Five Tips to Ensure Credit Card Holders Feel Jolly January 1
Consumers Look to Credit Cards as Holiday Shopping Increases In Phoenix and Across Nation 

Tempe, Ariz. – Dec. 5, 2013 – Holiday spending is projected to increase more than 3.9 percent in Phoenix and across the nation, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Shoppers are already on track to hit these numbers, with 141 million Americans shopping Thanksgiving weekend and 131 million estimated on Cyber Monday. The NRF estimates shoppers will spend a total of $737 this holiday season. With an average of $407 spent during Thanksgiving weekend, consumers have approximately $330 left to spend.

But where are consumers turning to finance the increase? TruWest Credit Union– with nine locations in metro Phoenix – reports that credit card applications and spend are on the rise. While this is good news for financial institutions issuing credit cards, TruWest wants to make consumers fully aware of the impact today’s credit card purchases can have on the future.

“While our VISA credit cards offer one of the best rates and rewards programs in the industry, our primary focus remains the fiscal health of our members,” explains TruWest VISA Manager Anthony Carpenter. “As more consumers use credit cards this holiday shopping season, we want them to truly understand their options, so there won’t be any surprises with their bill January 1.”

Whether shopping at Scottsdale Fashion Square, Tempe Marketplace or the new Phoenix Premium Outlets, TruWest has prepared five tips that will help Valley residents responsibly fund their holiday shopping. 

Five Credit Card Tips for Responsible Holiday Shopping

  1. Verify Your Limit. In the frenzy of finding the best deal, many consumers forget their credit limit and damage their credit score unnecessarily. Verify your credit limit and balance for each card frequently so you don’t unintentionally trigger a lower credit score or higher rates. Being aware of balances also helps deter unauthorized transactions.
  2. Use One Card. If possible, put all holiday expenses on one card to make it easier to track and stay on budget. First verify that your budget doesn’t exceed your card limit. Then if possible, use a rewards card like TruWest’s VISA Signature card so your holiday purchases will provide perks all year long. Or, if you know you’ll be keeping a balance, TruWest’s lowest-rate non-rewards VISA Platinum card is the answer.
  3. Choose a Low Rate. We spend differently during the holidays. Consumers who normally pay off their credit card bill the first of the month may need to carry a balance for a couple months. Be aware of your credit card’s policies, as a higher rate card may create unwelcome surprises in January.
  4. Choose the Right Holiday Loan. If you are looking for a new credit card, now is a great time to secure great rates and take out a “holiday loan.” However, be sure to choose a card like any of the TruWest VISA credit cards with 0 percent introductory APR (annual percentage rate) on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months. Then pay off the card before December 2014 for a free holiday loan.
  5. Avoid Store Cards. It is tempting upon checkout to say, “Yes” when offered “an additional 15 percent if you open a customer loyalty credit card with us today.” However, once you get past that initial discount, consumers typically encounter high interest rates and low credit lines. Instead, using something like TruWest’s VISA Signature or Platinum cards, with one of the lowest interest rates in the nation, nets significant savings in the long run.

“We hope to share credit card education and resources for our community, to eliminate part of the stress that invariably comes each holiday season,” adds Mr. Carpenter. “While each consumer shops differently, our three VISA credit cards with low interest rates and other money-saving benefits ensure every member can still shop responsibly.”

To learn about TruWest’s VISA Platinum, VISA Platinum Points or VISA Signature cards, or to access free credit card resources and calculators, visit TruWest.org/VISA or call 1 (855) TRUWEST (855-878-9378).

About TruWest Credit Union
TruWest Credit Union is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., and operates as a cooperative to provide its membership with a lifetime of quality financial services and a culture of caring for its members, employees and communities. TruWest is a strong and sound financial institution with more than 60,000 members and assets totaling more than $791 million. TruWest Credit Union has 13 branches – nine in the metro Phoenix area and four in Austin, Texas.

Jill Collins, TruWest Credit Union, marketingrequests@truwest.org