Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)

 
Mixed cash rewards are the category of cards that most cash reward cards fit into. Therefore, this blog post will offer much details about this category. Unlike Green Go cards that have excellent ratings, these mixed benefit cards can have many pros and cons. Because of this, I refer to them as yellow light cards. Their mix of offerings can make it very difficult to decide whether to go or to stop from securing one.

CASH REWARD CREDIT CARD RATINGS

mixed-cash-reward-benefits
To make this easier to understand, the rating system for Cash Reward Credit Cards is similar to how traffic signals control vehicular movement. Image is from Pixabay.

In order to make the most of mixed cash reward credit cards, one should first compile a list of the pros and cons of the cards being considered. I recommend applying for only one card at a time. Let me explain how the mixed category works.

THREE CASH REWARD CARDS BENEFIT CATEGORIES

As described in previous posts in this series, Cash Reward credit cards can be divided into three types of benefit categories. This is similar to how a traffic signal directs vehicular activity. Both the GREENLIGHT and REDLIGHT signal are fairly straight forward in their comment. The former directs one to GO while the latter clear indicates STOP.

But the middle or mixed category does neither clearly. In fact, it leaves the decision up to the driver. That person must make a judgment call on their own. In spite of this, a judgment call does not have to be made blindly.
 


GREEN LIGHT credit card cash reward cards detailed in the blog post Excellent Cash Reward Credit Cards (June 2019)

YELLOW LIGHT cash reward cards and qualities are detailed in this blog post, Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (June 2019)

RED LIGHT means to seriously consider avoiding a particular cash reward card with overwhelming drawbacks.


mixed-cash-rewards-benefits
The yellow ‘caution’ light traffic signal from Pixaday images.
YELLOW LIGHT CASH REWARD CARDS

So far, all the credit cards mentioned in this series have no annual fees. But cards that do have annual fees can pay substantially more rewards, like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express®. For the privilege of the much higher cash reward levels, there is an annual fee of $95. Coincidently, there is also a signup bonus of $250. Right there, the annual fee is offset. For the most part, I prefer not to get cards with annual fees. Somehow, money needs to be made available to pay the fee each year.

MAKING A JUDGMENT CALL

This works well for people with savings. But it may not be practical for Former Middle-Class people who barely make ends meet on a monthly basis to allow for this. Saving up $95 for the annual fee tends to be a luxury reserved for the Middle Class. But, in spite of my limited funds, I made a judgment call and went for a card with an annual fee. My thinking was as follows.

Normally, I get 3% cashback for groceries. Figuring charges of around $400/month for groceries at 3% gives me a return of $12/month. That becomes $24/month at 6%. Over a year, I make an additional expense reduction of $120. That pays for the annual fee of $95. In addition, the promotional signup bonus is $250. This is clearly a win-win situation. I just have to make sure I have the annual fee put aside each year. Another point in its favor is that the total of necessary charges. It is $1000 in 3 months. That is the same as many other cards with fewer benefits.

mixed-cash-reward-cards
The Blue Cash Preferred Cash Rewards Credit Card can be an excellent choice for grocery shopping and gas. But you need to pay a $95 annual fee. Recommended by Best Cash Back Credit Cards (June 2019)

 

MAKE THE BEST FIT FOR A GIVEN CATEGORY

Also, check the fit as described in the third post poker analogy. Does it fit into the % flush or straight flush? Does it have the most benefits for type category you want a card in? Refer back to Blog Post 3as a helpful example. Also refer to the example below.

HOME IMPROVEMENT CARDS

If you are looking to form an ongoing credit card charging relationship with a home improvement superstore, controversy reign on which store and credit card are best. Lowe’s seems to outrank The Home Depot. Also see the review of the Barclaycard in the Sources & Resources Section at the end of this post.

 

[caption id="attachment_19475" align="alignleft" width="703"]Mixed cahs reard cards At first glance, a great deal. But read the fine print.

MORE CONSIDERATIONS

Green Go cards are clearly transparent in what makes them excellent considerations for cash reward cards. Yellow mixed consideration cards are not as straight forward. Then, the pros and cons need to be weighed more carefully to decide if one in this category is a good choice. Consider the amount of a promotional bonus they pay. Know the % of return and any limitations regarding that. See which side of the scale they tip to, more pros or more cons.

Check the fine print. That means the not obvious, hidden qualities of the card. As a matter of fact, these can result in more negative than positive qualities. For example, the Barclaycard account sounds good at first glance. But it does have one major drawback. I know of no other card with this drawback. Surprisingly it does not pay cash rewards until $50 worth has been accumulated. So beware of such fine print. In addition, Some other cards charge no annual fee for the first year but do charge one after that.

 

CONCLUSION

The final post in this series will focus on the qualities and kinds of cards that are in the RED signal area. They should be avoided or pursued with the utmost caution. Because they are risky, sometimes that makes them plain unsuitable in my opinion. In addition, the risk is like making a right turn on red when you’re not sure there was a sign indicating that it is okay to do so. Or you make the turn without looking so see if a card is coming from your left. Beware Risky Cash Reward Cards

Here are the links to this five-part series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
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

Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

How Cash Back Credit Cards Work

Credit Cards for Home Improvement

Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard

Best Credit Cards For Gas

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Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3-June 2019)

 
This post, excellent cash reward cards is the third in this series. By now readers most likely understand that in order to choose excellent cash reward cards including the excellent benefits they offer, it is key to have a reliable cash reward credit card rating system. Then one can best evaluate the quality of any card being considered.
 

A CASH REWARD CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM

excellent-cash-rewards-cards
My system for rating Cash Reward Credit Cards has two parts. First there is the similarity to how traffic signals regulate traffic.

TO REVIEW IN GENERAL

As a rule, cash reward credit cards offer all kinds of cash benefits as compensation for making purchases with them. In order to make the most of cash reward credit card choices, you need to know a card’s pros and cons.

As a matter of fact, excellent cash reward cards tend not to have much of anything in the way of drawbacks. In other words, you want to pick a card that bats as close to 1000 as possible. That is the purpose of an excellent cash rewards card.

With this in mind, once you know what to look for and what to avoid, then you’ll have the tools necessary to plan for the best card with the most benefits. In other words, an excellent rated card. Let’s look at this more closely.

 

 

GREEN LIGHT CREDIT CARD CASH REWARD CARDS
cash-rewards-considerations
Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.

Greenlight cash reward credit cards offer these types of benefits:
1. good to excellent percentages on cash rewards (3-5%)
2. $150-$200 promotional bonus for opening an account and even more on cards with annual fees
3. cash rewards are available in any amount at any time
4. rewards redemption is possible by a variety of methods
5. choose from several categories for top rewards rate
6. payment date and statement closing dates can be changes

cash-reward-considerations
The Bank of America® 2019 Top Rated Cash Reward Credit Card Mastercard is a ‘green light’ card. Specifically, it has a 5-star rating from CompareCards® by Lending Tree

 

 

 

 

 

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards MasterCard

excellent-cash-rewards-cards
Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.
One cash rewards credit card that provides all of the qualities listed below is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Mastercard. In fact, it has been rated No. 1 in Cash Reward Credit Cards for 2019 repeatedly on websites like comparecards.com.

The benefits include:
a. $200 promotional signup bonus
b. 3% reward in a specific categories
c. user can choose which category gets 3% from several options
d. cash rewards accumulated are available in any amount at any time
e. no annual fee

 

 

 

 

excellent-cash-rewards-benefits
Another top rated card is the Capital One® Quicksilver Card which also has an excellent rating of 4 1/2-stars from NerdWallet.com.
Capital One® Cash Rewards Quicksilver MasterCard

excellent-cash-rewards-cards
Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.
Also a highly rated cash rewards credit card is the Capital One® Quicksilver Card. It’s only possible drawback is the 1.5 percentage rate on cash rewards. But that is still better than getting only 1%. Besides, rewards are available at any time. As a result, the following benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks on some other cards with a higher % rate.

The benefits include:
a. $150 promotional signup bonus
b. 1.5% everywhere, on everything
c. redeem any amount of rewards at any time
d. no annual fee ever

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

There’s more to come. Here are the links to all five posts in this series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
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
Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

Best Cash Back Credit Cards from WalletHacks.com

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A Two-Pronged Credit Card Rating System (Part 2 – June 2019)

 

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

cash-rewards-rating-system
My system is similar to the way a traffic signal works. The image is from Pixabay.

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%.

cash-reward-rating-system
A straight flush compared to a winning hand of cash reward cards. Image from Dreamline.

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.

CONCLUSION

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

How To Compound Cash Rewards

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

The Former Middle Class Ebook Series

U.S. News’ 10 Best Cash Back Credit Cards

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A Credit Card Rating System Introduction (Series Part 1 – June 2019)

 

A CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM

The responsible use of cash reward credit cards has been very helpful in reducing my monthly expenses. In order to help me decide what new credit card I should apply for at any given time, I have developed a credit card rating system. It guides me in determining which credit card will best meet my needs at the time I apply for it. This blog post series will explain my system in detail to help others decide what cards and card qualities to consider as well.

THE CATEGORIES OF CREDIT CARDS

The categories of credit cards are shown in the illustration below. Note that each serves a different purpose. Cash reward credit cards provide a crucial feature that some of us value most, cash back for a reduction in expenses. To apply the system where it has great value, I will use the cash back or cash rewards cards category as the primary focus of this blog post series, A CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM.

credit-card-rating-system
“CompareCards says issuers are providing such generous deals, they’re virtually irresistible for those willing to switch.”
CASH BACK AKA CASH REWARDS CREDIT CARDS

With cash back credit cards, one can get reductions in monthly credit card charges. This is crucial for the survival of someone who is a Former Middle-Class Person as well as a senior citizen. In fact, the benefits offered to make life easier with these cards increases almost daily. This is because credit card issuers are becoming increasingly competitive with generous offers to lure new customers to switch credit cards.

ADD TO RATHER THAN SWITCH CARDS

It can be preferable to add a new credit card rather than switch by elimination. On the other hand, there are many details to keep in mind when adding rather than switching. In spite of that, one major benefit of having a bounty of (cash reward) credit cards is a substantial amount of total available credit. This means that if a credit cardholder uses a very small % of his/her total available credit each month, a major factor of one’s credit score remains ‘EXCELLENT’. When it comes to credit scores, most systems use a total of six factors and using a small % of available credit is one of them. But adding new cards definitely has its pluses and minuses. In spite of the challenges, I have found adding cards to be a plus. More about this in the other posts in this series.Here is an article about this from Credit Karma.

credit-card-rating-system
There are Six Primary Credit Card factors in the major FICO® scoring system as illustrated by Credit Karma®
HOW TO KEEP MANY CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS ACTIVE AND IN ORDER
There is no way to use every card each month. As a result, I use a rotation/pairing system that allows me to use only several cards each month. The pairing part means that I make available one card in each of my charging categories, if possible. Even though I have developed a system, I still have to be vigilant. That means staying within my spending budget and making all my payments on time. In other words, there needs to be a way that I can keep track of every detail of every card at all times. More about that in the other posts.

credit-card-cash-rewards-cautions
Credit Card Cash Reward Categories are similar to traffic signals. This one is from Pixabay.
MY CREDIT CARD RATING SYSTEM AS IT IS APPLIED TO CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS

The additional posts in this series will focus on how my credit card rating system relates to how I choose cash rewards credit cards. I can and do use it for deciding on all my accounts. The beauty of this system is that it can be used across the board with any cash reward card. In fact, it can be used for deciding on any type of credit card as well.

SUMMARY

Here are the links to this five part series about my Credit Card Rating System: Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
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

To learn more about credit card cash rewards, go to these two earlier published blog posts and other writings:
Credit Card Categories, Sign Up Incentives and Cash Rewards

How To Compound Cash Rewards

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

The Former Middle Class Ebook Series

 

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Credit Card Cash Rewards Explained

 
Credit card cash rewards can offer added benefits to credit card owners. But sometimes it can be confusing to claim them. In addition, not all cash rewards are the same.

Types and Distribution of Credit Card Cash Rewards

There are several types of credit card cash rewards as well as different ways they can be distributed. It is important to know when and how they can be made available to make the most of these rewards.

Credit-Card-Cash-Rewards
American Express® statement credit cash reward printed and stored either digitally or manually for proof of distribution.

Types of Cash Rewards

There are between three and four types of cash rewards. The most direct is the statement credit applied directly to your credit card statement, illustrated above. But which statement is the question. Is it your current statement or your next statement? I often find that a call into the credit card company is needed to clarify this question.

The other types of cash rewards are illustrated here. They are gift cards, merchandise and friend referral rewards.

Credit-Card-Cash-Rewards
Types of additional cash rewards available as illustrated by Amex®.

Distribution of Credit Card Cash Rewards

This is where things can get confusing. Distribution has several options:
• anytime by request online or by phone
• with a minimum of $25 in rewards by the same methods
• in increments of $25 in rewards by the same methods

credit-card-cash-rewards
Capital One® offers cash back in any amount at any time plus lots of other rewards.

Option One is the simplest and most direct. Capital One and now Bank of America credit cards both offer this service. See the illustration above,

Option Two is where things can get complicated and there are drawbacks. This is because you can’t withdraw cash rewards at any time. There has to be an accumulation of at least $25 to do so. American Express distributes cash rewards this way. Read the fine print inside the red outline.

credit card cash rewards
Cash rewards are available for a minimum of $25 dollars. See the fine print inside the red lines.

Then there is Option Three, the least desirable way to cash in cash rewards. They can only be made in increments of $25. As illustrated below, cash rewards can be distributed only in increments of $25.

credit card cash rewards
Wells Fargo Go Far® Cash Rewards program distributes rewards only in incremented of $25.

Reading the fine print is important to understand what types of credit card cash reward exist and how they can be distributed. You can also learn more about credit cards on this blog by going to the search bar and typing in credit cards.

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

Capital One Cash Back VISA Credit Cards
Bank of America Cash Back VISA Credit Cards
Wells Fargo Credit Cards
American Express Credit Cards

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