Don’t Have Good Credit? These Credit Cards Still Earn You Rewards

All credit cards are not created equal, particularly those for people with bad credit.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Credit cards with the best luxury perks and most valuable rewards require good or excellent credit. But if your credit doesn’t measure up, there are still plenty of options, and some credit cards still offer valuable rewards to people without good credit.

Here are four of our favorite rewards credit cards that don’t require good credit.

1. The Discover it Secured Card

Rewards: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in spending per quarter; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover will match the cash back you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 23.99% APR on purchases; 10.99% APR for six months on balance transfers, then variable 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: If you need a secured card with cash back, this is one of your best options. Plus, this card is available to consumers with poor, bad, or nonexistent credit.
For Less-Than-Perfect Credit: To open this secured card, you’ll need a security deposit of at least $200, and your initial credit limit will equal your initial deposit. After eight months, Discover will start reviewing your account and may refund your deposit. You’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants and 1% cash back everywhere else, and Discover will match your first year’s cash back earnings dollar for dollar.
Drawbacks: If you don’t spend much at gas stations and restaurants, this card isn’t as valuable.

2. SKYPASS Visa Secured Card

Rewards: One airline mile for every dollar spent on eligible purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 5,000 bonus miles after your first purchase.
Annual Fee: $50
APR:
Variable 17.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Cardholders earn miles with participating airlines.
For Less-Than-Perfect Credit: You’ll need a minimum $300 security deposit to open this secured card. Every purchase earns one SKYPASS mile per dollar. You’re awarded 5,000 bonus miles upon your first purchase and 1,000 bonus miles every year you renew. Points are good for tickets and upgrades with SkyTeam partners, including AirFrance, Czech Airlines, Delta, and China Eastern.
Drawbacks: There’s a $50 annual fee, and the miles you earn can only be redeemed at 20 participating airlines.

3. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $39
APR: Variable 24.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: A solid cash back rate on every purchase awaits consumers with fair credit.
For Less-Than-Perfect Credit: If your credit lands in the “fair” category, you can use this card to earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
Drawbacks: There’s a $39 annual fee.

4. Discover it Miles Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5 miles per dollar spent on every purchase.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover will match the miles you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% APR for 14 months on purchases, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR; 10.99% APR for 14 months on balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: If you have fair credit and love to travel, this card might be a good fit.
For Less-Than-Perfect Credit: The Discover it Miles card is available to those with fair credit and earns 1.5 miles per dollar on every purchase. Discover will match the miles you earn in your first year dollar for dollar. Miles can be used for any travel purchase, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, and more.
Drawbacks: If you don’t travel much, keep looking.

How to Choose a Rewards Card When You Don’t Have Good Credit 

When you don’t have good credit, your primary goal should be to improve it. To build your credit using a credit card, you should maintain a low balance, make payments on time, and keep your account open.

You’ll need to choose between a secured or unsecured card. Secured cards do require an upfront security deposit, but they are available through major credit card companies and are usually designed to help build credit. If you have bad credit, it’s more difficult to find an unsecured rewards card through a nationally known credit card issuer.

Make sure to choose a card that rewards the types of purchases you tend to make and provides rewards that you’ll actually use.

Be careful, though: some cards for people with bad credit have predatory policies, which can make it more difficult for you to rebuild your credit. Check out our list of warning signs so you know what to avoid.

What Credit Score Will I Need?

Credit cards for people without good credit don’t have the strictest credit requirements and are available to people with credit scores below 700. However, your approval is still not guaranteed and your application could still be rejected. Before you apply, you can check your credit score for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Discover it Secured Card, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card, and the Discover it Miles Credit Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for either of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

Image: AntonioGuillem

The post Don’t Have Good Credit? These Credit Cards Still Earn You Rewards appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Credit Cards to Make Your Commute Easier

bike_commute

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

A rough commute can really add to the stress of a long workday. Crowded trains and buses, stop-and-go traffic, and the cost of gas can all contribute to daily frustration, but might be unavoidable depending on where you live and work.

Some credit cards can help take the sting out of a bad commute and earn you rewards as you travel to and from your job.

Here are four credit cards that can make your tough commute better.

1. Citi ThankYou Premier

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on travel; two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
Variable 15.49% to 24.49% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: You can earn triple points on all your commuting expenses.
For Your Commute: You’ll earn three points for every dollar spent on travel, including public transportation, tolls, taxis, and gas. Points are redeemable for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more.
Drawbacks: There is no sign-up bonus.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on travel and dining; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$0 the first year, then $95.
APR: Variable 16.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Qualifying commuting purchases earn you points for future travel redemptions.
For Your Commute: Travel purchases such as public transportation, taxis, and trains will earn two points per dollar spent. You can redeem points for many things, but you’ll receive an extra 25% redemption value when booking travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Drawbacks: Gas purchases are not included in the travel category.

3. Blue Cash Everyday from American Express 

Rewards: 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual US supermarket purchases; 2% cash back at US gas stations and participating department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$150 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: This is a solid cash back card for gas rewards.
For Your Commute: This card earns 2% cash back at US gas stations, which can really add up if you drive to work every day.
Drawbacks: If you don’t spend much at supermarkets, you won’t see as much value.

4. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for up to $2,500 in combined purchases every quarter; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: You’ll earn an impressive 3% cash back on gas purchases at the pump. 
For Your Commute:
With 3% cash back at gas stations, your gas rewards will add up quickly. Plus, if you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you’ll earn an extra 10% cash back every time you redeem your points for a bank deposit.
Drawbacks:
If you don’t bank with Bank of America, you can’t earn the extra 10% cash back.

Choosing a Card for Your Commute

To take the sting out of your commute, you should choose a card that earns rewards on your specific commuting expenses. If you take the train or bus, you might want a card that rewards public transportation expenses. If you drive, a card that rewards gas purchases might be a better fit.

You’ll also need to choose the type of rewards you want. Miles, points, and cash back all have specific advantages and disadvantages, so it really comes down to choosing the rewards that work for your lifestyle.

If you plan to use your card beyond commuting expenses, you should analyze the other types of purchases you tend to make. Take your overall spending habits into account when you’re evaluating cards.

What Credit Is Required to Get a Card for Your Commute?

Cards with gas and travel rewards generally require good to excellent credit. You should make sure your credit is good enough before you apply, as a hard inquiry from a credit card application can ding your score a bit. If you aren’t sure about your credit score, check it for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Citi ThankYou Premier card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

Image: istock

The post 4 Credit Cards to Make Your Commute Easier appeared first on Credit.com.

Dress to Impress with These 3 Credit Cards

office

Office jobs often require you to maintain a professional image. And while dress codes aren’t as strict as they used to be, it never hurts to look sharp. If you’re interviewing for jobs or about to start with a new employer, you may need to upgrade your wardrobe.

Some credit cards can save you money at clothing retailers. Here are three credit cards to help you dress for the office.

1. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at US supermarkets; 3% cash back at US gas stations and eligible department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $95
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: You can earn fantastic cash back rates at the right department stores.
For Office Clothes: With 3% cash back at 16 department stores, you have plenty of shopping options. Participating stores include Dillard’s, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus.
Drawbacks: You’ll pay a $95 annual fee.

2. Chase Freedom

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter on rotating spending categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR:
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.
Why We Picked It:
For the rest of 2017, you’ll earn a whopping 5% cash back on eligible clothing purchases.
For Office Clothes: Through the end of this quarter, Chase’s bonus category is Walmart and department store purchases. You’ll earn 5% cash back when you stock your wardrobe at these retailers.
Drawbacks: You don’t have much time before the spending category changes.

3. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 5% back at Amazon.com; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; 1% back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$70 Amazon.com gift card.
Annual Fee:
$0 with paid Amazon Prime membership.
APR:
Variable 15.24% to 23.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It:
Any clothes and accessories you order from Amazon.com will earn up to 5% back.
For Office Clothes: Amazon.com stocks clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and everything in between. Amazon Prime members will earn 5% back on all eligible orders placed with Amazon.com—and rewards can be redeemed for future purchases, so you can continue to update your look.
Drawbacks: If you prefer to try your clothes on in the store, this card isn’t a good fit. 

How to Choose a Credit Card for Office Clothes  

You should pick a card that rewards how you spend. Some cards reward department store purchases while others focus on big-box stores like Walmart. If you aren’t loyal to one type of store, a card with a flat cash back rate on all purchases might be the best choice.

Some credit card companies partner with leading retailers and brands to offer online rewards marketplaces, where shoppers can access additional savings or rewards. Look out for any cards that offer additional deals at your favorite brands.

Beware store credit cards. They often have a higher APR, they can’t be used at other stores, and their discounts aren’t always as competitive as you’d expect. 

What Credit Is Required for a Clothes-Centered Card? 

Top rewards credit cards will usually require good or excellent credit. To protect your credit, you should check your credit score before you apply and only submit an application if your credit is sufficient. You can check your credit score for free at Credit.com.

Image: istock

The post Dress to Impress with These 3 Credit Cards appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Personal Credit Cards to Help Fund Your Side Hustle

Man use smart phone and holding credit card with shopping online. Online payment concept.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

If you work a side hustle to earn extra cash outside of your full-time job, you should consider getting a credit card solely for your business expenses. This helps keep your business and personal life separate and makes it easier to report your business activity for federal and state taxes.

For most freelancers and sole proprietors, a regular business credit card is overkill. A personal credit card can meet your professional spending requirements and earn cash back to help you afford your side business.

Here are four personal credit cards to help fund your side gig.

1. Discover it – Cashback Match

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases for rotating bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: This Discover it card matches all cash back earned in the first 12 months.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Get your supplies from the right merchants and you’ll earn 5% cash back.
For Your Side Hustle: No matter what you do to earn extra cash, Target and Amazon.com should stock something you need. Through the end of this year, you’ll earn 5% cash back on all purchases from these two giants of retail.
Drawbacks:
Bonus categories change every quarter and may not always be ideal for business spending.

2. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi 

Rewards: 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in eligible gas purchases per year; 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel; 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 with a paid Costco membership.
APR: 0% APR for seven months on purchases, then variable 16.24% APR; variable 16.24% APR on balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: There are many ways to earn great cash back rewards.
For Your Side Hustle:
Whether you’re driving, traveling, or dining out with clients on a regular basis, this card has a special cash back rate for you. All Costco and Costo.com purchases earn 2% cash back, and Costco stocks a virtually unlimited variety of goods for your side business.
Drawbacks: You need a Costco membership to get this card.

3. Citi Double Cash – 18 Month BT offer

Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases; an additional 1% upon payment.
Sign-Up Bonus:
None
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
Variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR on purchases; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR.
Why We Picked It: If you want a solid cash back rate no matter what you’re buying, this card is for you.
For Your Side Hustle: Regardless of what you purchase, this card will earn 2% cash back by the time your purchases are paid off.
Drawbacks:
If you tend to carry a balance every month, you won’t earn rewards as fast.

4. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in combined quarterly purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Gas, groceries, and wholesale club purchases can help you keep your business running.
For Your Side Hustle:
Driving a cab, selling baked goods, or stocking up on office supplies? This card can meet your needs, thanks to its special cash back rates at gas stations, grocery stores, and wholesale clubs. Bank of America banking customers get extra 10% cash back when they redeem their rewards for a bank account deposit.
Drawbacks: If you don’t bank at Bank of America, you’ll lose out on extra cash rewards.

How to Choose a Card for Your Side Hustle

The best credit card for your side hustle depends on the nature of your work. If you’re driving a cab, a card with gas rewards makes sense. A card with restaurant rewards might be more suitable if you take clients out to dinner. And if you’re running your business from a home office, you might want a card that can help you afford office supplies.

If you’re just launching your side hustle and you need to make a lot of purchases to get it off the ground, you should consider a card with a 0% intro APR offer. These cards avoid interest on purchases for a limited amount of time, helping you afford your startup costs.

Remember, maintaining a separate credit card for your side gig can help you in the long run by keeping your business and personal expenses divided. This can help you file your taxes and could be a lifesaver if the IRS ever audits you.

What Credit Is Required for a Side Hustle Card?

Depending on your needs, the credit requirements for your card of choice may vary. Either way, you need to be confident in your chances of approval before you apply. You can check your credit report free at Credit.com.

Image: wutwhanfoto

At publishing time, the Discover it Cashback Match card, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, and the Citi Double Cash Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

The post 4 Personal Credit Cards to Help Fund Your Side Hustle appeared first on Credit.com.

U.S. Bank Introduces Mobile Location Services as Customers Gear Up for Holiday Travel

These cards help you go out for drinks and get home safely.

Earlier this month, U.S. Bank launched Location Services for their mobile app, providing additional security and convenience to customers as they travel and shop for the holidays.

We spoke with Jason Tinurelli, Senior Vice President of Retail Payment Solutions at U.S. Bank, to learn how the feature works and how it can help U.S. Bank customers this holiday season. Tinurelli is responsible for the digital marketing, acquisition, and strategy for U.S. Bank’s credit, debit, and prepaid cards.

How Location Services Works

All U.S. Bank credit and debit card customers can opt in for Location Services using the U.S. Bank Mobile App. Once the service is turned on, U.S. Bank Location Services can help determine if card transactions are legitimate by verifying that customer devices and their credit or debit cards are in the same location.

“What we’re using is the built-in Location Services available on your phone,” explains Tinurelli. “If the customer opts in, . . . we pull the phone a couple times a day, looking to see where the phone is.”

Using the mobile devices’ location as a guide, Location Services looks for transactions made outside the customer’s area. If a purchase takes place elsewhere, U.S. Bank is alerted and can reach out to the customer to verify the transaction.

Of course, this service works best for customers who keep their mobile phones with them as they shop.

The feature is available for both Android and Apple devices.

How Location Services Can Help You

U.S. Bank already monitors their customers’ transactions for fraudulent activity, and they flag suspicious transactions for review and customer verification. Location Services adds another layer of security and give transactions an additional hurdle to clear.

But the feature also adds convenience for holiday trips. Holiday travelers frequently make large purchases out of town, and this feature reduces the odds of getting declined or having to verify transactions.

Tinurelli says that whether customers stay home or travel, they can have more security and peace of mind—because if your card is used when you’re not near it, you’ll be covered.

Why Location Services Was Introduced

According to TInurelli, this new use of Location Services is a direct response to consumer feedback.

“One thing that you often hear from people,” says TInurelli, “is ‘I went away on vacation and the card company declined me.’ We took the feedback from our customers.”

The Location Services feature was initially tested with U.S. Bank employees and then introduced in a small customer rollout program. Following positive feedback, U.S. Bank decided to launch the service to their entire credit and debit card customer base.

“The holiday season is a busy time for everyone,” Tinurelli notes. “The U.S. Bank Mobile App offers consumers the convenience of being on-the-go while offering opt-in Location Services to help keep credit and debit cards secure while traveling here in the US and abroad.”

Credit card fraud and identity theft are more common today than ever. If you’re interested in learning how to protect yourself or in other credit cards with security features, you can find more information at Credit.com.

Image: jacoblund

The post U.S. Bank Introduces Mobile Location Services as Customers Gear Up for Holiday Travel appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards for Hosting Holiday Dinners

Parties are even more fun when your credit card's earning you solid deals.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

The holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to entertain company. If you love hosting holiday parties, you know that feeding friends and family can quickly get expensive. Some credit cards can help, though, and can earn you cash back rewards on groceries and more.

Here are five great credit cards for hosting holiday parties.

1. Savor Card from Capital One

Rewards: 3% cash back on dining purchases; 2% cash back on groceries; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
0% APR for nine months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.49% to 24.49% APR.
Why We Picked It: You get great cash back rates on dining and groceries.
For Holiday Parties:
With 3% cash back on dining and 2% cash back on groceries, this card will earn rewards whether you’re cooking an elaborate dinner or ordering takeout.
Drawbacks: If you don’t dine out often, this card won’t offer as much value.

2. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express 

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at US supermarkets; 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$200 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$95
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Few competitors come close to this card’s supermarket cash back rate.
For Holiday Parties:
With 6% cash back on all supermarket purchases, you can dramatically cut the cost of expensive or elaborate home dinners. And you’ll earn 3% cash back on gas as you drive to the grocery store or pick up holiday visitors at the airport.
Drawbacks: There’s an annual fee of $95.

3. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at groceries stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in quarterly gas and grocery purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 cash bonus if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: All grocery and wholesale club purchases earn solid cash rewards.
For Holiday Parties:
Whether you shop for groceries at wholesale clubs or grocery stores, your holiday dinner supplies will earn 2% cash back. Bank of America customers get an additional 10% cash back whenever they redeem for a deposit in their savings or checking account.
Drawbacks: If you aren’t a Bank of America account holder, you’ll lose out on extra cash rewards.

4. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Rewards: 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in qualifying gas purchases per year; 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
None
Annual Fee:
$0 with a paid Costco membership.
APR:
0% APR for seven months on purchases, then variable 16.24% APR; variable 16.24% APR on balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Costco members earn double cash on party supplies.
For Holiday Parties: Costco members will earn 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, which can help you cook a big dinner, stock up on booze (at participating locations), and acquire everything else you need for the holidays.
Drawbacks: You must be a Costco member to get this card.

5. Chase Freedom Unlimited 

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Signup Bonus:
$150 bonus cash if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR:
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.
Why We Picked It: All purchases will earn the same cash back rate.
For Holiday Parties:
While you don’t get a special cash back rate on groceries, you’ll get the same dependable 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, no matter where you shop.
Drawbacks: If you want a special cash back rate on groceries, this isn’t the card for you.

How to Choose a Credit Card for Holiday Dinners 

If the primary reason you’re getting a credit card is for hosting dinners, you should choose a card that offers the highest rewards rates wherever you get party supplies and groceries.

If you plan to use your card for other purchases, you should pick a card that offers rewards at other merchants you visit. However, if your spending tends to be fairly random, a card with a flat cash back rate on every purchase could be the best bet.

Make sure to evaluate fees and APRs. If you tend to carry a balance on a monthly basis, interest can diminish the value of your rewards. Fees may have the same effect.

What Credit Is Required for Holiday Parties Rewards Cards?

The best cash back credit cards will require good to excellent credit. Check your credit before applying for a card, as a hard inquiry can lower your credit by a few points. You can check your credit score for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Savor Card from Capital One, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi and the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

Image: svetikd

The post 5 Credit Cards for Hosting Holiday Dinners appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards for Hosting Holiday Dinners

Parties are even more fun when your credit card's earning you solid deals.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

The holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to entertain company. If you love hosting holiday parties, you know that feeding friends and family can quickly get expensive. Some credit cards can help, though, and can earn you cash back rewards on groceries and more.

Here are five great credit cards for hosting holiday parties.

1. Savor Card from Capital One

Rewards: 3% cash back on dining purchases; 2% cash back on groceries; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
0% APR for nine months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.49% to 24.49% APR.
Why We Picked It: You get great cash back rates on dining and groceries.
For Holiday Parties:
With 3% cash back on dining and 2% cash back on groceries, this card will earn rewards whether you’re cooking an elaborate dinner or ordering takeout.
Drawbacks: If you don’t dine out often, this card won’t offer as much value.

2. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express 

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at US supermarkets; 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$200 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$95
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Few competitors come close to this card’s supermarket cash back rate.
For Holiday Parties:
With 6% cash back on all supermarket purchases, you can dramatically cut the cost of expensive or elaborate home dinners. And you’ll earn 3% cash back on gas as you drive to the grocery store or pick up holiday visitors at the airport.
Drawbacks: There’s an annual fee of $95.

3. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at groceries stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in quarterly gas and grocery purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 cash bonus if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: All grocery and wholesale club purchases earn solid cash rewards.
For Holiday Parties:
Whether you shop for groceries at wholesale clubs or grocery stores, your holiday dinner supplies will earn 2% cash back. Bank of America customers get an additional 10% cash back whenever they redeem for a deposit in their savings or checking account.
Drawbacks: If you aren’t a Bank of America account holder, you’ll lose out on extra cash rewards.

4. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Rewards: 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in qualifying gas purchases per year; 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
None
Annual Fee:
$0 with a paid Costco membership.
APR:
0% APR for seven months on purchases, then variable 16.24% APR; variable 16.24% APR on balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Costco members earn double cash on party supplies.
For Holiday Parties: Costco members will earn 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, which can help you cook a big dinner, stock up on booze (at participating locations), and acquire everything else you need for the holidays.
Drawbacks: You must be a Costco member to get this card.

5. Chase Freedom Unlimited 

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Signup Bonus:
$150 bonus cash if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR:
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.
Why We Picked It: All purchases will earn the same cash back rate.
For Holiday Parties:
While you don’t get a special cash back rate on groceries, you’ll get the same dependable 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, no matter where you shop.
Drawbacks: If you want a special cash back rate on groceries, this isn’t the card for you.

How to Choose a Credit Card for Holiday Dinners 

If the primary reason you’re getting a credit card is for hosting dinners, you should choose a card that offers the highest rewards rates wherever you get party supplies and groceries.

If you plan to use your card for other purchases, you should pick a card that offers rewards at other merchants you visit. However, if your spending tends to be fairly random, a card with a flat cash back rate on every purchase could be the best bet.

Make sure to evaluate fees and APRs. If you tend to carry a balance on a monthly basis, interest can diminish the value of your rewards. Fees may have the same effect.

What Credit Is Required for Holiday Parties Rewards Cards?

The best cash back credit cards will require good to excellent credit. Check your credit before applying for a card, as a hard inquiry can lower your credit by a few points. You can check your credit score for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Savor Card from Capital One, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi and the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

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3 Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fees

Are you thinking about taking advantage of a balance transfer offer? They’re awfully tempting and can be an excellent way to efficiently pay off your debt.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

If you need to pay down some troublesome credit card debt, but your card’s APR is making it difficult, you have some options, including transferring your existing balance to another credit card. Some cards have a 0% annual percentage rate (APR) offer for balance transfers. With this great intro rate, you can avoid interest for a limited time as you work to pay off your balance on a new card.

Unfortunately, many of these cards charge a balance transfer fee, which often amounts to 3–5% of the transfer amount. When you’re trying to save money and pay down debt, this added fee won’t help. But some cards can help you pay down your balance without charging you a fee for the privilege. Here are three credit cards with no balance transfer fees.

1. Chase Slate Card

Rewards: None
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.
Why We Picked It: Early balance transfers avoid interest and balance transfer fees.
For Balance Transfers: Balance transfers won’t accrue interest for the first 15 months. Plus, all balance transfers you make within the first 60 days won’t incur transfer fees.
Drawbacks: Any balance transfers completed after 60 days will cost you $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater.

2. Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Card

Rewards: Two points for every dollar spent.
Sign-Up Bonus: 5,000 bonus points if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: As low as 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.24% to 24.24% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card earns rewards, avoids interest, and won’t charge you a transfer fee.
For Balance Transfers: You can qualify to receive an intro APR offer as low as 0% on purchases and balance transfers for a full year. Plus, there are no balance transfer fees.
Drawbacks: The 0% intro APR isn’t guaranteed, so you may end up with a higher intro rate depending on your credit.

3. BankAmericard Credit Card

Rewards: None
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
APR:
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 12.99% to 22.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Bank of America’s lack of initial fees and intro APR make it a solid choice for paying down credit card debt.
For Balance Transfers: Any balance transfers you make within 60 days of opening your account won’t accrue interest for 15 months. They also won’t incur a transfer fee, and there’s no penalty APR for late payments.
Drawbacks:
Balance transfers made after 60 days incur a fee of $10 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater.

Choosing a Balance Transfer Card

If you pay off your balance within the intro period, you’ll save the most money. If you’re still carrying some of that balance when the intro period expires, though, you’ll start paying interest, so make sure your card’s intro period is long enough for you to pay your balance in full.

You should also look at the APR that kicks in after the 0% intro period is over. If that APR is higher than the APR on your current card, you may want to find a card with a more competitive rate.

When you open your card, transfer your balances immediately. That way, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the intro APR period—and if your credit card only waives balance transfer fees for a limited time, you won’t miss the boat.

What Credit Is Required for a Balance Transfer Credit Card?

The best credit cards, including balance transfer cards, require good to excellent credit, so make sure you check your credit score before you apply to increase your chances of approval. You can check your credit score for free at Credit.com.

 At publishing time, the Chase Slate Card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

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Work from Home? These 5 Credit Cards Can Help

working-from-home

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Working from home conveys many benefits (most notably the absence of a commute), but distractions may abound. A home office can provide an interruption-free workspace within your residence.

Unfortunately, the cost of setting up a home office can be prohibitive. Some credit cards can assist by providing rewards or helping you avoid interest on your purchases.

Here are five credit cards that can help you set up your home office.

1. Discover it – Cashback Match 

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases for specific bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches all cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: If you buy office supplies from the right merchants, you can earn 5% cash back through the end of the year.  
For Your Home Office: Through December 2017, all Target and Amazon.com purchases earn 5% cash back. That’s a great cash back rate on everything from office supplies to electronics.
Drawbacks:
Each bonus category for this card is only good until the end of the quarter.

2. SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Rewards: 5% cash back at US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased from US service providers; 3% cash back on a category of your choice; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus cash if you spend $5,000 in the first six months, with an additional $200 if you spend $10,000 in the first year.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for nine months on purchases, then variable 13.24% to 20.24% APR.
Why We Picked It:
This business card is suitable for up-front and ongoing business expenses.
For Your Home Office:
You’ll earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and qualifying wireless telephone services, which will help stock your home office and keep the phones on. Plus, you can earn 3% cash back on a category of your choice from a list of eight; options include airfare, hotel rooms, gas, computer-related purchases, and more.
Drawbacks: This card is intended for corporate use and might be overkill for businesses with a low overhead. 

3. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 5% back at Amazon.com; 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores; 1% back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
Variable 15.24% to 23.24% APR.
Why We Picked It:
Any office goods purchased at Amazon.com can earn up to 5% back.
For Your Home Office: If you get your office supplies at Amazon.com, you’ll earn 5% back with a Prime membership. Rewards are redeemable for future Amazon.com purchases, which can help you restock on printer cartridges and Post-it notes.
Drawbacks: If you don’t shop at Amazon.com, this card isn’t a good fit.

4. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Rewards: 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in eligible gas purchases per year; 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel; 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 with a paid Costco membership.
APR: 0% APR for seven months on purchases, then variable 16.24% APR; variable 16.24% APR on balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Costco members can save on office supplies with this card.
For Your Home Office:
You’ll earn 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases, including their wide variety of office products and equipment.
Drawbacks: You must have a Costco membership to get this card.

5. Chase Ink Business Cash

Rewards: 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent on office supplies and internet, cable, and phone services per year; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants per year; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $300 bonus cash if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.24% to 20.24% APR.
Why We Picked It: If you spend a lot to keep your business running, this card is worth a look.
For Your Home Office: Each year, the first $25,000 in office supply purchases and internet, cable, and phone service expenses earn 5% cash back, making it easier to stay connected and stocked up on supplies.
Drawbacks: This card is most helpful if you’re running a sizeable business with significant ongoing expenses. Otherwise it may not be a good fit.

How to Choose a Card for Your Home Office

The best card for your home office depends on your workspace needs. If you have to invest in furniture, electronics, and other pricey up-front expenses, you may want to look for a card with a 0% intro APR offer. If you’re more concerned with ongoing office supply costs, a card that provides cash back rewards at your favorite office retailer might be suitable.

Whether you need a personal or business credit card depends on your job. If you’re telecommuting for an employer or your business has a low overhead, a personal credit card should be able to handle your spending needs. But if you’re managing a sizeable business that needs quick access to supplies and services, the higher credit limits and additional employee cards available with business credit cards might help you out more.

Either way, business owners should maintain separate credit cards for personal and business use. This will make it easier to keep track of your business expenses for accounting and tax purposes.

What Credit Is Required Your Home Office Card?  

Top business and personal credit cards will require good to excellent credit. Before you apply for a card, verify that your credit is sufficient for approval. Otherwise, the resulting hard inquiry could ding your credit score and your application would be rejected. You can check your credit report free at Credit.com.

 At publishing time, (name of card), (name of card), and (name of card) are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

Image: istock

The post Work from Home? These 5 Credit Cards Can Help appeared first on Credit.com.

Avoid Home Service Scams with These 7 Tips

questions-for-contractors-communicate

Regular maintenance retains your home’s value and keeps you and your property safe. When you need home service and aren’t confident you can do it yourself, it can save time and frustration to call in a professional.

Most contractors are honest, but hiring the wrong one leaves you vulnerable to shoddy workmanship or even fraud. According to an estimate by the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost approximately $1.5 billion in 2012 alone to home improvement fraud.

We spoke with professional contractors to find out how to spot home service scams a mile away. Use these seven tips to avoid home service scams.

1. Check Online Reviews

Great online reviews don’t guarantee a good experience, and a lack of reviews doesn’t mean a contractor is unethical. But checking online can help you get a sense of what people liked and disliked about a contractor. 

Larry Patterson, owner of Glass Doctor, recommends you pay attention to how companies with a strong online presence handle negative feedback. “These are established businesses [that] have something to lose. Read some of their poor reviews and see what is said and how the company responds.”

Many people are only inspired to leave reviews when they’ve had a strong positive or negative experience. But even if your service was unremarkable, you can help the business and future customers by writing a review when the job is done.

2. Reject High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Home maintenance professionals and salespeople sometimes employ high-pressure sales tactics, offering a price they claim is good for one day only. This strategy is designed to push property owners into an agreement before they have a chance to consider other offers.

“Many window replacement companies press their salespeople to sell on the first visit,” Patterson says. “For major purchases, always wait until the next day to make a decision. The ‘super-duper only available today’ deal will still be available in a couple of days.” 

3. Check Their Credentials

Many states require contractors to be fully licensed and insured to do business. If they aren’t, they may be flying under the radar and providing substandard work. Legitimate businesses will comply with state regulation.

Jeremy Anderson, general manager at Aire Serv, advised consumers to check that contractors are licensed and insured with their state. If contractors can’t provide the right paperwork and credentials, you should keep looking.

4. Look Out for Drive-By Scams

According to a congressional report on scams targeting senior citizens, home service fraud commonly occurs door-to-door. Con artists will drive through neighborhoods offering their services after a weather-related disaster, after a rash of break-ins, or as the seasons change. But once you’ve paid, they’ll provide unsatisfactory work or no work at all.

“Hire only professional contractors for cleanup and repair needs. Avoid any ‘drive-by contractors’ that may try to scam you after big storms,” urges Rainbow International president Mark Welstead. “It’s best to hire a reputable restoration company.”

5. Don’t Pay in Full Up-Front

While diagnostic and home visit fees do occur in the service industry, you should be wary of any contractor that demands payment in full ahead of time. According to the same congressional report, scammers will deliver poor work or abscond with your money after you’ve paid.

6. Pay with a Credit Card 

If a contractor only accepts cash, you should consider this a red flag—it’s too easy for them to pocket your cash with no consequences. Doug Rogers, president of Mr. Appliance, states that credit cards are the best way to protect yourself.

“It is a good idea to consider paying with a credit card so that you have some protection against attempted scammers, who want money first and plan to leave,” says Rogers. “Many credit card companies will help go to bat for you should you find yourself in the position of needing to dispute a charge amount.”

7. Use Your Best Judgment

If you’ve worked with quality contractors before, you know how it feels to receive quality, ethical service.

“At the end of the day, choose a reputable company that is transparent in its pricing, communicates properly with you, and stands behind its products and workmanship,” says Russ Jundt, founder and VP of Conserva Irrigation.

Protect your home and assets with these seven tips. By knowing what to look for, you can stop fraud in its tracks and avoid potential pitfalls.

Another way to protect your finances and save money is to shop smartly. For any home improvement project, be sure to carefully consider your options and take a few extra financial steps to avoid overspending. Peruse Credit.com’s Personal Finance Learning Center for more money-saving tips.

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