Holiday shopping incentives for credit cards can be tempting

Credit card associations like Visa and MasterCard, as well as retailers like Macy's and TJ Maxx, are making it possible for you to receive even more gifts this holiday season through the use of promotions that offer the chance to win money or gift cards when shopping with plastic.

The holiday sweepstakes offered by credit card associations and retailers often give you a chance to win with every swipe of your credit card or debit card before the end of the year.  The aim is to get you to spend more on your credit card.

Generally, consumers will need to register online, through the mail or at a store location to be registered for the holiday contest.  By supplying personal information, such as your name and address, you become eligible to take part in the sweepstakes.  Additionally, the credit card association or store may use the information to contact you with marketing material.

If you are tempted by holiday contests offered by Visa, MasterCard or a favorite store but don't want to be placed on a marketing list, it is a good idea to read the fine print associated with the contest.

When registering, you will almost always need to provide your name, e-mail address, date of birth and what state you live in.  The credit card association or retailer will use your name and e-mail address to contact you.  Often, sweepstakes will only be open to U.S. citizens of a certain age.  If you want to limit how much information the company has about you, only fill in the required information, which is usually denoted with an asterisk.

To find out if and how the credit card association or retailer plans to use your personal information, you can read the privacy policy, which usually has a link at the bottom of the contest website.  The privacy policy should lay out if your contact information will be shared with another company, which may be listed at a "third party," as well as how you can opt out of having your information shared.

If the sweepstakes happens to be run by an outside company besides the credit card association or retailer, you will also be subject to that company's privacy policy.

Should you get lucky and win the holiday promotion, the credit card association or retailer will let the U.S. government know what you have won, so that you can pay the necessary taxes.  Also, most companies have the right to use some of your personal information to publicize the contest.


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Updated: 03-26-2019