There have never been more options when it comes to choosing a new credit or debit card. Besides the important factors of fees and interest rates, many consumers make their decisions based on what the card can offer in terms of rewards. Whether it's trips, movie tickets or merchandise from retailers, consumers now have a wide range of options when it comes to deciding how they’d like to be rewarded. In fact, 74 percent of Scotiabank credit card holders say they opted for a specific credit card because of the rewards it offers.

For many consumers, an attractive option is using a credit card with cashback rewards. These cards provide users with a percentage of their purchase back in cash, which gives them the freedom to use that reward on anything they choose—not just a flight or a car rental or a night out—making it one of the most popular types of rewards-based credit cards. In a recent Scotiabank survey, 64 percent of cashback credit card users said they view their annual cash back as a nice little bonus at the end of the year.

Whether it’s to earn cash back, save up for a dream vacation or earn rewards to put towards a new vehicle, consumers are always looking for ways to make the most of their rewards programs. Here are three ways to help maximize your credit AND debit rewards to try to ensure you’re getting the most out of what you’re carrying in your wallet.

Focus.

Don’t just apply for the first card you see. If you don’t love to travel, why carry around a card rewarding you in travel points? Find a card with a loyalty program that will reward you in a way that matters most to you. Once you’ve found it, its probably a good idea to stick with that rewards program in order to maximize your earnings. To earn even more, consider pairing a credit card with a debit card using the same loyalty program. With 82 per cent of Canadians holding both a credit card and a debit card, earning rewards for both payment types can make a big difference. For example, if you’re interested in cash rewards, choose a cashback credit card like the Scotia Momentum VISA Card and then open a Scotiabank Momentum Chequing Account, which also offers cashback on debit purchases. This way, no matter which form of payment you’re using for your everyday purchases and other spending, you’re always earning rewards.

Consolidate.

When it comes to maximizing rewards, consolidate your spending with a focus on one credit card and one debit card in one loyalty program, and you’ll be able to earn more rewards, faster. Spreading your everyday purchases over multiple loyalty programs will likely dilute your earnings, taking you longer to reach the rewards you’d like. Not only will this method help you earn rewards quicker, it will make tracking your spending even easier with one credit card bill to pay every month.

Accelerate.

Get to know the most effective ways to use your card. Some cards provide increased rewards rates based on category. For example, the Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card rewards its users for everyday purchases, like gas and groceries by offering a higher cashback rate in those categories. Other cards, like the Scotiabank SCENE VISA credit card and the Scotiabank SCENE debit card give users five times the points for every dollar spent at Cineplex. Research and take advantage of the categories that will push you towards your rewards goals quicker.

Taking these few small steps could help get you closer to reaching your rewards goals more quickly. What are you going to do with your rewards?