Maximizing Credit Card Rewards

By Larry Smith

In their search to get you to enroll for their Mastercard, banks and monetary institutions are coming up with more and higher incentives to lure you. Frequent flyer miles gave way to gas miles which opened the door for cash rebates and reward points toward be used at 'our fine member merchants'. When most other things are equal (APR, yearly charges, costs for transfers et al), the style of reward points and how it's possible for you to make use of them may be the deciding thing in which card you decide to put in your wallet.

One of your best options for a Mastercard nowadays is among the current crops that offer higher rewards/refunds for purchases made in gas stations, convenience stores and supermarkets. These supposed 'everyday purchases ' are the market that Mastercard corporations wish to capture. That is the reason why the giant push to spotlight the amenity of employing a Visa card for stuff like grocery buying - a terrific way to keep control of your purchases, they mention - gasoline purchases and other everyday incidentals. In order to get you to do that, they're offering rewards and cash back on those purchases that are higher than those for other purchases.

Take a look at American Express ' credit card offering, Blue Money. The card offers a 0% introductory APR for the first six months. After that, the APR is from 11.2% to 16.2% depending on your credit report. There's no yearly charge, no charge for balance transfers, and the APR for balance transfers is 4.99% for the life of the balance. Already, it's looking like a very pleasant deal.

Add in nevertheless , the money back rewards program, and you've a Mastercard that can actually Save you money. If you pay off your full balance every month on time, there is NO INTEREST for 20 days on any of your purchases. The Rewards program offers you 1% back on all your 'everyday purchases ' up to the 1st $6,500 you pay for with your card. Additionally, you'll get .5% on all the other purchases that you charge on your card. If you charge more than $6,500 on your American Express Blue Cash card, your cash discount goes up to 5% on everyday purchases and 1% on all others.

How does that stack up? If you've budgeted $125 per week for groceries, that's $6,500 for the year. Pay for that on your Blue Cash card AND Pay The Bill In The Grace Period, and you can save $65 on groceries for the year. If you stick to that, and also pay for your gasoline with your Blue Cash card, you'll get 5% back of those purchases - since your food store purchases alone put you into the 5% bracket. If you gas up to the tune of $40 a week, that is another $104 in savings over the year.

Granted, taking full virtue of that kind of Money back rewards program requires discipline and forethought - but it is not as tough as it sounds. It just means thinking of your ATM card as yet another bill that you pay in full every month. And that, after all , is the best and most common guidance that fiscal professionals give.

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