If you’re starting your holiday shopping as we are, you may be thinking about getting a new credit card and wondering whether or not some are better than others. While the answer to this depends to a great degree on what you want out of a credit card, there are certainly some cards that offer better rewards than others.
What To look for in a credit card
I happen to like cards that give cash back. If you do too, you might want to get the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express. You will need to have a great credit score to qualify this card but if you do, you can get 6% cash back when you shop in supermarkets, 3% back at gas stations and department stores and 1% cash back on whatever else you buy with the card. The card does have an annual fee of $75 but when you get the card, it comes with a $150 credit after you spend $1000 during the initial three months. Do you have a few boo-boos on your credit report? In this case, you might opt for the Blue Cash Every Day card. There’s no annual fee and gives you 3% cash back at grocery stores, 2% at department sores and gas stations and 1% on everything else.
Get a bonus
If you’re a “steady Eddie” you could get the Capital One Cash Rewards card. It gives you a dependable 1% rebate on every thing you buy all year around. If you make your payments on time every month for a year, Capital One will gift you with a bonus reward equal to 50% of the rewards you’ve accrued.
A cash back card with flexible rewards
The Chase Freedom Visa card includes the best of the Discover Card (bonus categories that rotate) but eliminates any spending thresholds. This gives you a card with no annual fee, up to 5% cash back on specific spending categories that change every quarter and` a consistent 1% rebate and up. You can even swap your cash rewards for merchandise or gift cards that can almost double how much you earn. For that matter, if you’re a really good shopper you can earn up to 20% cash back with merchants that are on the Chase online mall.
Best card for focused shoppers?
If you believe you can focus your shopping in one or two categories, the U.S. Bank Cash+Visa Signature might be your best choice. U.S. Bank sends its card members a text message every three months reminding them to choose two categories of spending for 5% cash back and another for 2%. While you do have to choose gas, drugstores or groceries for your 2% quarterly bonus, there is a wide range of merchant categories to choose from to get the 5% deal.
Be sure to look for “extras”
Some cards come with other valuable extras that you might want to check out before you apply for a new credit card. For example, I just got a Chase Freedom Visa that comes with purchase protection, extended protection, return protection, auto rental collision damage waiver and price protection. I really like the price protection because if I buy an item using the card and then within 60 days of that purchase, I see an ad for the same product for less money at any retail store, I can file a claim and Chase will refund the difference up to $250 per item. The purchase protection is nice, too, because if I buy an item that’s stolen or damaged, Chase will either replace or repair the item or reimburse me up to a maximum of $250 per claim.
Decide what’s important to you
Which of these cards would be best for you? Maybe not one of them. But if you shop around, compare interest rates, rewards and cash back, you’re bound to find one that would be a great fit for you and your family.