How Your Credit Card Can Help You Save Money on Everyday Purchases

Photo illustration to accompany article on how to save money on everyday purchases by using your credit card Getty Images

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Saving money may be one of the last things you think about when you think of credit cards.

You may see cards as simply a way to pay your bills and buy things. Maybe you also take advantage of some travel credits and the opportunity to earn points or airline miles along the way. And if you have a cashback credit card, you likely already know that you’re earning a little bit of money back on virtually every purchase you make.

But some cards already in your wallet may feature another attractive perk: automatic discounts at the places you shop most. 

Major banks and credit-card issuers — such as American Express, Chase and Bank of America — have partnership programs with retailers all over the world. They leverage those relationships into offers for their cardholders, which are essentially a way for you to save money or earn points on certain purchases. 

Targeted credit-card offers, as they’re called, often work like this: Spend a certain amount of money and get a certain amount of money back, or spend a certain amount of money and earn bonus points you can later use for travel.

All you have to do is regularly check the targeted offers on your credit-card accounts and add to your card the ones that are relevant to your spending habits. When you purchase the right item or service using that card, the offer will be applied automatically.

These offers can be a great way to save a little cash on the things you were going to buy anyway. We don’t recommend using them as an incentive to buy things you can’t afford or don’t need, especially given this uncertain economy.

How to Take Advantage of Targeted Offers

American Express has the most offers, but other issuers have deals, too.

To find out whether your credit card has offers, sign in to your issuer’s website or shopping portal.

If you have an American Express card, you’ll want to sign into your account, and if you’re using your Web browser, scroll down to the bottom of the page to where it says “Amex Offers & Benefits.” If you’re using the app, log in and click on the “Offers” icon toward the right.

From there, you’ll be able to scroll through the offers and find any you might be interested in. Keep in mind that the offers change frequently and can vary by card, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for any changes.

For example, I’m currently being targeted for an offer at Showtime. If I spend $8 or more, I’ll get $5 up to three times. This offer can really come in handy as many of us are still spending a significant amount of time at home. 

Considering the fact that Showtime memberships start at $10.99, you’d essentially be able to save about half off your membership for three months.

I’m also seeing an offer for popular workout streaming service P.volve. If I spend $100 or more on their services, I’ll get $20 back, essentially a 20% off coupon. This is worth looking into if you’ve been taking advantage of online workouts.

Again, offers vary from person to person and card to card and change regularly. To add an offer to your credit card, tap or click the plus sign—and be sure to use the card you added the offer to at checkout when you go to purchase.

Chase credit (and debit) cardholders can also take advantage of Chase Offers, a very similar program. To view your Chase offers on a Web browser, sign into your account and look for “Chase Offers” on the right-hand side, and then click “See all offers.” On the app, scroll down to the bottom until you see “Chase Offers” and then tap “See all offers.”

From Chase, I’m eligible to get 10% off any purchase at Rite Aid (with a $6 back maximum). 

I’m also seeing an offer to get 10% back at Starbucks ($3 back maximum).

Last but not least, if you have a Bank of America credit or debit card, or a Merrill Lynch credit card, you might be eligible to score some deals through the issuer’s BankAmeriDeals program.

To see your deals, you’ll want to go to the BankAmeriDeals page online or the Eligible Credit/Debit cards section on the Bank of America app. From here, you’ll be able to see if any of your cards are available to get the deals and savings.

Taking advantage of credit-card offers is a simple and easy way to save money on purchases you might be making anyway. They’re available across a handful of popular credit cards, so it’s worth looking into to see if you’re eligible. 

At the end of the day, every little bit helps.