A TWO-PRONGED CASH REWARD CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM
I’ve developed a credit card rating system that is very helpful in choosing Cash Reward Credit Cards. Specifically, the system analyses what particular cash rewards credit cards can and can’t do to help lower my monthly charged expenses at any given time.
THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL SYSTEM
To start, the first part of the system is analogous to how a traffic signal operates. In other words, Cash Reward Credit Cards offer percentages of cash benefits to cardholders for charging purchases on their cards. Then, there are a variety of different qualities to benefit from.
To make the most of cash reward credit cards, become familiar with the benefits of all the cash reward credit card accounts being considered. As a refresher to the first post in this series, cash reward credit cards use can be divided into three benefits categories. For example, this is similar to a three-colored traffic signal. Thus, I have named the cash reward credit cards as reflections of the actions to take in response to traffic signal lights:
GREEN LIGHT indicates a clear go-ahead signal
YELLOW LIGHT suggests proceeding with some degree of caution
RED LIGHT urges avoiding or proceeding at one’s own risk
Study and choose carefully. As mentioned, this is because cash reward credit cards do not all have the same qualities or rates of return. In fact, they can be very different. As a result of studying each card’s personality, one will become familiar with the specific qualities. That way, a person will have an idea of how to plan for the most beneficial outcome. This means studying how best to use each card on its own. It includes observing the power of using them in combination with others.
CREDIT CARD TEAM WORK
In fact, cash reward credit cards work best as a team. Let me explain how this works. Different cards offer a different % of cashback for different categories of purchases. Thus, the ideal situation is to gather a group of the highest rate of cash return for each of the card categories that one uses most. For example, if one charges mostly for groceries and gas each month, the goal would be to acquire cards that pay the highest rate in these categories. In fact, these days that can be between 3% to 5%, and even 6%.
LET’S PLAY CASH REWARDS POKER
Ironically, credit card teamwork actually reminds me of a winning hand in the card game of poker. In comparing the two, one would want to come up with cards of the same suit. But each with a different card in numerical order. This is known as a straight flush. See the example above. In actuality, the only difference is that in the game of poker there are only 5 playing cards. But in my credit card system, there are ideally 6 credit cards. Therefore, a winning hand would be 6 cards with these percentages in the categories listed:
6% for US supermarkets
5% for all purchases on a store card
4% for dining out
3% for gas
2% for health care
1.5% for all purchases
Here’s a tip from James Wang of WalletHacks.com. Be certain to label credit cards with a magic marker to remind you what card to use for what category of purchase and % of the return. By doing this, you won’t forget and use the wrong card. Remember, you want to get the highest percentage of cash return out of each purchase. For that reason, this clever trick is invaluable.
Note that the next three blog posts in this series will specifically explore two things. First, each of the qualities of cash reward credit cards will be explored. Then specific cards will be analyzed. An easy way to remember the categories is Green for GO, Yellow for CAUTION, and Red for AVOID or proceed at your own risk!
Here are the links to all five posts in this series:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System (Series Part 1 – June 2019)
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)
Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.
SOURCES & RESOURCES
Credit Card Categories, Sign Up Incentives and Cash Rewards
Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place
The Former Middle Class Ebook Series
U.S. News’ 10 Best Cash Back Credit Cards