While rewards credit cards have been offered since the days of the Discover card, there are still a lot of consumers who don’t know that they could be earning rewards for using their card. The idea is simple: You receive points for every dollar you spend. These points add up and later, you redeem those points for either cash or rewards.
When you start shopping for your rewards credit card, keep in mind that there are numerous cards of this type on the market. Each of them have differing terms and characteristics. Before shopping, it is helpful to know your spending habits. If, for example, your commute to work is a long distance, you may want a rewards card that gives double points to gas purchases.
Normally, these cards will award you one point for every dollar you spend. Of course, one point doesn’t mean one dollar worth of buying power. In fact, it’s normally between 1% and 3%. I have a rewards card where I need 5,000 rewards points to get a $ 50 gift card to my favorite restaurant.
Doesn’t sound like a very good deal, does it? You’re right, it’s not but you have to think about it differently than when you evaluate a regular purchase. These rewards are adding up because you’re simply using your card rather than paying cash. If you were paying cash, you wouldn’t receive any rewards points. Comparing it to cash, it’s not that bad of a deal.
As we looked at earlier, you need to spend some time shopping for the best offer. Some rewards credit cards charge an annual fee while others don’t. Some pay double points for certain purchases while others pay triple rewards and have monthly incentives that pay extra points.
The terms that are hidden in the fine print are different for each card so make sure you read all of it. Don’t automatically dismiss the cards with annual fees. Sometimes the fee is worth it and often times, the credit card company will waive it if you ask.
Now that you’re wondering how you have lived without a rewards card, let’s get back to reality. While rewards cards are a great way to get some money back, you can never pay interest. Interest will wipe out the rewards you earn so you must pay your card in full each month. If this is the first time you have read about rewards credit cards, now is the time to start your search.