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5 Weird Ways You can Use Your Credit Card


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Credit cards date back to the early 1900s, but they were all essentially store cards: You could only use them locally at that particular business. These days, you can buy everything from bottled water to a car on a credit card. But here are five weird credit card uses that probably never occurred to you…

1. Pay a speeding ticket

Many local courts will gladly accept credit cards to pay speeding tickets – as I recently discovered to my dismay.

Some will tack on a small “convenience fee,” since many government entities are exempt from laws forbidding companies from charging the same.  This is a win for everyone, since courts receive timely payment without worrying about checks bouncing or being lost in the mail, and citizens can quickly receive confirmation they’ve paid their fine – and can move on with their lives.

Find out: Are You Missing Out on These 7 Credit Card Benefits

2. Pay the babysitter

You don’t have to scrounge for cash at the end of the night out to pay your babysitter when you use sites such as Care.com and SittingAround. Not only will these services help you find a sitter, they also take payment online using your credit card. On the other hand, savvy sitters can simply hook up a Square payment device to their smartphones and accepts cards at your house.

3. Pay a parking meter

On the parking meters in Denver, Minneapolis, and other cities, right above the vertical coin slot is a horizontal slot for your credit card. Somehow, these meters are able to authenticate the transactions in just a few seconds, so you no longer have to search under your floor mats for loose change or risk getting a ticket.

Find out: 8 Credit Card Offers That Could Backfire Later

4. Pay for stuff at flea and farmer’s markets

Farmers markets are all the rage now, and flea markets never go out of style. In the past, merchants were hampered by their inability to accept only cash, but now they’ve modernized and use Square and other forms of mobile payment systems. One elegant solution is the Square Stand, which turns an iPad into a de facto cash register.

5. Buy marijuana

Both Colorado and Washington State have legalized recreational marijuana sales, and several other jurisdictions have legalized medical marijuana in recent years. Since pot sales remain illegal under federal law, merchants have a hard time opening bank accounts to handle their cash – but many are still able to accept credit cards from their customers.

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