The credit card market is a $100 billion industry. In 2021, many of the major players will stop offering new cards and change their practice to maximize returns on users with high-volume spending habits while minimizing fees for those who are less active. Discover how savvy consumers can use this strategy to your advantage before it’s too late!
The “top no annual fee credit cards” is a strategy that allows users to have the best card for their needs.
(Affiliate links may be included in some of the links below.)
Credit cards play a crucial role in your personal finances. They are tools that you should take use of.
The issue is that credit cards are simple to abuse. To get the most out of credit cards, you’ll need a smart credit card strategy.
I’ve streamlined my credit card utilization since I began managing my personal finances. I’ve eliminated the annual charge on all of my credit cards, and I’ve now eliminated all of my credit card costs! That’s correct. Even for foreign currencies, I do not pay any fees with credit cards. My credit card approach is lot better now than it was before, since I didn’t aware I was overpaying!
Furthermore, I have increased the amount of cashback I get for each of my transactions. Now I may earn up to 1% cashback on my purchases! On the other side, in order to maximize my fees and rewards, I had to switch from one credit card to three. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
I’m going to offer my full credit card approach in this post. This will assist you in reducing expenses and increasing your cashback! Indeed, if you are prepared to go the additional mile, credit cards may help you save money while also providing a tiny source of revenue.
Strategy involving credit cards
When it comes to credit cards, I look for two things:
- lowering the fees
- optimizing the profit (the cashback or bonus).
Contrary to popular belief, Switzerland has a plethora of free credit cards. Unfortunately, the majority of individuals continue to pay their credit cards. In most nations, free credit cards should be available. Furthermore, several of these credit cards provide attractive cashback. They may even provide better cashback than paid cards.
It is critical to get a no-fee credit card. For example, if your card costs 100 CHF a year and gives you 0.5 percent cashback, you’d have to spend 20’000 CHF to break even. The majority of individuals do not use their credit cards to make large purchases! Instead of 0 CHF, a free card with 0.2 percent cashback would have rewarded you 40 CHF! You should always choose a free credit card unless you spend a lot on your credit cards, which you definitely shouldn’t.
The yearly fee isn’t the only cost that could be reduced. For example, most credit cards charge a hefty cost for currency conversion! This overseas charge must also be taken care of! Withdrawals made with a credit card are virtually always costly.
The biggest potential cashback is the second thing you want from your credit cards.
The cashback in Switzerland is abysmal. However, cashback of several percentage points is available in several countries. First and foremost, you want some genuine money as a bonus. You don’t want the money if it can only be used at a store you never go to. It should ideally be genuine cashback applied to your credit card bills. It might also be cashback at a store you frequent.
The most effective credit card strategy
Now that we’ve established the objectives, we can move on to my credit card approach.
1. SwissCard Credit Card for Domestic Purchases
I use two separate credit cards for domestic transactions in Switzerland. Let’s take a look at the first card.
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I’m attempting to use my Swisscard American Express credit card by default. In 2018, Swisscard launched their new credit cards.
This credit card offers 1% reward on domestic purchases made in-store or online and is completely free. This is a fantastic card for Switzerland. However, it does have one disadvantage: it is an American Express card rather than a Visa or MasterCard. I have nothing against American Express cards. However, they are not as well-known as the other two major ones. Nonetheless, I’ve discovered that more stores than I expected accept Amex cards.
I’ve been trying to think of ways to utilize this card since I first got it. I’ll be able to use it to fill up my vehicle with gas. I can also use it at Migros to make all of my purchases. It’s frequently accepted at larger stores. Several internet websites likewise accept it without hesitation.
Unfortunately, I am unable to use it at Lidl, which is my principal grocery store. In Germany, though, Lidl began taking American Express automobiles. As a result, it’s possible that it’ll make its way to Switzerland. I’ll be able to utilize it in Aligro, where we get the majority of our meat.
I can use American Express for roughly 40% of my transactions on average.
You may use the affiliate code WC40XKEXB to purchase this card if you go ahead and do so. You’ll get 40 CHF for joining up, and I’ll get 40 CHF as well!
I prepared a review of the Swisscard Amex for additional information on this card.
2. Cumulus Credit Card for Domestic Purchases
Switzerland’s best MasterCard
The Cumulus MasterCard is a no-fee credit card with a reward rate of 0.3 percent. This is the greatest Swiss credit card right now.
I use my Cumulus MasterCard if I can’t use my American Express card. This card offers 0.33 percent payback, which comes in the form of unique currency that can only be used at Migros. But for us, it’s OK since we still shop at Migros rather than Lidl for a few items.
This is sufficient for us to use our cashback. We get 2% cashback when we purchase at Migros, which is unusual. With my Cumulus, I always get 1% cashback at Migros, plus I can use my Amex on top of that! This is a decent amount of money back.
Migros, on the other hand, is around 50% more costly than Lidl on average. So it’s not a good idea to conduct all of your shopping there simply to save 2%.
To summarize, I use two credit cards for domestic transactions. I use my Swisscard Amex with a 1% cashback whenever I can. When I can’t, I use my Cumulus MasterCard, which has a 0.33 percent interest rate. I’m getting acclimated to this system, and I’ve figured out which stores accept Amex and which don’t.
If you’re interested in learning more about my Cumulus credit card, I’ve written a full article on it.
3. Charges for foreign currencies
I concentrated on domestic purchases in Swiss Francs in the preceding section.
I now make a lot of purchases in different currencies and countries. Many individuals in Switzerland do as well. My credit card bills are paid in foreign currencies around 40% of the time. I’ll need to use another card with low currency conversion costs for this, and having a backup card is an important element of any credit card plan.
For purchases made in foreign currencies, all credit cards accessible in Switzerland impose a significant fee. They might charge depending on the nation as well as the currency. For example, my credit card levies a fee for any purchases made outside of Switzerland, even if they are made in Swiss Francs.
Getting rid of foreign currency conversion fees would undoubtedly save you the most money in your credit approach. On each overseas transaction, I save 2.5 percent when compared to my basic card, the Amex! It goes well beyond the cashback I receive on domestic purchases.
4. Purchases made outside of the United States – Neon or Revolut!
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If you often pay with your card in another nation, you may want to consider Neon. Neon is a free digital bank in Switzerland. They also provide free international purchases using their MasterCard.
You may save a lot of money if you use Neon instead of your other cards. The majority of individuals are unaware that when they buy anything in another currency, they pay a significant price.
The disadvantage of Neon in this situation is that it is a debit card. In the vast majority of circumstances, it will enough. However, in a few instances, it will be denied. A credit card is often required when renting a vehicle or making hotel reservations. It’s because they create a reserve for the money rather than withdrawing it. With debit cards, however, this is not feasible. One solution is to demand upfront payment, in which case debit cards should suffice. However, this isn’t always feasible.
If this isn’t an option, you’ll have to use an American Express or a Mastercard. This will not be free, but it will function.
I’ve written a comprehensive review of the Neon Bank for further details.
If you prefer, you may make free overseas transactions using a Revolut debit card. Although I prefer Neon, there are times when Revolut is useful. I produced an essay comparing Neon and Revolut to assist you decide between the two cards.
What could be better than that?
My current credit card method is working out well for me, and it’s just going better. However, there are always areas in which I could improve.
First and first, the cashback incentive offered by my credit cards is rather minimal. My American Express card is worth 1%, while my MasterCard is worth 0.33 percent. In addition, I get no reward on foreign transactions. This cashback should be increased. For the time being, I have the finest credit cards available in Switzerland. However, I am always searching for methods to enhance my approach.
Another thing I’d want to improve is my American Express card use. There are a lot of locations where I can’t use my Amex, which is a shame since the bonus is bigger than my MasterCard. My total benefit would be bigger if I could use my Amex anywhere.
The next point is linked to the preceding ones. I’d want to cut down on the amount of cards I use. I wouldn’t need my Mastercard if I could always use my Amex. I wouldn’t need the other two cards if my Revolut card got enough cashback. For the time being, I’ll need three credit cards. But, maybe, I’ll be able to come up with a better solution in the future.
Do you have any suggestions on how I might better my credit card strategy?
The most straightforward credit card approach
Some of you may be wondering whether we might simplify things. Many individuals prefer not to carry three cards in their wallet. That’s something I absolutely understand.
The most straightforward credit card approach is to use fewer cards. You’ll have to give up some cashback in this situation. However, unless you use your credit cards often, this is unlikely to have a significant impact on your budget.
You have a few options if you want the easiest credit card approach.
- You’ll need a card with free foreign exchange if you ever purchase anything in a foreign currency. In this scenario, Neon is the way to go. It will be completely free, and you will be able to use it everywhere in Switzerland, as well as internationally and online. You may use Neon instead of an actual credit card if you don’t need one (for hotels, cards, etc.).
- If you need a credit card but never purchase anything in foreign currency, the Cumulus Mastercard is the way to go. This will be free, and you will be eligible for a cash refund. And in Switzerland, this card is widely recognized.
- You’ll have to choose between Neon and the Cumulus Mastercard if you require a credit card and want to pay in foreign currency. However, you’d only need one: Neon for international currency and Cumulus for rents and local purchases.
The most basic credit card method is highly effective. The most crucial aspect is to save money on fees. The payback is a nice addition, however it’s just a little enhancement.
7 Credit Card Pointers
Credit cards may be a very useful tool in managing your personal finances. However, if you don’t utilize them appropriately, they may be harmful.
It is for this reason that some individuals believe we should avoid using credit cards. If you can’t keep track of your credit card use, you may be better off without them. However, if we utilize them wisely, they may assist you in achieving Financial Independence.
1. Do not owe money on a credit card.
First and foremost, you should never carry a credit card debt.
This is the worst form of debt you can have, right after borrowing money from a loan shark! This kind of loan has a minimum interest rate of 10% and a maximum interest rate of 20%. If you start having credit card debt, you will lose a lot of money!
2. Do not use your credit card to make a cash withdrawal.
Also, you should never use your credit card to withdraw cash.
The majority of Swiss credit cards feature significant cash withdrawal fees. Credit cards, on the other hand, are not designed for cash withdrawals. For example, the Swisscard Amex has a 3.95 percent withdrawal charge with a minimum of 5 CHF. Of However, if you’re in a pinch and this is your only option, paying the interest isn’t such a horrible idea. However, you should only use it in the event of a genuine emergency!
3. Make sure you’re using the right card at all times.
You should also double-check that you’re using the right card for the job.
I now have three credit cards in my credit card strategy. I have to consider which card to use for each of my purchases, whether in a shop or online. It’s crucial to get the right credit card since a 2.5 percent charge on foreign currency purchases would wipe out all of your credit card’s incentives.
4. Be wary of hidden costs.
All of the cards I’m using are completely free. That does not, however, imply that everything is free with such cards. I’ve previously discussed credit card interest and withdrawal fees. However, many credit cards offer additional services that must be paid for.
For example, if you desire a printed statement, all free credit cards will charge you. Some credit cards, for example, may charge you if you need to phone them. You must use extreme caution while working with the card.
5. Don’t be fooled by cashback offers.
There is one more subtle aspect of cashback that you should be aware of. Cashback is often used as an excuse to purchase more costly items.
When I purchase at Migros, for example, I earn 2% payback via my Amex and Cumulus MasterCard reward programs. Many goods, however, are more costly there. Overall, Migros is expected to be at least 40% more costly than Lidl for food shopping. In comparison, the additional 1% cashback benefit is little. Cashback should only be used as a bonus when purchasing inexpensive items.
You should never purchase anything just so you can earn some additional money afterwards. If you lose 100 CHF and then gain 1 CHF, you have still lost 99 CHF! With your 100 CHF, you’ll be considerably better off!
6. Protect your credit cards.
Consider your credit cards to be sensitive information.
Always be cautious while entering your PIN. Do not use your credit card if you sense something isn’t right! If you suspect your PIN has been compromised, replace it right away or ban the card! If you misplace the card, report it as stolen right away to get it blocked!
7. The firms that provide credit cards are not your buddies.
Overall, you must realize that these credit card firms are just interested on making money!
They aren’t simply giving out free cards because they are nice! The majority of individuals make several errors using their credit cards. These folks are being exploited by credit card firms! Make sure you don’t make any errors with your credit cards, and you’ll have a valuable tool in your wallet!
The goal of an optimized credit card strategy is to eliminate costs and maximize rewards from transactions. I’ll need three distinct cards to accomplish these objectives:
I never pay a charge using my credit card technique, and I get 1% cashback on my Amex and 0.33 percent on my MasterCard.
If you’re accustomed to American credit cards, you may be wondering why I didn’t include trip hacking. Travel hacking using credit cards is indeed illegal in Switzerland. Swiss and Miles, for example, provide a number of possibilities. Their bonus, on the other hand, isn’t really appealing, and their credit cards aren’t even free! If you spend a lot of money, these cards may be beneficial. However, the purpose of this site is not to spend a lot of money.
Finally, keep in mind that, when used wisely, credit cards are tremendous instruments. They may be highly damaging to your personal money if you don’t use them appropriately. Keep in mind that you should never carry a credit card balance. You’re better off not having a credit card at all if you’re going to carry a debt!
It’s also doable if you want to keep things simple. Remember to only use free cards to avoid paying foreign exchange costs.
At the end of the day, it’s all about optimization. For example, having the greatest credit cards will not make a significant impact on your path to financial freedom. It is beneficial to do so. However, there are other things you may do to save money that will be more significant.
How do you handle credit cards? Do you have any advice to offer?
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The author of thepoorswiss.com is Baptiste Wicht. He recognized he was sliding into the lifestyle inflation trap in 2017. He made the decision to reduce his spending while increasing his income. This blog chronicles his journey and discoveries. In 2019, he plans to save more than half of his salary. He set a goal for himself to achieve financial independence. Here’s where you may send a message to Mr. The Poor Swiss.
The “credit cards with no annual fee and cash back” is a strategy that can be used in the future. The strategy will help you maximize your returns.
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