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Person typing in credit card number on laptop

Credit cards—and credit card bills—are just a reality of the holiday season. We get it! Which is why we’re here to help you use and pay off your credit cards as wisely as possible.

Try these four tips:

Tip #1: Stick with your holiday budget.

The holiday season can be tough on your budget. There are so many last–minute shopping deals and activities that you hate to pass up and so much pressure to spend, spend, spend your way to holiday happiness. Resist the temptation to overindulge now and your stress level will be so much lower in January!

Tip #2: Resist the temptation to open and run up a bunch of store credit card bills.

We’ve all been there: Ready to buy when the clerk whispers those magic words “Sign up for our credit card and get a discount.” Sure, you might get some fun perks for having a store card—especially the thrill of that immediate discount—but opt in for too many and you could end up with a wallet full of temptation. Plus, many store cards have very high interest rates if you don’t pay them off each month and any rewards or benefits you earn can only be used at that store.

Instead, put all your purchases on a credit card that offers rewards (May we suggest the Summit Visa Platinum Rewards card?*). You’ll have a tidy bundle of benefits at the end of the shopping season and only one bill to pay.

Tip #3: Get the most out of your general credit card.

Some credit cards offered have special deals or extra points if you use them for certain shopping categories at certain times. For instance, if you have a Summit Visa Platinum Rewards card, you’ll get DOUBLE POINTS on every department store purchase you make, now through December. And you’ll typically be able to use those rewards for a wide variety of things. For instance, with the Summit card you can choose from cash back, airline tickets, vacations, meals, merchandise and much more.

Tip #4: Use a Home Equity Line of Credit to pay off your holiday credit card bills.

Know you won’t be able to pay off your credit card bills in full come January? You have two options: months of expensive interest payments or the ease and savings of paying it off with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

HELOCs are easy to apply for- apply online or call Summit and ask to speak with one of our lending experts about how you can apply for a HELOC. After you’ve finished your holiday shopping, just add up the total you spent, transfer the amount from your HELOC to your checking account and you’ll be able to pay your credit card in full. Your interest rate will typically be lower than what you’d pay on credit card debt and most people will get tax advantages too (check with your tax adviser for further information regarding the deductibility of interest and charges).

Or consider consolidating your monthly payments into one by transferring your balances to Summit. Our low Visa balance transfer rate will help you kick your debt and keep your dollars to put toward those holiday expenses.

Now, get out there and own your credit card spending! Happy holiday-making from Summit!

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