth it for you to pay your credit card bill before the statement closing date.

What It Means to Pay Your Credit Card Early

In a nutshell, paying your credit card early means you’re making your monthly payment before your due date. Or, it could mean putting extra payments toward your credit card before the billing cycle ends.

For instance, let’s say you check your credit card transactions online a few days before your billing cycle ends. You decide you want to pay about half of the balance right then, so you make a bank transfer through your online account, constituting an early credit card payment. Then, once you received your credit card bill after the grace period, you’d pay off the remaining balance.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Understanding Your Credit Card Billing Cycle

Your credit card due date falls on the same date every month. Once you reach the end of your billing cycle, your credit card issuer will send you a statement letting you know the total amount that’s due, the minimum amount you’ll need to pay, and the credit card payment due date.

From the point your billing cycle ends up until your payment due date, you’re in what’s known as a grace period. During the grace period, you won’t be charged interest, assuming you’re paying off your balance in full by the due date of each billing cycle. This is a big perk, given how credit card debt is hard to pay off.

To determine the length of your credit card’s billing cycle, you can check your cardholder agreement or contact your issuer. You can also calculate the number of days between the start and end dates of the billing cycle — you should be able to find that on your credit card statement. In general, however, billing cycles last around 28 to 30 days.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Potential Benefits of Paying Your Credit Card Early

If you’re wondering, ‘Is it bad to pay your credit card early?,’ there’s no need to worry.

In most cases, the decision to pay off your credit card bill early is beneficial to your credit.

Reduce Interest Charges

Credit card companies tend to charge their cardholders interest when they carry a balance from month to month. If you pay off your credit card early — especially if you pay off the balance in full before the end of the billing cycle — that means you could pay less in interest (or even no interest at all).

Every little bit can help, because the higher your credit card balance, the more interest you could end up paying. If you’re unsure of how much paying off your credit card early can help, consider using a credit card payoff calculator to help you determine your potential savings.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Reduce Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is the percentage of your total available revolving credit you’re using. A lower credit utilization means that you’re not using as much credit, which could signal to creditors that you’re financially stable enough that you don’t need to rely on credit. In other words, your credit score could go up when your credit utilization is low, and the opposite could happen when it’s high — it’s generally recommended to keep it below 30%.

By making an extra credit card payment earlier than when your current billing cycle ends, you may be able to lower your credit utilization ratio. Even if you’re making a payment before the due date, you could still lower your credit utilization which can positively impact your credit scores.

To calculate your current credit utilization, add up all of your current credit card balances and divide that amount by your total credit limit. For example, if you have three credit cards each with a limit of $5,000 — $15,000 in total — and respective balances of $1,500, $800, and $2,000 from using your credit cards. In this example, your credit utilization would be around 28%.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Avoid Late Fees

Paying your credit card early — even if you’re not paying off your balance in full — means you’ll reduce your chances of getting charged a late payment fee. However, if you have a balance remaining from the previous billing cycle, note that early payments could go toward those previous charges first.

To be clear, you need to pay at least the credit card minimum payment stated on your credit card balance to avoid late fees. For instance, if you make extra payments but still have a balance leftover by the end of the billing cycle, your credit card could mail a credit card statement with the remaining balance due, plus a minimum amount you’re required to pay. In this case, you’d need to pay that amount before the due date to avoid paying late fees.

To make sure you’re still making on-time payments, consider scheduling payments, setting up autopay, or putting reminders on your calendar to help yourself remember to pay your credit card bill.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

When Is the Best Time to Pay a Credit Card Bill?

There isn’t a best time to pay a credit card bill, but it’s not a good idea to pay your credit card bill late — meaning after your due date has already come and gone.

There are a number of consequences of credit card late payment. Paying late means that you’ll get hit with late charges, and it could have a negative impact on your credit score. Depending on how late you are with paying your bill, your credit card issuer could also enact a penalty APR, which is higher than your regular one.

The Takeaway

Paying your credit card early can offer plenty of benefits. This includes potentially lowering your credit utilization, avoiding late charges, and reducing your interest charges.

To help you save more money when using your credit card, consider using a credit card that offers a competitive interest rate and allows you to earn rewards.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Will paying my credit card bill early affect my credit?

Paying your credit card bill early can help to boost your credit score because on-time payments are one of the major factors that affect your FICO score. Plus, it could lower your credit utilization ratio, another major factor that goes into calculating credit scores.

Is it ever bad to pay my credit card early?

It’s not bad to pay your credit card early since it shows that you’re a responsible cardholder. As long as you make at least the minimum payment, you won’t get hit with late fees or other types of consequences, such as a negative mark on your credit report.

What happens if I pay the credit card bill before it is billed?

If you pay your credit card bill before the end of your billing cycle, the payment will either go toward the previous month’s statement — if you carry a balance — or toward the current balance. In any case, paying a credit card early will lower your statement total and could boost your credit by lowering your credit utilization ratio.

Can I pay my credit card the same day I use it?

Yes, you can. However, you may want to wait until the payment has been posted to make sure the amount you’re putting toward your bill is correct.


Photo credit: iStock/andresr

1 When you elect to redeem rewards points as cash deposited into your SoFi Checking and Savings account, as a statement credit to a SoFi Credit Card account, as fractional shares into your SoFi Invest account, or as a payment toward your SoFi Personal Loan or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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