How To Choose a Cash Back Credit Card

By: Timothy Parker

There is no absence of credit cards to choose from but how do you decide which card is right for you? You could choose from the many offers that come in the mail, appear in your e-mail box or you find online but you're going to have to go hunting for some of the best deals. Here are a few pointers to help you choose:

Start with the basics - What is the interest rate? Is there an annual fee? What are the fees and what are their policies regarding late payments and how they relate to your rewards? Some cards will take away your rewards points if you are late with even one payment so make sure that you research the basics of each credit card. There are plenty of websites available that allow you to do side by side comparisons.

What do you buy the most? Think about what you purchase frequently and find a card that offers the best rewards for those purchases. For example, if you have a family and shop for groceries once or twice a week, you probably want a card that awards purchases at supermarkets. Some cards pay up to 5% for certain types of purchases.

Do the math on this. If you spend $1,000 on groceries each month, you are making $50 in cash back rebates. Maybe you don't spend quite that much but if you have a larger family, $1,000 may not be that far off. That's $600 per year just for spending what you would have spent anyway.

What are the hoops? It's nice to know that you have a sizable amount of cash coming your way but how do you get it? With some cards, it's easy while other cards take a fair amount of work to get those rebates coming. When shopping for a card, look for the card with the least amount of limitations. If it looks like the card company is making it difficult, they probably are. Look somewhere else.

Is there an expiration date? Here is an example of more hoops to jump through. Although most would not recommend it, some people save up their rewards for various reasons. Maybe the rewards are going to fund a vacation, for example. If that is your goal, make sure you know the company's rules on how long rewards can add up. Those rules and disclosure sheets can be lengthy and hard to read so call the customer service department and ask.

Is there a maximum amount or rewards per year? If you are a big spender, you don't want a card that is going to limit how much of a rebate you can get. You wouldn't want to get to October and reach your maximum. There are plenty of cards in existence that allow you to charge as much as you would like. Make sure to do your research carefully.

Make sure any time you talk to a customer service representative, you log the rep's name, the date and time you called, and what it was about. Some of the newer phones are able to record conversations. If possible, record it. Never trust that the credit card company will simply do the right thing.

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Start earning cash back on your credit card purchases with cash back credit cards.

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