Maximizing Cash Back Credit Cards


While I always love long-term investing with high-yield dividend stocks, I’m also a huge fan of maximizing the rewards you can get from the cash back credit & debit cards.  This only works if you’re responsible and confident with paying off credit card balances every month.  With a little planning, you can easily get 5% cash back on purchases you’d normally be making anyway.  Cards that are very attractive right now (in order of my own interest) include the following:

  • US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature (5% cash back on rotating categories you can pick yourself, 1% cash back on everything else, additional bonuses included)
  • Discover More Credit Card (5% cash back on fixed rotating categories (gas, food, etc.), 1% cash back on everything else, plus a nice redeeming system for additional savings)
  • Chase Freedom Visa (5% cash back on rotating categories, 1% on everything else, great signup $100 signup bonus, excellent redeeming system)
  • PerkStreet Debit Card (1% cash back on everything, 2% cash back for online purchases, 5% cash back on PowerPerks rotating categories)
  • Capital One Cash Rewards (1% cash back on everything, plus 50% back on the cash earned… averages out to 1.5% back overall.. good for “hands off” users)

I’ve owned the Discover More Card for about 3 years now, and without much effort I’ve been getting anywhere from $300 to $500 in rewards every year.  I use these rewards to get even further discounts on renewing my Sams Club membership cards ($40 for a $50 membership), paying for items on, buying gift cards for my favorite restaurants, etc.  And I think that when you can get 5% cash back on gas for 3 months straight (there is a limit on how much money can be applied), along with 5% cash back on other major categories such as supermarket spending, restaurants and travel, I think the Discover More card is a great one to have in your wallet.

I also own the PerkStreet Debit Card.  PerkStreet provides you with free checks when you get started, and the account provides a lot of flexibility to withdraw money from various ATMs, while still allowing you to get 1% cash back on all purchases.  2% cash back applies for certain online purchases, and there are some 5% rotating PowerPerks categories every month.  The debit card comes with a PIN number, but when you apply it as a credit card transaction (it’s a Mastercard), the cash back system goes into effect.  PerkStreet recently upgraded their PowerPerks system this month, and I’m hoping the options will get a lot better.  Personally, however, I have a love/hate relationship with PerkStreet, because they started out with a 2% cash back program on all purchases and then downgraded to a 1% system in the middle of 2012.  Because of this, I’m looking to replace the card with a new one that gets 5%.

And that new 5% card is the US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card.  It looks like a great card! Once I can become more familiar with the program, I can provide further information, but the part that sounds the most exciting is the fact that IF you can stand to let your cash-back balance grow without redeeming it right away, US Bank will bump your rewards percentage up to 6.25%.  I also really like how you can select your own 5% categories, and I imagine this could really help to remember what the categories are.  This always seems to be an issue for me with the Discover More card since I always forget how many months certain categories last, etc.

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