Your wallet has a secret. Buried in your billfold, bound in a money clip or stuffed in a pocket on your phone case are untapped benefits on credit and debit cards that could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Here are five money hacks hiding in plain sight.
1. Use a savings app
Build savings even as you spend money by linking your credit and debit cards to an app like Acorns or Digit. Acorns automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and then adds the difference to your savings. Digit analyzes your spending and income and sets aside a little of your extra money for savings.
How do your expenses stack up? The average American spends $700 on the holidays
2. Maximize your card benefits
Credit cards often come with valuable but easy-to-overlook benefits. According to a J.D. Power study, only 36% of cardholders understand the supplementary benefits on their cards.
“Consumers generally are probably not very knowledgeable about all of the features of their credit cards,” says John Cabell, director of wealth and lending management at J.D. Power and a lead researcher on the study. Money-saving card benefits “may not be clearly communicated or communicated proactively by the issuers.”
Among such benefits:
Travel perks. Cabell points to airline cards that offer free checked bags and airport lounge access, as well as cards that charge no foreign transaction fees. Several cards reimburse the application fee for TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
Cellphone insurance. Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Mastercard and other credit card companies offer cellphone coverage with certain cards when you pay your bill with the card.
Automatic credits. Some cards automatically reimburse you for travel expenses, ride shares, meal delivery or purchases at select merchants, up to a monthly or annual limit.