One of the best ways to get a discount, an actual cash discount, on practically everything you buy is to use a cash back credit card. With each purchase you make using the card, you will earn a percentage of the purchase price as a cash rebate. For consumers who are too busy to calculate points or miles, or wade through different rewards programs, the simple alternative of cold, hard cash may be quite attractive.
There are cash cards that offer 5% savings on supermarket purchases, gas stations and pharmacies, with an additional 1% usually offered on all other purchases. And customers with good credit are becoming so highly valued that bank are offering them highly lucrative card offers. If you apply online, you will in some cases receive a response within minutes, or even within one minute. In other words, in about the time it takes to check your credit rating. Here is a list of the top cash back credit cards that we were able to find.
The Chase Freedom card, offered by JPMorgan Chase, offers a very attractive signing bonus of $100, provided the new cardholder spends $500 using the card during the first three months of ownership. An additional $25 bonus is offered if you add an authorized user and make any purchase within those same three months. Cardholders can also earn cash back by shopping at Chase’s online mall. The card charges no annual fee.
A greater, 5% cash back is available on purchases made within product categories that rotate every three months, and this high rate is available on up to $1,500 in purchases for each calendar quarter. For all other purchases, you will get 1% cash back. The card offers unlimited rebates, and they never expire. A promotional 0% APR is extended for the first 15 months of card ownership, and applies to both purchases and balance transfers. After that, you will have a variable APR of between 13.99% and 22.99%, applicable to both purchases and balance transfers.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card, offered by the people at BofA, will fit best with consumers who spend about $1,500 per calendar quarter on gas and groceries combined. The card offers 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back on supermarket purchases on the first $1,500 you spend on such purchases within each quarter. For all other purchases, you will get 1% cash back. Order online, and BofA will allow you to earn a $100 cash rewards bonus, provided that you make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days that you own the card.
Cardholders do not need to enroll in a rewards program to earn cash back, or keep track of any rotating categories of goods on which the cash back applies. The card also involves no annual fees, and there is no expiration date on the cash back. When it comes time to redeem, you can receive your cash back as a statement credit, or receive a 10% customer bonus by redeeming you cash back into a BofA bank account.
The promotional 0% APR rate applies to balance transfers and purchases, and lasts for twelve billing cycles. After that, a variable APR of between 12.99% and 22.99% applies. In order to qualify for that introductory 0% rate, however, you will need to make your balance transfers within the first 60 days of when you open your account. A balance transfer fee of 3% does apply to each transaction, and a minimum $10 is applicable as well.
Citi Double Cash Card
The people at Citibank have put together their Citi Double Cash Card, which as its name implies allows cardholders to double their cash back. You will be able to earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, and then later, when you pay off your balance, you will receive another 1%, provided that you make the minimum required payment. Cardholders can also earn cash back in an unlimited amount, and there is no requirement to enroll in, or follow, particular cash back categories. No annual fee is charged for this card.
The Double Cash Card lets you redeem your cash back for statement credit, payment by check, or gift cards. A 0% promotional APR rate applies on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months, and after that the variable APR rate is 12.99% to 22.99%, depending on the strength of your credit.
Discover It – 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer
The people at Discover Financial are offering that Discover It card with an 18-month balance transfer feature. Cardholders, during an 18-month period, will be able to take advantage of a 0% interest on balance transfers, and a six-month 0% rate for purchases. After those two periods expire, the applicable variable APR rate will be between 10.99% and 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. A 3% balance transfer fee, however, is imposed. This is a particularly useful card for those who are looking to pay off interest-bearing debt accumulated on other cards.
Provided that you sign up for the 5% cash back bonus, the card will provide an impressive 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories, and these include travel, gasoline, restaurants and other. And you will receive 1% on all other purchases. That 5% is subject to quarterly maximums, following which the 1% rate applies.
Cardholders can also get from 5% to 20% cash back by shopping at Discover’s online mall using the Discover IT card. You will also benefit from 0% fraud liability, and you’ll receive mobile or email messages indicating if anything fishy or suspicious is going on with your card. The card has no annual fee.
Now, if you want to extend that 0% APR on purchases, you can sign up for the Discover It card that offers an introductory 0% rate on balance transfers, and on purchases, for 14 months, with a 10.99% to 22.99% variable APR rate thereafter. A 3% transfer fee will still apply to all balance transfers.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
The people at American Express have the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express card with offers that provide $150 in statement credit back to cardholders after they make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of card ownership. A very impressive 6% cash back is offered on the first $6,000 in supermarket purchases made each year, and you will receive 3% cash back on purchases made at gas stations and department stores. All other purchases will get you 1% cash back. In exchange for these impressive features, the card does require a $75 annual fee.
Your cash back comes to you in the form of Rewards Dollars that you can choose to receive as statement credit. The card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, and after that the variable APR is between 12.99% and 21.99% based on the strength of the cardholder’s credit.
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card
This card comes in two flavors, the Standard and the Plus. With the Plus card, you receive 5% cash back on gas purchases, while the Standard card offers 3%. These Visa credit cards both feature a 4.99% balance transfer APR rate for one year, provided you transfer a balance to them during the 2015 calendar year. After that one-year period, cardholders will continue to enjoy a variable 9.99% APR on balance transfers.
Both cards impose no fee on foreign transactions. The Standard card has no annual fee for the first year, and a $25 dollar annual fee thereafter, which the Plus car has no annual fee.
Some Cash Back Card Advice
As you’ve seen, some of these cards offer high rebates, of up to 5%, on quarterly rotating categories, while others provide a flat cash back rate throughout the years. Still others will give a high 5% rate, but only up to a maximum in, say, groceries, that you are likely to exceed. As a result, many cardholders make the strategic decision to hold more than one card, allowing them to receive different cash back benefits depending on what they are buying. This will also allow you to switch cards as soon as you have hit the maximum on any one card.
If you are a debit card user of long standing, it may be difficult to make the switch to credit card use. So long as you are disciplined about paying off the card, or cards, each month, those interest charges will not kick in, and the financial advantages will be impressive, and will add up to very substantial savings over time.
Cardholders with larger budgets may want to select cards that have no maximum limit on how much cash back you can acquire. Remember also that, for certain cards, the cash back expires after a certain period of time, so it’s use it or lose it if you have one of those cards. Used correctly, cash back cards are a very useful tool for a family’s financial planning.