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 little strategizing. With that in mind, the following tips can help you maximize your 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 purchase times may significantly reduce how much you can earn.
Once you’ve selected and been approved for a 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:
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. For example, 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 Alumni Rewards Card, plan to keep your card at the top of your wallet so you don’t miss out on earnings.
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 and 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. 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.
Credit card companies may periodically change their changes in 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 continue to know 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.
Do you still use cards that reward points instead of cash? 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 that must be accumulated before being redeemed 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 the card in a secure place at home, and don’t use it unless you need to.
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 return. 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 to your benefit to take advantage of a really great offer that gives you more 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 Alumni Rewards 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, visit our WalletWorks page.
*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit(s) of at least $500. See the Visa® Founder’s Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.