Cash Back Credit Cards from Our Partners
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Check out these amazing offers on Cash Back credit cards
The credit cards listed below for 2014 really pay off by offering you cash back on your purchases. Many of these offers are only available for a limited time, so take advantage of them right now.
Cash back credit cards are card offers that promise a percentage of your purchase back in the form of a cash back rebate. So are they a good deal, or just a marketing gimmick? The answer is in the details--both of the cards themselves, and how you plan to use them.
Before you fill out a credit card application for a cash back rewards offer, there are several things you should know about the details of the offer. Plus, you need to have a game plan for how you will use the card, and how you will redeem your benefits.
Armed with the right information, you can make cash back rewards credit cards work to your advantage.
How to choose a cash back rewards credit card offer
When you start to research cash back rewards credit card offers, here are the basic elements you should identify:
- Cash back formula. Usually, cash back is calculated as a percentage of purchases, so you need to determine this percentage for comparison purposes.
- Category limitations. On some cards, the cash back offer may only apply to certain categories of purchases (e.g., food, travel, etc.) These categories may change throughout the year. You need to know about these limitations, and how they match up with your likely purchases. Some offer additional rewards for shopping in every day places, like grocery, drug, or department stores.
- Cash bonus at signup. Some offers have the added incentive of a special cash-back bonus when you first get the card.
- Interest rate. You'll want to know this not only for comparison with the rates on other cash back offers, but also for comparison with rates on cards that don't offer any rewards - these are generally the credit cards with the lowest interest (ongoing) of any cards. Interest rates on cash back cards are generally higher than those on non-rewards cards.
- Procedures for redeeming rewards. Some cash back rewards cards may require you to follow specific procedures to claim your rebates; it's important to know going in how complicated these procedures are.
- Annual fees. Obviously, the value of your cash back is diminished if you have to pay an annual fee for the card, so you need to know what fees may be associated with different offers.
Making cash back rewards credit cards work for you
Once you know the basic terms of a cash back rewards offer, you can determine whether it is a deal that would work to your advantage. Start with some recent credit card purchase history, and use that to make a projection of your likely activity with the new card. Based on that, determine how much you are likely to receive in cash back rewards from different offers, after deducting annual fees.
Next, you need to compare this cash back estimate to your probable interest charges. There are two scenarios for this:
- If you routinely pay off your credit card balance with each statement, you probably won't have to worry about interest charges. Therefore, the credit card offer that yields the biggest cash back estimate wins--and so do you.
- If you often carry a credit card balance, the comparison becomes more complicated. You have to figure out what the interest charges on those balances would be, and offset your cash rewards against those interest charges. This will help you make sure that you aren't offsetting your cash rewards by paying a higher interest rate. The added benefit of cash rewards might not be worth it if you'll be looking for a credit card balance transfer 12 months from now.
Know the potential downside
What are some of the potential drawbacks of cash back rewards cards? The main one is that if you tend to carry credit card debt over a long period of time, you are more likely to find the cash back on new purchases overwhelmed by the interest charges on your credit balance. In this situation, you'd be better off with a non-rewards card at a lower interest rate.
Also, if the cash back incentive induces you to purchase more than you normally would, you aren't really gaining anything.
Finally, if the procedures for claiming your cash back are too bothersome for you to deal with, then there is no point in signing up for a cash back rewards card in the first place.
Taking the next step
Once you find the deal that's best for you, go ahead and fill out the credit card application. If you are approved, make sure you got the terms you thought you were signing up for--otherwise, you have to recalculate the costs and benefits of the card.
When you've obtained the card you want, make a note on your calendar of any deadlines for applying to get your cash back, as well as noting when any category limitations kick in.
Finally, once a year, compare the cash back rewards you actually received with any money you might have saved with lower interest on a non-rewards card. This will make sure that the cash back is really rewarding you.
By using your card at places that you frequent anyway, you can earn additional rebates. Most cash cards give a reward percentage on purchases of about 1% on all expenditures. Maximize your benefit by using your card everywhere you can instead of paying cash, then paying off the balance each month so you don't accrue interest. If you're diligent and value cash rewards, a cash back credit card can very well be the best credit card for you.
- 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 14 months--then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
- Over 5,000 cardmembers rated 4.8 out of 5 stars* and now Discover "Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Credit Card Companies in a Tie" by J.D. Power+
- 5% cash back for online shopping and department store purchases on up to $1,500 - Oct. through Dec. 2014 when you sign up for 5%*. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*
- No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
- Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
- 100% U.S.- based customer service--anytime, day and night
- *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
Other Cash Back Credit Card Offers to Consider
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