How to Make the Most of a Cash Rewards Credit Card

How to Make the Most of a Cash Rewards Credit Card

A cash rewards credit card can put money back in your pocket with every use, whether you’re filling up your gas tank, buying groceries, or planning a weekend away.

While the concept is straightforward, making the most of this type of card can take a bit of strategizing. With that in mind, the following tips can help you maximize your rewards.

What’s the Best Credit Card for Cash Rewards?

The best credit card for cash rewards is one that allows you to maximize your earnings without hidden fees or limitations. A credit card with a high interest rate or an annual fee can eat up your earnings, and one that comes with caps on earnings, restrictive spending categories, or limited redemption options may significantly reduce how much you can earn.

Ways to Use Your Cash Rewards Credit Card Effectively

Once you’ve selected and been approved for a cash rewards credit card that meets your needs, it’s time to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Check out these tips below:

1. Make a Plan for When to Use Your Card

If your cash rewards credit card offers opportunities to increase your earnings at certain times, take advantage of them. For instance, if you have a card that rotates spending categories, make sure you know when these categories change (usually quarterly), and make all qualifying purchases with that card. If your card offers double cash rewards for athletic gear purchases, use that one when you buy a new baseball mitt for your child.

If you’ve chosen a cash rewards card that allows you to earn on all purchases, like the PSECU Founder’s Cash Rewards Card, your plan can be a bit simpler. You'll simply need to keep your card at the top of your wallet so you can take advantage of unlimited earnings on every purchase, every time.

2. Charge Every Purchase to Your Credit Card

The more you put on your credit card, the more cash rewards you’ll earn. Using your card for all eligible purchases will help you earn cash rewards quickly. If you use this approach, you do need to make sure you pay off your balance every month so that you don’t accrue interest charges that cancel out your earnings.

Your goal isn’t to build debt by purchasing things you can’t afford, but rather to spend an amount you can cover with the money in your checking share each month. If it helps you manage your spending, consider making a payment on your account immediately after buying something with your credit card to avoid building up debt.



3. Pay Attention to Changes in Terms

Credit card companies may periodically change their terms, which can impact both how and how much you can earn in cash rewards. Typically, they’ll notify you via mail or email when these changes occur, so make sure you read all communications from your credit card company so you stay informed on how to get the most out of your card.

If you have questions about the changes you see, contact your credit card company for more information. You need to know how your credit card works and understand any adjustments to the terms so that you can continue making smart purchasing decisions that help you earn rewards.

4. Stop Using Less Rewarding Cards

Do you still use cards that reward points instead of cash? If so, you may struggle to find an opportunity to actually redeem them.

It’s often better to make purchases with a cash rewards credit card that offers earnings you can use right away on anything you want, rather than buying with a card that offers points you have to accumulate before redeeming on specific items, like flights or hotel stays. You shouldn’t necessarily cancel these cards, as this can not only be inconvenient, but also impact your credit score. Instead, keep them in a secure place at home, and don’t use them unless you need to.

5. Compare Your Reward Offers

You should know how much cash back you receive with your card at all times. Keep track of your earnings, and periodically compare your card to others to ensure you’re getting the best rewards available. You don’t want to swap out cards too often, as it’s not good for your credit rating to have too many credit cards, but it can be beneficial to take advantage of a really great offer that gives you more rewards.

Choose the Smart Card for Cash Rewards

Cash back credit cards can make earning easy by rewarding you for your everyday expenses and purchases you were already planning to make.

If you want a credit card that pays you cash rewards, consider our Founder’s Card. You’ll earn 2%* or 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase, with no category restrictions or expiration dates for rewards.

For more tips on making your money work for you, read more tips and tools.


The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.