4 Credit Cards for At-Home Gourmet Chefs

Gourmet chefs who love cooking elevated cuisine at home should consider these money-saving credit cards that offer great food-related rewards.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Cooking at home is a way to hone your skills and try new dishes without having to shell out big bucks at a fancy restaurant. When making gourmet cuisine from the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of ways to save money on quality ingredients. Cooking every day can end up being expensive, especially if you’re making food that’s organic or exotic.

All of your grocery shopping and driving expenses can add up, so if you’re someone who loves to cook elevated food at home, you’ll want a credit card that rewards you for your spending. Read on for our picks for the best credit cards for at-home gourmet chefs. (If you plan to apply, be sure your credit score is high enough to qualify. You can check two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

1. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back at the supermarket on up to $6,000 of purchases per year. Any purchases over your $6,000 limit will still earn you 1% cash back. Additionally, there are 3% cash back rewards on gas.
Signup Bonus: $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your new card within the first three months.
Annual Fee: $95
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for a year, and then variable 13.99% to 24.99%.
Why We Picked It: The rewards are excellent and the APR can be relatively low, depending on your creditworthiness.
For Gourmet Chefs: This card is perfect for someone who spends ample time grocery shopping and cooking to their heart’s desire. The gas rewards are great if you’re someone who loves to scour faraway, specialty markets for the most authentic tahini paste.
Drawbacks: If you prefer to shop for ingredients online instead of spending at supermarkets and gas stations, this card won’t hold as much value for you.

2. PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: You’ll get 3% back on all supermarket purchases, 5% back on gas purchases and 1% back on all other purchases.
Signup Bonus: $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a year, and then variable 9.74% to 17.99%. 9.74% to 19.99% on purchases.
Why We Picked It: The intro APR (for balance transfers) period is long and the rewards are extremely good, plus there’s no annual fee.
For Gourmet Chefs: With all the points you earn, you can redeem rewards like dining gift cards and trips to food destinations, so this card is perfect for any foodie looking to spend on food in order to receive amazing food-related rewards.
Drawbacks: You have to become a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

3. Chase Freedom

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of purchases per quarter for rotating spending categories, unlimited 1% cash back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 in your first three months from account opening. Also earn a $25 bonus after adding an authorized user and making your first purchase within the same three month period.
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months. Then, variable 15.99% to 24.74%.
Why We Picked It: There’s no annual fee and the rotating reward categories are beneficial for those who like to spread out their rewards.
For Gourmet Chefs: The rewards categories vary from gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants so this card is perfect for a chef who likes to explore and try new foods. You’ll get 1% back on cookware and cookbooks, too.
Drawbacks: The APR is relatively high, and you don’t get to pick your own rewards categories. They’re selected each quarter by Chase.

4. Golden 1 Platinum Rewards

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas, grocery and restaurant spending, plus 1% cash back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 7.79% to 13.79%.
Why We Picked It: There are solid rewards and low rates, and no annual fee.
For Gourmet Chefs: Considering all the groceries you’ll be buying, you might as well save money while you expand your culinary repertoire at home. Plus, California is a large state — if you find yourself driving great lengths for food then this card is for you.
Drawbacks: You have to live in California to apply for this credit card, and there’s also no introductory APR period.

Image: Peopleimages

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card and Chase Freedom card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply 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.

The post 4 Credit Cards for At-Home Gourmet Chefs appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Credit Cards That Can Help You Save for a Car

Saving for a car can be much easier when you've got credit cards with major rewards and perks.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

The more you save up for a down payment on your next car, the better off you’ll be financially when you drive off the lot. A bigger down payment can reduce the amount you need to borrow,  increase the range of cars you can afford and even lower your monthly payments. But saving up for a car can be difficult when you’ve got many other expenses.

Cash back credit cards can help you save by earning money back on your purchases, putting cash back in your pocket.

These four credit cards can earn you cash back and that you can use to help you pay for your next ride.

1. Discover it Card

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for rotating bonus categories, 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: Discover will match the cash back you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for six months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99%
Why We Picked It: Long-term planners can use Discover’s cash back match for down payment assistance.
For Your New Car: This card earns 5% cash back on bonus categories, such as restaurants and home improvement stores, that rotate every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn in the first year. If you have a year or more to save up for your new ride, that bonus can help you make a final push to boost your down payment.
Drawbacks: To get the most out of this card, you’ll have to do the work of tracking and activating spending categories each quarter.

2. Chase Freedom

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for rotating bonus categories, 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: The 5% cash back bonus categories and signup bonus can help you quickly save.
For Your New Car: With 5% cash back on quarterly rotating bonus categories like gas stations and grocery stores, you’ll have plenty of ways to save. There’s also a $150 bonus when you spend $500 in three months, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
Drawbacks: Like Discover it, this card requires a bit more maintenance.

3. Blue Cash Preferred by American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in yearly spending at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: Multiple ways to earn special cash back rates means you’ll have many ways to save for your car.
For Your New Car: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and certain department stores and 1% cash back elsewhere, there’s no shortage of opportunities for saving. Plus, $150 bonus cash can go right toward that down payment.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee, which slightly reduces the potential profitability of your card.

4. Citi Double Cash

Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% upon payment
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 18 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: If you religiously pay off your balance each month, you’ll consistently earn 2% cash back on all purchases. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your New Car: With all purchases earning 2% cash back by the time you pay, you can earn a solid cash back rate no matter what you’re buying.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to wait until you pay to earn the full cash back rate.

Choosing a Credit Card to Help Save for a Car

Cash back is the primary way credit cards can help you save for a car. When picking a credit card to help you afford your next ride, you’ll want to choose a card that rewards the way you spend. You can try to find a card that offers special cash back rates on the purchase types you make most frequently. Or, if you tend to spread your purchases around at many types of merchants, a card with quarterly rotating purchase categories or a flat cash back rate on all purchases might be a good fit.

Be sure to check the cash back redemption options on any card you’re evaluating. Some cards will let you redeem your cash back as a deposit to your bank account, while others may only provide a credit to your credit card statement. The latter method can still help you save for a down payment as you’ll have a smaller credit card bill, but it’s something you should keep in mind.

It’s also important to remember that a cash back card works best when you pay off your balance in full each month, especially once any 0% APR period expires. That’s because interest charges will eat into the cash back you’ve earned.

What Credit Is Required for a Card That Helps You Afford a Car?

Cards with strong cash back offers and signup bonuses usually require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, you’ll want to be reasonably sure you can get approved, as a hard credit inquiry resulting from a credit card application can slightly hurt your credit score. You can check two of your credit scores completely free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Discover it, Chase Freedom, Blue Cash Preferred by American Express, and Citi Double Cash credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply 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 prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: BraunS

The post 4 Credit Cards That Can Help You Save for a Car appeared first on Credit.com.

Chase Freedom Review: Is 5% Easy?

If you’re on the hunt for a new rewards card, you’ve probably come across the Chase Freedom card during your search. The Chase Freedom card offers 1% cash back on all purchases and the opportunity to earn additional cash back if you spend money within revolving quarterly bonus categories.

Chase Freedom<sup>®</sup>

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase’s secure website

Chase Freedom®

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
5% on certain categories, 1% on everything else
APR
15.99%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99%-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

How to Earn Cash Back with the Chase Freedom Card

You automatically earn 1% cash back on all purchases as soon as you start using the card.

Every quarter, Chase introduces bonus categories where you can earn 5% cash back. In order to earn 5%, you need to activate the bonus category every quarter. If you don’t activate, you will only earn at the 1% cash back rate. You can only earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spending every quarter.

Here are the current 5% bonus categories for 2017:

July to September

Restaurants

Movie Theaters

The bonus categories for October will be announced in September.

Last Year’s Cash Back Calendar

Since you may have to wait several months for the holiday bonus category to be announced for 2017, here’s a look at the 5% categories for 2016 as a reference of what could be to come:

Keep in mind, the quarters can change annually, so the summer and fall categories for 2016 may not be the same for 2017. Although one thing you can be pretty sure of is the last quarter of the year will be a category that’s holiday shopping friendly. We’ll update cash back categories for 2017 when they’re announced.

How to Activate the Quarterly 5% Cash Back Categories

Now that you know the type of spending that will earn you 5% cash back, let’s touch on how it all works.

To earn 5% cash back each quarter, you must activate the quarterly bonus categories before the deadline. The activation deadline appears on the cash back calendar.

There are six easy ways to activate. Just choose the one that’s best for you.

  1. Online – Once you are a Chase Freedom cardholder, you can activate online at the Ultimate Rewards portal.
  2. Text message – Sign up for Chase Freedom 5% text reminders at online. You’ll get a text reminding you when it’s time to activate.
  3. Email – You can also sign up for email reminders from Chase.
  4. Phone – Call the number on the back of your card to let one of the specialists activate your 5% cash back.
  5. Chase location – Visit any Chase Bank and see a personal banker.
  6. ATM – Chase checking customers can activate their 5% cash back with one click via the ATM while making a cash withdrawal.

The base 1% cash back will always apply first to purchases on your statement. Each quarter you activate, spending that qualifies for an extra 4% cash back will appear in a separate section broken down by category.

What we like about the card

Up to 5% cash back if you are on top of things.

It’s hard to beat 5% back on spending you’re already doing, and if you pay attention and enroll in the categories every quarter, you can earn up to $300 in cash back a year compared to the base 1% cash back you earn on all purchases.

A good selection of 5% categories.

Chase comes up with fresh categories that sometimes include tie-ins with big retailers like Amazon so it’s not hard to find a way to earn 5% on your spending throughout the year.

You can pair it up with other Chase rewards.

If you have another card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can combine the rewards you earn from the Freedom with your other Ultimate Rewards points anytime.

What we don’t like about the card

Need to enroll manually.

There’s no automatic enrollment in the 5% categories, so you need to remember to take care of that every quarter. Chase lets you sign up for alerts so it’s not hard to get reminded, and you can enroll right from your phone. This is a card for maximizers, not people who want to set it and forget it.

A cap on 5% earning.

You only earn 5% back on up to $1,500 worth of spending in the designated categories each quarter. That’s $1,500 total across all the categories, not $1,500 for each category.

Right off the bat, you can probably tell a card with changing quarterly categories like the Chase Freedom card isn’t for the passive cash back rewards earner. There’s a lot involved here.

You need to activate the 5% cash back bonus each quarter. The cash back categories can change each year. And you must be a mindful spender who remembers when to swipe the Chase Freedom card to earn 5% back.

There’s a fair amount of fine print that dictates what will and won’t qualify for 5% cash back. As the new categories roll out, you’ll want to pay close attention to the type of purchases that are eligible.

A noticeable category from 2016 that’s not yet on the 2017 calendar is wholesale clubs. The category may be included later, but it’s a notable exclusion that may impact wholesale club shoppers who previously relied on the Chase Freedom card for cash back on that spending.

How Much Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Worth?

The Chase Freedom card is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, so the Ultimate Rewards portal is where you go to manage and redeem points. Cash back earned from the Chase Freedom card is tracked in Ultimate Rewards points – $1 in cash back equals 100 points.

When you redeem points for rewards, for the most part, 100 points also equals $1 (and 1 point equals $0.01).

The true value of points earned varies slightly. Here’s the breakdown:

Statement credit or cash deposit redemption: 100 points = $1; you can redeem for cash starting at 2,000 points

Gift card redemption: 100 points = $1

Travel redemption: 100 points = $1; you can use a combination of points and your credit card for bookings

Amazon product redemption: Below is a sample conversion, but it’s subject to change

If you do choose the Chase Freedom card, make sure to redeem your points in a way that you’ll get the most value. Choosing Amazon products may not be the way to go.

Combine with a Chase Sapphire Credit Card

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, you can combine your Freedom Ultimate Rewards points with your Sapphire Ultimate Rewards points. That means you would have all of the redemption opportunities associated with the popular Sapphire cards, including the ability to transfer your points to frequent flier programs like United and Southwest.

How to Qualify for the Chase Freedom Card

You need to have good or excellent credit in order to be approved for the credit card. In addition to having a good credit score, Chase will consider your employment status and income to ensure that you would be able to afford any new debt.

Overview of Card Benefits

For benefits and protections, the Chase Freedom card offers:

  • Zero liability protection means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information. This is a fairly common credit card benefit.
  • Chip-enabled card. Just one warning: this is a chip and signature card (and not a chip and pin card). While that should be fine for all of your spending in America, it might make using the card overseas a bit more difficult when only chip-and-pin is accepted.
  • Purchase protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Price protection provides that if a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item, $2,500 per year.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver means you can decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.

Alternatives to Chase Freedom

How does Chase Freedom stack up versus the competition? It really depends upon how you use your card. 5% cash back is one of the highest rates on the market, but you need to activate and spend in that category to earn rewards. Otherwise you would be earning a not very exciting 1%.

We will now compare Chase Freedom to three other types of cash back credit cards:

  • Discover it – a credit card that offers rich cash back rewards
  • Flat rate cash back credit cards, where you can earn 2%
  • Bonus category cards

Discover it Cashback Match

There are a lot of similarities between Discover it and Chase Freedom. Both cards have no annual fee and pay a base cash back rate of 1%. Both cards offer 5% cash back in rotating categories. Both cards require you to opt in to the 5% cash back categories and cap the 5% cash back to the first $1,500 of spend. But there are two areas where these cards are different.

The first big difference is the intro bonus. With Chase Freedom, you can earn $150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days. Discover, on the other hand, will match all of the cash back that you earned during the first year – at the end of your first year as a new cardmember. There is no cap to the sign-on bonus. If you are a big spender (especially in the bonus categories), you would earn much more during Year 1 with Discover. Here is a comparison of first year earnings:

  • You spend $1,000 a month in 1% categories
  • You spend $500 a month in 5% categories
  • The sign-on bonus at Chase would be $150
  • The sign-on bonus at Discover, at the end of the first year, would be $420

While you get the intro bonus much quicker at Chase – for big spenders, it pays to wait until the end of Year 1 at Discover.

The second big difference is the categories. Each quarter Discover and Chase announce their bonus categories, and they can be different. At Discover, the 5% category until September 2017 is restaurants.

If you are a big spender, the Discover it first year bonus makes it a good choice. If you are constantly looking for good deals, having both cards in your wallet to take advantage of the bonus categories might be a good choice.

Flat Rate Cash Back Cards

If opting into bonus categories every month sounds painful, you might want to consider a card that pays a flat rate on all of your spending. Whereas Chase Freedom offers a combination of 5% on bonus categories and 1% on everything else – you can get 2% flat cash back with some credit cards.

Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash pays 1% cash back as you spend and 1% cash back as you pay your bill. If you pay your statement balance in full every month and claim the cash back as a check or deposit into your checking account, you can earn double cash back.

Alliant Cashback Visa

Another new option is from Alliant, a credit union that anyone can join. With the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card, you can earn 3% cash back during the first year (with no annual fee) and then 2.5% cash back thereafter. Just be warned: after the first year, there is a $59 annual fee. If you spend more than $1,000 a month on the card, the Alliant card will be a better deal than Citi Double Cash.

Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Cards

If you spend a lot of money in a single category every month, you might want to consider a credit card that pays a higher rate on just that category. For example, if you spend a lot of money on gas, you can find a card that pays 5% cash back on gas. If groceries are your biggest expense, you can find a card with 6% on groceries. You can find the best cash back credit cards by category here.

Who the card is best for

Cash back credit cards are great ways to put a little extra money in your pocket. Just remember to pay the statement balance in full and on time every month. Interest and late fees can quickly eat away at the cash back that you earn.

Chase Freedom is a good choice for people who are willing to opt in to the bonus categories each quarter and actually spend a lot of money in the bonus categories. If you don’t take advantage of the generous 5% bonus categories, you will be left with a card paying only 1%, which is not very exciting.

Rewards Cards: Frequently Asked Questions

The Ultimate Rewards points you earn from the Freedom don’t expire as long as you keep the account open. If you close your account, you will forfeit your points, though if you keep another Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards open you can transfer your points to that account before you close your Freedom, and keep them alive.

Credit card companies rely on merchant codes provided by payment networks to determine the category of a purchase. Some stores might have a merchant code that doesn’t fit what you might think the purchase will be. For example, buying groceries at a Walmart isn’t a grocery purchase because Walmart doesn’t code itself as a grocery store. There’s no way to know for sure in advance what category a merchant falls under, so be aware of that before relying on the cash back for a category from a merchant you haven’t shopped at before.

Don’t let those cash back promises pressure you into spending more than you can afford. If you don’t pay your statement balance in full each month, you could get slapped with sky-high interest charges. That would totally negate any benefit you might get from earning cash back. Cash back cards are only valuable if you can pay your bill in full and capture the entirety of your cash back rewards.

It depends on the card. Some cards allow you redeem cash back dollar for dollar as a statement credit, which can help lower your total balance. Just keep in mind that applying cash back to your card statement does not count as a monthly payment. Other cards will increase the value of your cash back if you spend on certain categories, like travel. Review your terms carefully to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Find the card that fits your day-to-day spending needs best, beyond the flashy sign-up bonus offers and cash back promises. Pay your bill in full each month (spend only what you can afford to pay off).

The post Chase Freedom Review: Is 5% Easy? appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

5 Credit Cards Bargain Hunters Will Love

These cards can help sweeten the deals you find even more.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

There are so many ways to find great deals today. Deal websites will do the legwork for you, delivering deep discounts on a range of products right to your inbox. But old-school bargain hunters know the thrill of finding a great deal yourself isn’t easily replicated.

Certain credit cards can help sweeten a deal or even guide savvy sales seekers in the right direction. Here are five.

1. Discover it

Rewards: 5% cash back on quarterly rotating purchase categories (on up to $1,500 per quarter), 1% cash back on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Intro 0% APR for 14 months, then variable 11.99% to 23.99%
Why We Picked It: Quarterly rotating purchase categories will continuously give you new types of deals to hunt down.
Benefits: The card earns 5% on purchase categories like gas stations, dining and wholesale clubs that change every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Plus, Discover will match your cash back the first year, so the bargains you find will be even more valuable. Price protection guarantees the lowest price, with Discover reimbursing you if you find a lower price on a purchase within 90 days.
Drawbacks: You have no control over which categories earn 5% cash back.

2. Chase Freedom

Rewards: 5% cash back on quarterly rotating purchase categories (on up to $1,500 per quarter), 1% cash back on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on rotating purchase categories, offering an extra incentive for hunting down certain deals.
Benefits: Quarterly rotating purchase types like gas, groceries and drug store purchases earn 5% cash back. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Chase will refund you the difference if you find a purchase listed for a cheaper price within 90 days.
Drawbacks: If you’re not interested in the 5% cash back category for a quarter, you’ll have to wait it out.

3. PayPal Extras MasterCard

Rewards: Three points for every dollar spent on gas and dining, two points for every dollar spent with eBay and PayPal, one point for every dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 20.74% or 24.74%
Why We Picked It: Those that love the thrill of the auction can earn points as they hunt for eBay bargains.
Benefits: Dining and gas purchases earn three points per dollar, eBay and PayPal purchases earn two points per dollar and every other purchase earns one point per dollar. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, cash back in your PayPal account and more.
Drawbacks: The APR is high right off the bat.

4. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 5% back on Amazon purchases with a Prime member (3% without Prime), 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, 1% back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $70 Amazon gift card upon approval
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: Amazon is the definitive online retailer, and Amazon bargain hunters will get extra 5% cash back with a Prime membership.
Benefits: The percentages you earn back on purchases can be redeemed for Amazon orders, cash back and more. With 5% back at Amazon, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on everything else, you’ll be saving on a wide range of purchase types. For the frequent online shopper, this card could be valuable.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to pay for a Prime membership to get the most value out of this card.

5. Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores, 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $250 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: If you scour the supermarket aisles for sales and scan gas station signs for the lowest price, this card is for you.
Benefits: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and certain department stores and 1% cash back on everything else, you’ll always have a way to supercharge a bargain.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee.

How to Choose a Card for Bargain Hunting

To choose a card that helps you find and extend bargains, examine the types of deals on which you’re most focused.

If an incentive will motivate you to find a bargain on any purchase type, you might be better off with rotating purchase categories. If you frequently hunt down bargains of the same variety, like gas or online purchases, try to find a card that rewards those purchase types most.

A credit card that provides bargains on purchases you don’t make won’t do you any good. Choose the card that rewards the deals you love to find.

What Is Required to Get a Card for Bargains?

Cards that bestow rewards upon deal lovers may require good to excellent credit. As a savvy shopper, you should know where your credit stands before you apply. A hard inquiry from a credit card application can cause your credit score to dip a few points. If you aren’t sure about your credit, you can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: DragonImages

At publishing time, the Discover it, Chase Freedom and Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply 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.

The post 5 Credit Cards Bargain Hunters Will Love appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills

The cost of pet supplies can add up, but these cards can help you save.

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

Your pets are more than just cute — they’re members of the family. Like any family member, you want to keep them happy and healthy. But the cost of pet food, veterinarian visits, medication and other supplies can add up.

Some credit cards make spending on your pet a walk in the park using cash back, rewards points or 0% interest offers.

The best cards for pet lovers make it easier to afford your animal friends. These credit cards do the trick.

1. American Kennel Club Visa

The Draw: Three points per dollar spent at pet stores, vets and the AKC, two points per dollar spent on gas and groceries and one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 12.98%, 18.99% or 22.99%
Why We Picked It: This card rewards pet purchases, helps with gas and groceries and supports the AKC.
Benefits: All purchases made on this card earn rewards points, with special value put on pet, fuel and grocery expenses. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. Plus, a percentage of sales made on the card goes to benefit the AKC, an organization that supports dog breeders and canine health. You can get your card customized to include your pet’s photo.
Drawbacks: If you’re not a fan of dog breeding, keep looking.

2. Chase Freedom

The Draw: 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% unlimited cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: The card earns 5% cash back on rotating categories, but Shop through Chase can help you save on pet purchases.
Benefits: Cardholders earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories such as grocery stores and gas. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. You’ll also get access to Shop through Chase, which offers 1% to 15% extra cash back rewards at select online retailers, including PetSmart. Plus, there’s a $150 signup bonus.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track and activate cash-back categories on a quarterly basis, this card will be a headache.

3. Amazon Rewards Visa Card

The Draw: 3% cash back at Amazon.com (5% if you have Amazon Prime), 2% cash back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: If you prefer to shop for your furry friends online, the Amazon card can help you earn back some money.
Benefits: Your earnings can be redeemed for cash back, Amazon purchases and more. With cash back ranging from 3% to 5% on Amazon.com purchases, you can save on those bulk bags of dog food.
Drawbacks: This card won’t deliver as much value if you prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar locations.

4. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

The Draw: 6% cash back at supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: This card is a no-brainer if you make pet purchases at the grocery store.
Benefits: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, this card can earn cash quick if you make pet purchases at the grocery store. Plus, that $150 bonus boosts the first-year value of the card.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to pay an annual fee of $95.

5. Citi Simplicity

The Draw: A 0% intro APR period that’s perfect for big balances
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 21 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: For large vet bills, this card offers plenty of time to pay down your balance interest-free. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Benefits: The card’s greatest asset is the 21-month intro 0% APR offer. If you have a large vet bill coming due, charging it to this card (or initiating a balance transfer) would give you nearly two years to pay it off with no interest.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards points or cash-back offers, so the card isn’t as valuable for everyday spending.

How to Choose a Card for Pet Expenses

If you’re looking for a card solely for pet expenses, choose a card that most rewards your supplier of choice. For instance, if you buy all your pet supplies online, the Amazon.com credit card might be best. If you buy all your supplies at grocery stores, a card with a high grocery store cash-back rate would be appropriate. If you need to transfer a hefty vet bill from an existing card to a new one, a card with a long intro 0% APR period would be suitable.

However, if you also plan to use your card for everyday spending, you’ll probably want to look at your spending activity and choose a card that will reward your overall behavior. This way, you’ll get rewarded on everything you buy.

Consider your goals, spending habits and the needs of your animal companions before you choose a card.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card for My Pet Spending?

Cards with cash back, spending rewards and other enticing offers usually require good to excellent credit. You should know where your credit stands before you apply for a credit card, as a hard inquiry into your credit can lower your score a few points. You can check your score for free on Credit.com before you apply to reduce the risk of a rejected application.

Image: bluecinema 

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom, Citi Simplicity and Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply 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.

The post 5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills appeared first on Credit.com.

Capital One Venture or Chase Freedom: Which Card Is Right for You?

The Capital One Venture Rewards card and Chase Freedom card have plenty of perks. Here's how they compare.

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

Both the Capital One Venture Rewards card and the Chase Freedom card are major players in the rewards credit card space. They both offer cardholders value, but are also considerably different. The Capital One Venture card offers flexible rewards that can be used on travel, while the Chase Freedom card is primarily a cash-back card.

Comparing the Rewards Programs

When you sign up for the Chase Freedom card, you receive a $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. You can also earn an additional $25 if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the same three-month period. Each quarter you can earn 5% cash back, on up to $1,500 within different rotating categories. One quarter the category could be gas stations and department stores while the next quarter it could be grocery stores and public transportation. All other purchases earn 1% back.

In contrast, you earn 40,000 miles after signing up and spending $3,000 in the first three months with the Capital One Venture Rewards card. You also receive an unlimited two miles per dollar on every purchase you make. There are no bonus categories to remember because you receive the same value on each purchase.

Redeeming Your Rewards

Redemptions can be done in a couple of ways when you have the Chase Freedom card. You can receive a statement credit or direct deposit into a checking or savings account. You can also use your rewards to shop on Amazon.com or to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also redeem rewards for gift cards. Another popular option is to transfer rewards into Chase Ultimate Reward points. This can only be done if you also have another card that earns Ultimate Reward points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or a business card like the Ink Preferred. Once you have Ultimate Reward points, these can be transferred to different loyalty partners like Hyatt, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and more. (You can read more about redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points here.)

Redeeming your miles from the Capital One Venture Rewards card is simple. Each mile you earn is worth one cent. That means the signup bonus would have a value of $400. The miles you earn can be cashed out as a statement credit toward any travel expense making this a really simple, straight-forward system.

Additional Perks

Chase offers price protection, which will reimburse you if the price on an item you purchase decrease within 120 days. You also receive an extended warranty on your purchases from both cards.

Because the Capital One Venture Rewards card is a Visa Signature card, you also receive other benefits like car rental insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and 24/7 concierge service both at home and when you are traveling. When you use your card to book hotel rooms, you can receive complimentary room upgrades and other hotel savings.

How the Fees Stack Up

One of the best parts of the Chase Freedom card is that you receive these rewards and benefits without paying an annual fee. The card also has an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period ends the rate changes to a variable 15.74% to 24.74%. If you plan on traveling outside of the United States, there will be a 3% foreign transaction fee.

With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you will not pay an annual fee the first year. However, each subsequent year there will be a fee of $59. You also will not receive an introductory 0% APR period. The standard rate on purchases is a variable 13.74%, 18.74 or 23.74%, depending on creditworthiness. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Why You Might Choose the Chase Freedom Card

The Chase Freedom card has been one of the best cash-back cards for a long time. Earning up to 5% back is an attractive feature. Because there is some work involved, this card is perfect for anyone that doesn’t mind keeping track of bonus categories. Chase also requires cardholders to opt into the bonus categories each quarter, which means you need be proactive. However, if you are looking for a card that offers generous cash back and no annual fee, you can’t go wrong with the Chase Freedom card.

Why You Might Choose the Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Anyone looking for a travel rewards credit card, but doesn’t have the time or desire to keep track of spending within categories, will love the Capital One Venture Reward card. Not only will you earn a generous signup bonus, but you also earn flat rate rewards on every purchase. It can’t get much simpler. Though you will have an annual fee of $59 after the first year, the card is perfect for anyone who travels internationally because there are no foreign transaction fees.

Before You Apply …

Regardless of the card you choose, be sure to check your credit before applying. You may be rejected if your credit scores aren’t good enough for you to qualify. You can get two free credit scores and a credit snapshot at Credit.com to keep track of how you’re doing.

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom card and Capital One Venture Rewards card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply 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.

Image: andresr

The post Capital One Venture or Chase Freedom: Which Card Is Right for You? appeared first on Credit.com.