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The Best Credit Cards for 2014

A while ago I asked readers to name their favorite credit cards. That request spawned numerous comments, so I thought I’d distill the results for you guys. What follows is a breakdown of the cards that received the most love. This post will be updated regularly as offers change, so check back to get an update on the best credit card deals for 2014. Loyal and new readers, thank you for your comments!

Best Overall Credit Cards for 2014

For consumers who are looking for great cards for everyday use, these cards represent some of your best options. All of these three top picks have low interest rates, good rewards benefits, no annual fee, and have received positive comments from Five Cent Nickel readers:


1. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express


Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has no annual fee and a robust cash back rewards program. Get $100 back, after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.  Terms and restrictions apply.


2. Chase Slate®


With Chase Slate®, you can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and a $0 annual fee. Plus, you’ll receive your monthly FICO® score for free.

Specifically, the $0 introductory balance transfer fee offer means you can transfer your higher rate balances during the first 60 days of account-opening and you will pay no balance transfer fee. After 60 days, the balance transfer fee is $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Slate® with Blueprint helps you pay down your balances faster and save on interest.


3. Chase Freedom®


With Chase Freedom®, you get a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account-opening. You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. You can enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. And get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This card is best for consumers with good to excellent credit that like to earn bonus rewards in varying categories.


Best Balance-Transfer Credit Cards for 2014

Here are the most popular 0% balance transfer credit card offers from different issuers. Balance transfer credit cards are good for off-loading your high-interest credit card debt. When combined with a high-yield online savings account these cards are also great for 0% credit card profiteering. These cards offer 0% APR and some offer rewards and/or signup bonuses.


1. PenFed Promise Visa® Card


Absolutely no fees, including no fee on balances transferred. Introductory purchase rate 7.49% APR for the first 36 months. After the introductory period, the purchase APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate, and is currently 9.99%. This card has no annual fee. Applying for this card takes a little bit of hoop-jumping, see our post on PenFed Credit Cards.


2. Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card


0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, which also applies to this offer. This card has no annual fee.


3. Chase Slate®


Chase Slate® offers a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and a $0 annual fee. You need good to excellent credit to apply for this card.

The $0 introductory balance transfer fee is for transfers made within 60 days of account-opening. The fee for balances transferred after 60 days of account-opening is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.


Best Rewards Charge and Credit Cards for 2014

Rewards charge and credit cards are great tools for maximizing your expenditures. All you have to do is just sign up and then spend money as you normally would to accrue points; most of these cards have no annual fee, so it’s a no-brainer but it is advice-able to keep a check on your credit report too. Earn rewards for everyday purchases. Keep in mind charge cards don’t have associated interest rates, every bill is due in full each payment period.


1. Chase Freedom®


Chase Freedom® — Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. You can enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Then there is also unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Cash back rewards don’t expire.


2. Chase Sapphire Preferred®


Fully 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership – that’s worth $500 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.


3. American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card


With this offer you can get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. You can earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. For an additional bonus you can get 15,000 points after you spend $30,000 in purchases on the Card in one year. Terms and restrictions apply. This is a charge card, you pay your balance in full each month.


4. PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card


Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on airfare purchases. Spend $2,500 in the first three months of opening the card and earn 20,000 bonus points.


5. Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Earn 20,000 Bonus Points


You can earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening and redeem the points for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards.


Best Low-Intro-Rate Credit Cards for 2014

The following low-interest rate credit cards feature either a low fixed rate APR or a low-introductory APR.


1. Chase Freedom®


The Chase Freedom® card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. There is a $0 annual fee. You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. You can enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. In addition, there is unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.


2. Chase Slate®


Chase Slate® offers a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and a $0 annual fee. You need good to excellent credit to apply for this card. The introductory balance transfer fee is $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account-opening. For transfers made after 60 days of account-opening, the fee is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.


3. PenFed Promise Visa® Card


Absolutely no fees, including no fee on balances transferred. This card offers 7.49% introductory purchase APR for the first 36 months. After that, the purchase APR will vary with the Prime Rate, and is currently 9.99% APR. No annual fee.

Related: Zero Percent Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Posted by on December 18, 2007.

Categories: Credit Cards

50 Responses

  1. Siena: They must’ve updated the program since you signed up, as the application page clearly states that there is no limit on the amount of cash you can earn with the Costco card.

    by Nickel on Dec 18, 2007 at 3:28 pm

  2. I have the True Earnings from Costco–there is a cap of $500 a year you can earn.

    Interesting no Citi card represented. I guess everybody has learned to dislike Citi as much as I have.

    by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2007 at 3:20 pm

  3. That true earnings Card from AMEX looks like a stinker unless you are a traveling salesman. It promotes eating out which goes against basic personal finance rules for saving money.

    I think that should be removed from the list as it is counter productive in the end.

    by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2007 at 3:48 pm

  4. I have the True Earnings, and Nickel you’re right, there’s no cap, I’ve already earned over $700 this year. (Yes, I travel and eat out alot, but the majority was when I was able to charge my wedding reception @ 3% cash back) I pay off the card each month, so it’s a good deal.

    Cheapster – It doesn’t actually promote eating out. I mean, when deciding between eating at home and going out, it was never that 3% cash back that pushed me over the edge.
    It’s just about being realistic on what you spend your money on – and picking the most advantageous creditcard.

    Eating out isn’t always evil. My friend is an attorney and works 70+ hours a week. He rarely has time to cook and eats almost all his meals out. But he also makes $175,000+ a year. I guess he could get a job with less hours, and cook himself every meal, but that doesn’t really make sense.

    I know that’s the extreme, but the bottom line is everyone likes to spend their money on something, and works hard to be able to afford that “luxury”.

    by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2007 at 5:37 pm

  5. True Earnings for Costco Business if you can qualify is really good since it also adds 5% on Costco gas to the normal card. (most other gas cards disqualify warehouse gas)

    by Anonymous on Dec 19, 2007 at 6:53 pm

  6. Most people don’t spend more than $1800 in groceries? You’ve gotta be kidding me! That’s only $150 per month. Maybe if you’re single, but I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people spend more than $150/month on groceries.

    And you also forgot to account for gas station and drugstore purchases. These also qualify for the 5% reward.

    Don’t get me wrong… Pairing the Blue Cash Card with something like your Fidelity card, or Chase Freedom (3% on you 3 highest spending categories) is a smart strategy. But if you have “typical” spending patterns (and especially if you have a family) it’s hard to beat the Amex Blue Cash.

    by Nickel on Dec 21, 2007 at 10:31 am

  7. As regards the Blue Cash vs. Fidelity:

    For the first 6500, your redemption rate is 0.5% vs. 1.5%: Basically, you give up $65 in rewards for the Blue Cash card…

    Is giving up $65 in rewards worth the 5% cash back on groceries. Well, just compare the 1.5% you would get at Fidelity with the 5% you get with Blue Cash. How much grocery shopping would make up for the $65 loss: Answer: $1800 of groceries. Most people do spend more than $1800 in groceries, which makes the Blue Cash a good deal.

    A lot of places don’t accept American Express, so the Fidelity card has a good use as an overall card (once you’ve hit the $6500 limit for Blue Cash).

    I am grandfathered in on a 5% cash back on Groceries through a Chase card (no longer offered). That makes the Blue Cash card redundant for me.

    by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2007 at 10:22 am

  8. Another good thing about Amex Blue Cash is its Buyer’s Assurance Plan which Mirrors manufacturers’ warranties for covered products purchased entirely with your Card account, for up to one additional year.

    by Anonymous on Dec 24, 2007 at 9:24 am

  9. I currently have four main cards:

    1) Discover Open Road: 5% cash back on gas and car repairs (on first $100 in purchases a month — this is usually a tank of gas and some months an oil change), 0% APR for the first year. The other rewards are not much to write home about but the 0% has in handy. (I have cash in hand to pay it off when the time comes.) They also will give you a temporary credit card number that’s only good for one purchase, which is a nice security feature when dealing with online merchants you’ve never done business with.

    2) Chase Freedom MasterCard: You all know this one. I use it for groceries and a couple of other categories I get 3% on. I was using it for everything, until I got…

    3) FNBO Direct Visa: 2% on everything for the first year. I use this one for everything I don’t get 3% on with the Chase card.

    4) Chase Buy.com VISA. Basically the same deal as the Amazon card, 3% on purchases from Buy.com and 1% on everything else, with a $30 spiff after your first purchase. Except that Buy.com offers 10% off most of Amazon’s prices on books. And I don’t have to pay sales tax like I do with Amazon (I live near Seattle).

    I also just got a WaMu personal business card that is 0% on purchases for the first 18 months. They also give you a free FICO score every month, which is nice (though it’s from your TransUnion report). I have some fairly big technology purchases I will be making soon and not having to pay for them until 2009 will be nice; I will earn north of 7.5% by being able to keep the cash in the bank all that time.

    by Anonymous on Dec 30, 2007 at 11:31 pm

  10. Except discover has the worst customer service ever and is a pain in the ass to deal with. I have twice canceled discover cards because of how frustrated they made me. I like the Amex options. I might switch out my Amex card.

    by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  11. My experience with Discover has been quite the opposite.

    Most of my interaction with customer service has been regard to payments

    They have accepted 1 day late payments with no fees, and when I missed payments later than that, I was able to get them to reverse the charges based on my payment history.
    Once, when I was in the hospital, and I didn’t have my card or number with me. I called them up and explained the situation, and helped me make a phone payment with fee. Plus they are the only credit card I have that allows me to pay by phone (on the automated system) with no fee.

    Another thing I like is that I can choose the payment due date. Other cards I’ve owned move it around depending on whether or not I paid off the balance, and how many days in the billing cycle.

    At one time I was really irritated with the interest rate on the card, so I called them up to complain. I told them that it was higher than all my other cards, and they reduced the interest rate to 10.99. It’s not phenomenally low, but it’s decent. Most of the time I pay if off, but it’s reasonable if I need some flexibility.

    I’ve always been nice to the customer service reps and they’ve been nice to me in return.

    Now Citibank … that’s another story.

    Some time ago I got a Citi rewards card offer in the mail that promised a $100 gift card for my choice of a number of popular retailers. The only conditions were transferring a balance and spending charging at least $100 within the first 3 months. I followed the conditions and kept calling about when the bonus points would be added. They kept telling me it takes a couple of months to show up. They never did. When I escalated it, they told me they knew of no such offer, and I had to produce the original offer (which I had already tossed). They offered some measly compensation, which I refused. I cancelled the card and they lost a good customer.

    by Anonymous on Jul 29, 2008 at 1:17 pm

  12. Has anyone any feedback on the Capital One Card Lab? On the Capital One website, you can choose the rewards and the APR of your card. Of course, you have to be approved, but it offers a 10% CASHBACK rate on every purchase, with no annual cap. Everything else seems standard (25 day grace period, etc.) but I’d love if fivecentnickel could uncover any uglies associated with this option.

    by Anonymous on Jul 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm

  13. I would like to suggest a couple of other credit cards:

    AssociatedBank pays 5% cash back at Gasoline Stations, Groceries and Drugstores. $300/year limit. Must apply by phone. 1-877-577-9485. (affiliated with Citicard)

    Orchard Bank/Household Bank (both associated with HSBC) offer cards with 2% cash back, $400/year limit. May have to speak with a representative to see if they are still available. The 2% seems to apply everywhere, even WalMart.

    I probably average 3.5% cash back using these two cards appropriately. Charge almost everything I can. Payoff balance each month.

    by Anonymous on Oct 2, 2008 at 10:16 am

  14. Douglas: Last time I checked, the 2% on everything HSBC card was no longer available.

    by Nickel on Oct 2, 2008 at 10:19 am

  15. Nickel,

    Perhaps you are correct, especially given the uncertain financial situation.

    The two HSBC 2% cards used to appear and disappear regularly on their websites. But even if not being advertised they seemed to be available if requested.

    Personally, I would advise applying for one and then canceling it unless they are not/will not give the 2% cash back option.

    I just called the Associated Bank phone number. The automated message clearly states the 5% card is still available.

    Doug

    ps – any insight on exactly why these cash back cards have a maximum limit? If the Credit Card companies are making money with a $300 limit, wouldn’t they make twice as much money with a $600 limit. The only reason I can see is people overspend the limit and then get no additional benefit.

    by Anonymous on Oct 2, 2008 at 3:57 pm

  16. Nickel,

    Following my previous post I went browsing. Found this link: http://www.disclosure.hsbccreditcard.com/media/disclosure?cmd_lpage=&indicator=HS007&media=H1AG037WA_UNJEI1

    Apparently HSBC is offering a Weekend Card which pays 1% on weekdays but 2% on weekends. But if you read the fine print they seem to indicate that the 2% all the time card is still available as of 9/15/2008.

    A final comment or two;

    With gasoline selling at $4 per gallon, 5% cash back is a reduction in price of $0.20 per gallon.

    Assume I charge $1000 per month and receive 3.5% cash back using the two cards I am proposing. That amounts to $35 per month ($420 per year) cash back, not small change!

    Doug

    by Anonymous on Oct 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm

  17. I was wondering why the Chase Freedom card didn’t make the top list? I noticed it was mentioned positively in a couple of the comments. At least for Chase banking customers, it’s a pretty good deal (0% intro rate, fairly low APR after that, and 3% back on the 3 highest spending categories).

    by Anonymous on Nov 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

  18. They used to be on the list, but Chase asked me to remove them. Don’t ask why.

    by Nickel on Nov 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm

  19. My husband and I each have our own American Express Blue Cash card. In order to reach that $6500 threshold sooner, would it be a good idea for me to get an “extra” card on my account for us both to use this year, then switch and both use his account next year? Not as a joint account, but as an extra cardholder… Any thoughts?

    by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm

  20. @ nickel (post #18)

    Why?

    by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  21. I would like to know why Chase asked Nickel to remove them too; all of my cards are Chase and the Visa Borders and Amazon reward cards are what I use the most. They are paid off every month so I haven’t had to pay the interest at 10.99 and 13.99 respectively. The problem I have now is that all my cards have sent the wonderful notice that the rates are no longer fixed. All of my Chase cards and my fiancee’s AmEX and Dicover have sent notices that the rates have been converted to variables. Anyone know who is still offering fixed rate cards?

    by Anonymous on May 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

  22. i bet is bcoz Chase is about to change “some customers” benefits. And, would not like everyone compare.

    by Anonymous on May 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm

  23. Did I miss something on the Citi Forward offer? It looks like they only give you points which you can redeem for cashback at a 1:0.7 ratio. Is there another link for cashback instead of points?

    by Anonymous on May 25, 2009 at 1:10 pm

  24. ciswt: They give you ThankYou points which I typically redeem for higher value store gift cards. Once you hit the $100 price point, you can exchange them for a penny per point (i.e., $100 for 10k points). It’s not straight cash, but I shop at places like Home Depot often enough that gift cards are just as good.

    by Nickel on May 25, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  25. Discover doesn’t pay 1% until you’ve charged over $1,000 or even more than that. They start at .25%, then go up to .50%. It’s graduated, so basically I use Discover for the 5% promotions they offer throughout the year. Each quarter they will offer the 5% usually on up to $400 of purchases in certain categories. For instance, this quarter it’s on gasoline, hotels, bookstores and amusement parks. The best thing about this is that you can buy gift cards worth $25 with $20 of your Discover Card earnings. I’ve earned several gift cards over the years.

    by Anonymous on Jul 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

  26. Looking to get a new reward card soon. I currently have a Visa United Airlines card and am not happy with it. I was thinking I would get the Citi Forward card and an American Express Blue Card. I think I should be able to get over the $6500. The two cards would get be 5% on restaurants, groceries, and Amazon. Can I ask why you have the Discover Card over the American Express Blue? The Discover give 5%/1% and American Express give 5%/1.25%. Is it because of the $6500 minimum? Thanks

    by Anonymous on Aug 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  27. Chetan: You only get the 5%/1.25% for purchases in excess of $6500. In other words, once you hit the $6500 level, the higher rewards apply from that point forward.

    by Nickel on Aug 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm

  28. just a question just filed for bk then got one credit card from first premier any thoughts about this credit card

    by Anonymous on Oct 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  29. Marion, my thoughts are…stay away! Their cards has many, many fees, that are just not worth it! It’s much cheaper to get prepaid Visa/MC/AMex/Discover cards at your local store or bank. Look at all the fees that you will pay, most of the 1-time fees are imposed when the account line is open..usually minumum credit line of $250. The FirstPremier credit card fees include: Account Set-up=$29 (1-time fee), Program Fee=$95 (1-time fee), Annual Fee=$7 each month. Other fees: Credit Limit Increase Fee of $25 each time your account is eligible and approved for a credit limit increase; a $3.95 internet access, 1-time fee; an account maintenance fee $3 for any month in which you have an outstanding balance of $20 or greater after you have closed your account. Another fee: an Autodraft Fee, where they impose $11 charge for each payment made through an autodraft service they provide. Autodraft payments requested through their automated systems (like voice response, internet) is $7 per transaction. This is ridiculous! Late payment and over-the-limit fees=$29 each.

    by Anonymous on Oct 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm

  30. just found a credit card better than first premiere since i am waiting for my bk to be charge off. i been pre approve for a hsbc credit card. when should my wife and i apply for this card at 14.99%,should this be a everday card

    by Anonymous on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm

  31. Check out Charles Schwab’s Rewards Visa. It pays 2% cash (deposited into a brokerage account) and there is no limit. You can withdraw the cash immediately if you want, or invest it. It’s the best deal that I’ve seen.

    by Anonymous on Nov 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

  32. Hey all,

    When you sign up for different cards over various times, what do you do with your old cards? Say I have older rewards cards I am not using, because I found a better one. Do I call and cancel them? Does that hurt my credit score? Thanks

    by Anonymous on Dec 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm

  33. well. this really freaks me out. i decided to pay down my credit card balances to increase my FICO score. Involves 3 chase cards. First card had credit limit of 5,800 and I paid it down to a balance of 300$. Second card had a limit of 5,000$ and I paid it down to a balance of 200$. Received letters from Chase after these payments that my limits were reduced to
    900$ on each card. My FICO is 750. Wanted to increase it to 800. I closed these two accounts plus my Chase professional account that had also had the limit reduced from 12,000 to 5,000. I really don’t care if closing the accounts lowers my FICO score. It felt so good to tell that it lost a client for good. I’ll never do any business that involves Chase for the rest of my life. Reducing balances on credit cards lets them ruduce the credit limits. That’s all it does. Next month I’m going to decrease the balance on my Target card from 8,900$ to 900$ with a limit of
    9,200$. I bet Target reduces my limit to 1,000$. And then I’ll close that account too. You can’t win with the credit card companies.

    by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

  34. Keep in mind that every time you use a credit card you are playing with snakes. These rewards cards sound great except that when you pay with plastic you subconsciously spend 12-18% more than if you had used cash. So the piddly 5% they’re paying you back is still costing you plenty.

    My wife and I haven’t owned a credit card for years, and we never will again. we pay cash for everything and we save tons of money that way. we never have to worry about our credit limit changing or our interest rates going up because we don’t play their games. It’s really liberating to be in control!

    by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm

  35. I have a Chase card with 1% cash back. I like it more than any other rewards card b/c it’s true cash in my pocket (instead of some gift card), and it doesn’t require a lot of spending before I can claim a reward.

    I don’t agree that I spend more with a credit card. I’m so frugal that I agonize over just about every purchase. Sure, if I didn’t have enough cash on hand, I couldn’t make a purchase with cash. But I don’t think I fall entirely into the category of spending that much more just b/c I’m using my credit card.

    And we don’t care about the interest rate on the card. I’m not even sure I know what it is. We never carry a balance. I wish that were more reflected in our credit scores. We’re already over 800 so there’s not much more room to grow, but still – it’d be nice to have a perfect score. (Can you tell I’m somewhat of a perfectionist?)

    by Anonymous on May 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm

  36. Carol,
    You’re in a very small minority of people that think about every purchase before buying. Kudos to you.

    Believe it or not, McDonalds revenues went up some 47% when they started accepting plastic at the counter. It’s because most of us don’t think about what the current balance is on our cards when we make the purchase. We figure we’ll worry about it later, then a few days later we repeat the cycle. When the monthly statement comes in (it doesn’t matter if it’s the credit card or the debit card) we wonder how we managed to spend so much.

    I teach my clients to do a spending plan before each month so they know whether they can make the purchase before they are even in the buying situation. It’s a life-changing process for many of them but they always agree it’s well worth it.

    I’m confident my credit score is dropping because I don’t have any debt. I’m not worried about my credit score either because I don’t borrow money and will never borrow again.

    by Anonymous on May 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

  37. Carol,

    I think you can do better than 1%. Granted I am unaware of any cards being offered which payback 5% on EDP (Every Day Purchases [Gasoline, Groceries and Drugstores]) like they used to, but Associated Bank located in Green Bay, WI is currently offering a card which pay 3% cashback on EDP.

    Another card worth a look is the cashback card offered by the Pentagon Federal FCU. It pays 5% on Gasoline, 2% on Groceries and 1% on everything else. One downside is that if your not qualified to join their credit union, you can qualify by joining a military support group and
    pay their dues. But you only have to join for one year.
    Whether this card make sense for you probably depends on how much money you spend on Gasoline each year.

    If you have an account with Fidelity, or the funds to open one, you should check out their credit card which I believe still offers 2%. No need to invest in stocks, etc., just open a Money Market account. Your 2% rewards will be deposited into the account each month and available when you want them.

    I guess that is pretty much it. There are a couple of cards (Discover and Chase Freedom come to mind) that offer larger cash back percentages in various categories which change every three months. Too much hassle to suit me.

    Anyone else have any suggestions on how Carol can exceed 1% cashback?

    Doug

    by Anonymous on May 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm

  38. @Matt
    I do believe there are quite a number of people who probably spend more with a credit card, not thinking it’s real money until it’s too late. I’m super anal with our budget. I have this massive spreadsheet where I track every expense, so I’m constantly checking our bank accounts and credit card online statements to write down what we spend. It all falls into buckets – for gas, household, misc, even an allowance for me and my husband for fun stuff like occasional lunch out at work. If one area goes over one month, we take it from another so it all balances out. My husband loves that I maintain this spreadsheet b/c at any given moment, he can see at a glance the status of our finances, how much did we spend on eating out last month, etc. I admit, most people would shudder at the thought of spending that much time on something like that. But I enjoy it.

    @Doug
    Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t really realized I could get better cash back. It’s worth looking into.

    by Anonymous on May 27, 2010 at 10:37 am

  39. Wow Carol, You are truly an anomaly. Way to go! Normal in America is broke, in debt and living without a plan. That makes people like us who plan out our spending totally weird!

    Btw, my debit card gives me 5% cash back when I use it as a credit card. Same reward, no credit card hassle.

    by Anonymous on May 27, 2010 at 10:48 am

  40. Matt,

    Which financial institution issued this debit card?

    And is the 5% still available?

    And is it across the board? That is to say you get 5% cash back on every purchase? Even purchases made at Walmart?

    Doug

    by Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 6:43 am

  41. Hi, I don’t know if this would be the best place to ask this but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for credit cards with good sign-up bonuses and/or good cashback/reward programs? In particular, I am about to get married in a few months and my fiance and I are about to make some fairly large (for our standards) purchases over the next 2-3 months (roughly $15,000 worth). We really don’t care about the interest rates (because we have all the money we need in the bank and plan to pay off the card right away) so basically we would just be using the card strickly for reward/cash back purposes. Also, we have no preference for travel vs. cashback vs. other rewards, just whatever would be the best deal in the end. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    by Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm

  42. Congrats on the Wedding Neil…In your search for the best reward card, keep in mind that some cards will cap your points. I had that happen on my Chase Amazon card when I was paying for MY wedding. I was expecting 3000 points for one month, but the monthly cap was 1500.

    by Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm

  43. Doug,

    My debit card is with USAA and it’s no longer in force – I thought it was but when you asked I went back and double checked – so thanks for asking. They now have a points reward system. My debit card with Guaranty Bank has a cash back system that varies by merchant – up to 20% back based on their affiliate relationship with that vendor.

    I used to worry about rewards and cash back. I even justified purchases because I was “getting the reward” when I bought the item. Then I sat down and did the math on my 5%-back-on-a-new-car-purchase credit card. To get the $3,000 reward discount on a new car, I had to spend $60,000 with the credit card. Not cool.

    I also realized I could save so much more by having a plan for my money before the month begins. By saying no to wants, I put cash in the bank a lot faster than purchases rationalized by a few dollars of cash back each month.

    by Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 10:07 pm

  44. What is the best card to get while trying to improve my already bad credit? I’m not talking about one of those prepaid cards, I have seen the one where you pay a fee and you get a small available amount and when you pay on time you get more credit extended to you?

    by Anonymous on Sep 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  45. Penfed Credit Union has one of the best interest rates and rewards programs. As does Navy Federal Credit Union.

    by Anonymous on Jan 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

  46. The best overall credit card out there up until recently was the Citi Drivers Edge card. It’s been my main card for 4-5 years. This card gave you drive rebate points for the miles you drove on your car, and you could match these rebates to purchase rebates. It basically allowed you to double your rewards. So if you used it correctly, it gave you 2% back on everything, plus 6% back on gas, groceries & drugstores. All you had to do was mail in auto service invoices and you’d receive statement credits.

    I just received notice that this card is being phased out. Apparently, most of the owners of this card weren’t bright enough to realize how good these rewards were, and how to optimize them. I think most people probably never read the pamphlet, and thought the drive rebates could only be used towards the purchase of a vehicle, ignoring the fact that you could use them towards any type of vehicle maintenance. These dumbasses complained to Citi to the point where now Citi is cancelling the Drivers Edge reward program altogether, and converting the card into a 1% back on everything, only usable as Thank You points. This new card sucks.

    So for all those people who complained to Citi about their most customer-friendly reward card… you’re the worst.

    by Anonymous on Feb 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  47. I use my Chase Freedom for everything. I don’t like the idea of signing up again every quarter but the 5% bonus is great.

    by Anonymous on Mar 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  48. I just picked up on the Chase Freedom cards, and it’s a good option for the rotating 5% categories, but not really much else. I use it the same way I use the Discover More card and the Citi Platinum Dividend card. All 3 of these cards have rotating 5% categories. Unfortunately, they’re all on similar schedules, and it’d be much better for us as consumers if they were staggered. It’s also a pain in the ass to keep track of the quarterly catergories, as well as the quarterly limits on 5% rewards.

    I still haven’t found a card out there that matches up with the discontinued Drivers Edge card. I just want a card that gives me 5% cash back on gas, groceries, and drugstores all year round. If anyone locates this type of card, please post it.

    by Anonymous on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

  49. Why is it that when I tried to change my future shop card to chase I was told that I couldn’t without an explanation although I paid my last purchase months before the 15 month no interest came into affect. If this is how future shop treats their customers I will no longer do business with future shop and will take my business elsewere. Unsatisfied customer.

    by Anonymous on Jun 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

  50. I like my Chase Freedom card for its 0% intro apr for 15 months. I just recently consolidated my credit card debits using the chase freedom card offer to give me more time to pay off my debt and save so much money on interest charges. My other favorite card is my capital one which gives me 2 miles for every dollar spent.

    by Anonymous on Nov 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm

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Hello and welcome. I’m “nickel”, and I’m the guy who runs this place. I’m a thirty-something family man with a loving wife and four wonderful kids. I’ve been sharing my thoughts on various topics related to money and finance here on FiveCentNickel since May 1, 2005. While my wife and I have always been pretty […]more →