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Are Balance Transfer Cards Better Than Rewards Credit Cards?

When people think about applying for a new credit card, they often look at the welcome offers and the types of rewards that can be earned with everyday purchases. Sometimes you might need another perk, besides rewards, to make you click the “Apply Now” button. This might apply to you if you are carrying a balance on one of your current credit cards and are looking for a hand-up to help pay off the debt.

But, is it better to choose a balance transfer card or a rewards credit card? Applying for either type of credit card will count as a hard inquiry and affect your credit score, so you will want to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each credit card to help you make the best decision.

Advantages Of Balance Transfer Cards

While rewards credit cards might offer welcome offers of frequent flyer miles or complimentary hotel stays when you meet a spending minimum, balance transfer credit cards will not charge interest on balances transferred from other credit cards for a predetermined time period (typically 12 to 18 months). Your new credit card might charge a one-time fee of 3% to 5% of the balance transferred (credit cards need to make money somehow). But it’s still cheaper than the interest you are paying on your existing credit card.

These cards can be very advantageous if you have any type of credit card debt as you can make payments interest free for several months. This can be a great alternative to debt repayment compared to a high-interest personal loan. You should view the 0% APR as a “second chance” to getting debt-free and rebuilding your credit.

Disadvantages of Balance Transfer Cards

While balance transfer credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR, there are several drawbacks to these cards. Possibly the largest drawback is the APR after the 0% introductory period ends. If you cannot pay off your balance in full (or most of it), the interest rates on these cards can be noticeably higher than other rewards credit cards with interest rates as high as 23%.

If your balance is too high, it might be better to swap your credit card debt for a personal loan with a lower interest rate. Of course, the post-introductory rate will largely depend on the credit card and your credit score. Not all credit cards or credit scores are created equally. It might pay dividends to look at the interest rates and perks of the card after the introductory period.

If you have a high credit score and a low balance, it might be more advantageous to apply for a new credit card with a short introductory balance transfer period and a low-interest rate.

Caps on Transfer Amounts

Another downside of balance transfer credit cards is that some credit cards cap transfers to a certain dollar amount. For example, the Chase Slate limits balance transfers at $15,000 regardless of your credit limit. Depending on the balance amount you want to be transferred, you will need to verify if the prospective credit card will allow you to transfer your full amount.

A final downside of balance transfer credit cards is the lack of purchase rewards. Cardholders of balance transfer credit cards normally have to trade rewards for 0% APRs on outstanding credit card balances. This isn’t always the case as some balance transfer cards do offer purchase rewards. However, they are usually not as lucrative as those offered by rewards credit cards.

Advantages of Rewards Credit Cards

Rewards credit cards “reward” users for spending and making payments on-time. They might award cardholders with points or cash rewards. Plus, their welcome offers entice new applicants to spend a specific amount of money within the first two or three months of account opening to receive an additional bonus.

In one way, rewards credit cards are the complete opposite of balance transfer cards that offer a “second chance” to pay off their balances without interest. With both types of cards, credit card issuers make their money through transaction fees and balance transfer fees (even when the transferred balance is paid in full before the introductory period ends).

As many balance transfer credit cards do not offer purchase rewards, rewards credit cards are better for those that pay their bills regularly. They might also be a better option for somebody who has a small outstanding balance and has more to gain from long-term purchase rewards, even if it means paying interest on credit card debt. Your amount of debt might determine if short or long-term rewards are better.

Disadvantages of Rewards Credit Cards

One big downside of rewards credit cards is the relatively higher fees that are incurred with balance transfers. Credit cards need to make a profit to remain in business. That means they can only offer so many perks.

This is why most credit cards charge no interest for the first 12 to 24 months of account opening or offer purchase rewards. If rewards cardholders do not meet the payment deadlines, they do not earn rewards points on the outstanding balance.

Rewards credit card programs might also require a higher credit score than balance transfer cards. Each balance transfer and rewards program has different eligibility requirements. Some are more stringent than others. As a whole, balance transfer cards give credit card users a chance to catch up and rebuild their credit.

People with higher credit scores will qualify for rewards credit cards that offer better rewards and have lower interest rates than post-introductory APRs offered by balance transfer credit cards. If you have a history of credit card debt or low credit score, your application for a rewards credit card might not be a sure thing. The best place to get credit score information won’t hurt your credit but will also provide essential information.

Are There Credit Cards With Rewards and Introductory APRs?

Yes! There are a few credit cards that offer 0% APR on balance transfers for at least one year and rewards for everyday purchases. You may need a higher credit score to qualify for these cards, but they do exist. Our study of the best balance transfer credit cards to apply for in 2018 can be found here.

The Verdict on Balance Transfer Cards

Which type of credit card is better? It depends on your financial circumstances. If you have a manageable credit card debt of several thousand dollars that you can pay off within the 0% introductory period, a balance transfer card will be a better option. The interest-free payments will probably be a better “return on investment” than any rewards program.

Once you become debt-free, and if your credit score is high enough, you can always apply for a rewards credit card.

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The Sam’s Club MasterCard vs. Other Cash Back Cards

Everyone loves a cash back card, which is why so many banks and stores offer them to customers. It used to be just the big banks that gave cash back rewards based on spending. Now it is common for stores to get in on this market and get more customer loyalty in the quest for cash being returned to them.

Some stores have even begun to offer cards that come in MasterCard or Visa versions that they can be used for other purchases, like gas, dining, groceries, travel, and other big categories. The Sam’s Club MasterCard is one of these cards. They are offering a nice tiered cash back program to cardholders.

If you are a frequent shopper at Sam’s Club warehouse stores, this might be a good choice for you. Let’s take a look at the benefits that they are offering to customers.

New Sam’s Club MasterCard

Highlighted Cash Back Features

The Sam’s Club MasterCard offers simple yet substantial cash back rewards for their customers. First, you will earn 5% cash back for all spending at gas stations, up to $6,000 per year. After you spend the first $6,000, you will continue to earn 1% cash back on gas station purchases. Here’s one catch—you will earn 5% cash back at Sam’s Club gas stations and other major gas retailers, but there are no cash back rewards for spending at other warehouse store gas stations.

You can earn 3% cash back on all dining purchases and any travel purchases that you make, with no spending cap. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases using the Sam’s Club MasterCard.

With the Sam’s Club MasterCard, you can earn up to $5,000 cash back per year. The cash back rewards are paid to you in the form of a check, delivered to you once per year. The only place that you can cash the check is at a Sam’s Club store (but you don’t have to spend the entire reward there).

Great Security Options

With so many credit card breaches in the news lately, people are paying more attention to getting credit cards with higher level security features. The Sam’s Club MasterCard is chip-enabled, which gives you a better layer of security. Plus, they offer quick and simple identity theft solutions through their customer service center.

Sam’s Club MasterCard is the first major retail card to offer this level of technology. Since many of the credit card breaches have come from major retailers, this is something that may make customers more comfortable and secure when using the credit card. Also, extended warranty coverage is available, so you can be more confident in protecting your purchases.

No Annual Fee

The Sam’s Club MasterCard does not have an annual fee, but you do have to be a Sam’s Club member to apply. Membership to Sam’s Club is $45 per year.

More Benefits for Sam’s Plus Members

For those cardholders who are also members of the Sam’s Plus program, you can receive several additional benefits. These include early morning admission to the store, discounts on pharmacy and optical services, and exclusive offers within the store. Sam’s Plus members will earn an additional $10 every time they spend $500 in the store on qualifying purchases and earn up to $500 cash back annually. These rewards can be combined with the other cash back rewards to boost your annual return, or used separately throughout the year.

The Nitty Gritty

Again, the Sam’s Club MasterCard has no annual fee, but you must be a member of Sam’s Club to apply ($45 yearly membership fee). The APR is 14.99% or 22.90%, depending on your credit history. If you make a single purchase of $50 or more on the first day you use the card, you will get a $20 statement credit within the next two billing cycles. Foreign transaction fees are 3%.

Any Downsides?

Although the Sam’s Club MasterCard offers some great cash back options, you will only receive that cash back reward once per year. If you are the kind of person who likes to get one lump sum, this might be great for you, but the redemption options are not very flexible otherwise. Remember, you can only cash this check at Sam’s Club. If you regularly shop at the store, this may be convenient.

You must be a Sam’s Club member to cash the check, so don’t consider closing this account if you have any cash back rewards due to you. There is a small sign up bonus of $20 if you spend $50 on your first purchase. Other cards offer greater cash back rewards for sign up bonuses.

Other Options

While the Sam’s Club MasterCard can compete on some levels, especially with Sam’s Club devotees, there are other great cards out there that offer significant rewards for those who spend a lot of money on gas, dining, and travel. Other cards offer much more convenient redemption options when it comes to getting the cash back.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a great option for those travelers who like to earn big cash back rewards on every purchase, and have flexible redemption options available to them. With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you will earn 2 points for every dollar spent, on all purchases. You will earn 40,000 points as a sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first three months.

Redeem your miles for travel credits or statement credits, at any time. Earn an additional 10% bonus miles when you redeem your miles for travel rewards. There is an $89 annual fee, but this is waived for the first year. Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers great security, with EMV-chip technology.

There is also a 0% introductory APR on all purchases made during the first 12 months. Frequent travelers may find this option very appealing because of the high earning power and flexible redemption opportunities.

Discover it

For those shoppers who like to earn great cash back rewards and have very flexible redemption options, the Discover it has some terrific perks. Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, in all categories. Earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, which change quarterly and are generally the most popular shopping options. Currently, Discover it is offering 5% cash back on online shopping and department store purchases for this quarter.

There is no annual fee for the Discover it card, so you have nothing to lose. Redeem your cash back rewards at any time, either earning a check, using the cash at the online shopping portal, getting gift cards, or getting statement credits.

Final Thoughts

For those who really love shopping at Sam’s Club and spend most of their money at gas stations, the Sam’s Club MasterCard is a good option. But, if you want a little more flexibility in terms of cash back earnings and redemption options, you might want to consider either the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or the Discover it as alternatives.

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Cards That Earn Bonus Rewards On Every Dollar Spent

There are plenty of options for cards that earn bonus rewards for spending. These are cards that offer you either cash back or points on each purchase you make. Some of the most popular rewards credit cards will give you bonus points or bonus cash back. The Discover It, for example, offers bonus cash back on rotating categories. The idea of rotating categories is that the categories will switch quarterly. You will earn 5% cash back (or 5% points, depending on the card) for that quarter.

Popular categories for the bonus rotating categories include purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, dining, online shopping, home improvement stores, and department stores. They can be anything that the credit card company chooses and thinks that their customers will enjoy. Typically there is a cap on the spending in the bonus categories. Going back to the Discover It example, it has a $1,500 spending cap for their rotating bonus categories.

Fixed bonus categories would refer to cards that offer bigger bonuses on certain categories all the time. For example, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard offers two points per dollar spent on all gas station, grocery store and utility purchases. This is offered year round with no spending cap. With no annual fee, cardholders get great rewards at a fixed rate all year long.

What if I don’t like rotating categories?

If rotating categories are not for you and you would prefer to get great rewards all year long on all purchases, you are in luck. We have put together a great list of options for you. Each of these cards offers greater than 1% cash back on all purchases. Take a look and see if any of them are right for you!

Citi Double Cash

Want to earn cash back—twice? The Citi Double Cash card lets you do just that. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, plus earn another 1% cash back for every payment that you make. In addition to the great cash back offer, the Citi Double Cash card offers a 0% introductory rate for the first 15 months that you have the card.

After that, the card offers a competitive APR of 12.99-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee for the Citi Double Cash card, so you have nothing to lose with this gem. No worries about spending in certain categories, or registering for rotating rewards. You get the same rewards year round, with no spending cap other than your credit limit. There is no limit to the cash back that you can earn with this card.

Capital One Quicksilver Card

Unlimited cash back is the name of the game with the Capital One Quicksilver Card. You will earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make using this card with no limit to the cash back you can earn. There are no specific spending categories or bonus categories to think about. Just use this card for any purchase and get the full reward. Capital One Quicksilver also offers you a $100 cash back reward after you spend $500 in the first three months that you have the card. This is a substantial bonus right off the bat for new cardholders, at 20% cash back!

The cash back rewards are easy and flexible to redeem. You can redeem them at any time for a check, gift card(s), statement credit, or even merchandise. There is no annual fee for this card. You can also enjoy a 0% introductory APR for a limited time on all purchases and balance transfers made using the Capital One Quicksilver card. After the introductory period, the APR will be 12.9-22.9% on purchases and all balance transfers. Another great perk is being able to track your credit score for free so that you can stay on top of any changes right as they occur.

Capital One BuyPower Card

Are you in the market for a new vehicle? The Capital One BuyPower Card might be just the answer. This card offers you 5% cash back rewards on the first $5,000 you spend each year, and 2% on all purchases you make after that. This is a huge reward. You can use the cash back rewards toward the purchase of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac.

The earnings never expire, as long as you have the card. You can really rack up a lot of cash back toward your next vehicle with this card. Because there are no rotating categories, you can use this card for any and all purchases, and watch your cash back rewards add up. Also, Capital One BuyPower card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months that you have the card, for all purchases and balance transfers. When the introductory period ends, you will pay 11.90, 15.90, or 19.90% variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

Looking For Travel Rewards?

Rewards cards come in many shapes and forms. Some offer cash back or credit toward a new vehicle, like the cards listed above. Others will offer some pretty tremendous travel rewards for those who really want to maximize their rewards. Travel rewards are some of the best in the credit card world, since you can often get more than $1 for each point or mile earned. Here are a few of the best ones we can find for you.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Super value can be found for travelers when they have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. You can earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days that you have the card. Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on travel purchases or earn one point for every dollar spent on every other purchase. One of the biggest perks of this card is that cardholders get an extra 10% rewards when booking their travel through Barclaycard or anytime they redeem their miles for statement credits.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus also offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR will be either 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. There is an $89 annual fee for this card, but that is waived for the first year.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Earn travel rewards fast at a rate of 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase you make with the Capital One Venture Rewards Card. Earn an additional 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. Cardholders will get a 0% introductory APR rate for the first 12 months after approval on purchases and balance transfers, with a 13.9-20.9% APR after that period ends.

The miles that you earn using the Capital One Venture Rewards card can be flexibly redeemed for flights, hotel, rental cars, and other travel benefits. There are no blackout dates or restrictions on airlines if you book through Capital One. If you prefer to book through your travel agent, the Purchase Eraser feature will allow you to redeem your miles and get credit within 90 days of making a travel purchase using your Capital One Venture Rewards card. Track your credit simply, with your credit score being available every month on your statement or through the online access. There is a $59 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card

With the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card, you will earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases made with the card. There is no limit to the number of points that you can earn. Apply online and earn an additional 10,000 points by spending $500 within the first three months. This adds up to a $100 statement credit when you book any travel rewards.

Conveniently, there are no blackout dates and no restrictions on your travel rewards. There is no annual fee for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Cardholders will enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers when they are approved for the card. After that, an APR of 14.99-22.99% will apply. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.

Wyndham Rewards Visa

The Wyndham Rewards Visa is a great card for those who love to travel and want to earn free nights at Wyndham hotels and participating partners. Earn 5 points for every dollar spent on participating hotel stays, and earn 2 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

You can earn an additional 30,000 points after making your first purchase using the Wyndham Reward Visa card, and another 5,500 bonus points each year. That is enough for a one night stay at any participating hotel. This card has a $69 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year. The APR is 15.24% or 19.99%, depending on your credit history.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

With the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, you will quickly build up plenty of points toward your next vacation at any Hilton hotel or participating partner. You can earn 10 HHonors points for every dollar spent on hotel stays at participating hotels. Or earn 5 HHonors points for other travel purchases, including flights and rental cars. Earn 3 HHonors points on all other purchases made using the card.

Cardholders will enjoy Gold Elite status with HHonors, which will be upgraded to Platinum status if you spend $40,000 in one calendar year. Spend $10,000 per year and earn a free weekend night each year on your anniversary. Earn two free weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 within the first 4 months after being approved for the card. This card has a $95 annual fee. There is a variable 15.24% APR for this card.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a variety of rewards cards available right now, with more being added frequently. One of them is right for you. Some people prefer rewards cards with straight cash back rewards options, but if you are not a fan of rotating categories and just want to earn tons of points, or you are a frequent traveler (or want to become one), then choosing one of the awesome travel rewards cards that are available will help you quickly earn points toward your next travel adventure!

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Top 8 ways of scoring cheap hotel deals

In case you haven’t ventured out for a holiday yet and are planning to do it anytime soon, here are the top 8 tips to help you score some really handsome hotel deals!

cheap hotel deals

Book directly

Large hotel chains like IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) that also include other popular brands like Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and more, actively offer special rates to clients who book directly with them.  In fact, you must look at the IHG’s ‘Your Rate’ program wherein you can avail a better hotel rate than any of the offers available on the internet.

The same is applicable to Marriot Resorts that has its own ‘members-only rates’ applicable to customers who book directly via the Marriott’s mobile application or website.

Although it’s still a good idea to shop around on various travel portals before making your decision, if your preference is specifically for big hotel chains, it’s always better to check with them directly. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll always get better prices this way, going for this option can sometimes earn you added perks like free of cost upgrades, meals and more.

You can even get the Priceline credit card for Priceline hotels.

Always compare online

Considering the large number of web aggregators you can use these days, you’d be committing a big mistake if you book a hotel without comparing prices online. Travelocity, Priceline, Orbitz, Kayak, and Expedia are few of the many places you can begin your search at. If free Wi-Fi is high on your priority list, make sure you find out about the quality of Internet connectivity at the shortlisted properties.

Furthermore, please keep in mind that websites don’t normally list the regulatory surcharges and added fees. It’s always better to call the hotel and inquire about such charges beforehand.

Get yourself a rewards or a hotel credit card

Rewards credit cards normally come with plenty of benefits for frequent travelers, earning them points that can be redeemed for free airline tickets, free hotel reservations and more. Usually, you’re required to meet a certain minimum spend requirement when you buy a hotel credit card, but the points earned and their corresponding benefits can more than make up for such condition.

Some of the travel credit cards available these days can be insanely amazing when it comes to bagging free hotel stays! Just make sure that you shop around and pick the best card to help you maximize your points earning potential.

Make optimum use of the special offers and membership programs

Members belonging to groups like AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), AAA (American Automobile Association), AMA (American Medical Association) and ABA (American Bar Association) can avail discounted rates at various hotel establishments throughout the US. The same is applicable to people in professions like education and military services. In case you’re an educator, in the military, work for some non-profit organization and/or belong to any of the above groups, don’t forget to mention it at the time of reserving your hotel nights. You’re most likely to get a room upgrade or a discount ranging from 10% to 25%.

Join hotel loyalty programs

You don’t necessarily need to be a frequent traveler to take advantage of perks offered by hotel loyalty programs. All you need to do is sign up for such programs and get immediate access to exclusive rates offered under them. The benefits earned through such programs usually accrue over a period of time and can turn pretty generous without you even noticing.

Let’s take the case of Hilton Hhonors program as an example. The ongoing Hilton World Sale that started on May 13, 2016, and will last till September 6, 2016, offers all Hilton HHonors members up to 30% discount at all the participating hotels in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. It covers 4660 hotels in 102 countries, across 12 of the 13 Hilton brands such as Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and more.

Use some smart travel apps and add-ons

Many mobile applications are aimed at connecting travelers with anything ranging from hidden discounts to the last minute hotel deals. You can look up such apps on your mobile phone and start saving on hotel bookings, activities, vacation homes, car rentals, transfers and more starting today!

InvisibleHand is another free money-saving tool that comes in the form of a browser add-on. It can help you discover the lowest prices on car rentals, flights, hotels and much more. Once you install this extension in your browser, all you need to do is Google up the property you have in mind. A pop-up will appear on your screen in case the tool can acquaint you with a better deal.

Be flexible about the travel dates

It’s easy to score an off-peak discount even during the peak summer travel season. This is possible by traveling during weekdays when the rush is comparatively lesser in hotels. Why not plan a midweek getaway and surprise your family?!

It also pays to plan ahead of time if you’re keen on saving during your vacation. Locking-in the prices early can go a long way in sweetening up the deal, especially in cases of properties where the prices normally go up with demand. Although spontaneous travel sounds like a lot of fun, it can be very hard on your pocket!

Opt for less expensive properties

Quite ironically, these properties provide far more value for less, even if they belong to the same chain of hotels. To give you an example, the Hampton Inn and Embassy Suites normally provides free local calls, Wi-Fi, and breakfast, while its pricier sister chains – Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and Hilton charged for all such privileges. The same holds true for Fairfield Inn by Marriott that provides free newspaper, coffee, breakfast, and Internet, unlike its more expensive relatives – JW Marriott, Bulgari Hotels and Resorts and The Ritz-Carlton.

Final thoughts

Whether your idea of a good vacation is relaxing on a beach all day long or exploring some big city, the travel options you can avail are only limited by your imagination and your budget. It always helps to look around for different ways to make your travel cheaper without compromising on the style quotient. And heck, unless you’re really keen on some specific property, renting out a place from Airbnb or VRBO can work out to be much cheaper.


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Comparing the Discover it and Chase Freedom 5x Categories

There’s nothing like getting paid to pay. It some ways, the now popular cash back cards feel like they’re providing free money. As folks say, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Yes, cash-back cards are not the gravy train. As with any credit card balance, the 5% cash-back is quickly outweighed by the much more significant Annual Percentage Rate. However, a well-chosen cash-back card can be a valuable tool to keep in your wallet.

Two of the favorited cash-back cards are the Discover It and the Chase Freedom cards. They have reached this popularity because of their appealing 5% cash-back feature. In both cases, this attractive percentage is accessible to purchases that fall within certain categories. In order to choose one card over the other, the long-term factor that will affect your cash-back are these categories.

Discover ItChase Freedom

The Similarities

For both cards, the categories that earn 5% change quarterly. Every three months, you need to shift your mental spending to take advantage of the increased percentage. If you purchase outside of the categories, you’ll receive 1% cash-back. The price is right for this card, as neither one has an annual fee. Both cards have the same spending limit on which you can earn the prized 5%. You can spend up to $1500 in the quarterly categories and therefore receive up to $75 in cash-back.

Category Authorization

Both cards also use a category activation system that requires the cardholder to activate their access to these categories. This activation means that you have to log in to your account online or call to confirm that you will be purchasing in these categories and want to earn 5% instead of that measly 1%. This extra step is seemingly unnecessary and a pitfall for those who forget to activate. You’d think that it’s straightforward that people who are using the card would want to access the better cash-back rate.

For the category authentication, both cards have their strengths within this system. Discover It has no end date for when you can authorize your card to access these categories. The Chase Freedom card authorization period ends about two weeks before the quarter closes, which could leave some people out in the cold. The Chase Freedom card , however, has a clear email and text reminder system to make sure that you don’t miss your window (and have the widest window possible). And once you activate it, it provides the 5% on all combined purchases made within the quarter.

Current Quarter

To begin, let’s look at this quarter: July to September 2016. The Discover It card will give you 5% back for purchases at home improvement stores and on If you’re planning some small home renovations, this category could provide a big benefit. You could easily earn 5% ‘off’ of your reno, as the category is quite open as to the range of business it allows. Instead of providing a list of authorized establishments, Discover provides a description of the type of business. However, if you’re not planning renovations, the category isn’t that useful. Some purchases could provide certain cash-back opportunities, but likely you won’t near the same benefit.

The Chase Freedom card offers the 5% for restaurant tabs and purchases at wholesale clubs. Chase provides a lengthy list of the eligible restaurants, which they describe as places where their primary business is eat-in or sit-down dining. For example, almost every fast-food restaurant you can imagine is listed. However, hotel and casino restaurants, as well as grocery store cafes and bakeries are not eligible. However, you can earn 5% back at the grocery section of wholesale clubs, like Costco. This category is more useful to the average consumer, as food purchases, whether at restaurants or bulk groceries, are a common expense.

In the current quarter, you could be a big winner with Discover It’s home renovation plans and the more significant purchases that come along with that. However, most consumers will have better luck earning 5% back within the Chase Freedom restaurant and wholesale club category. You may not max out your $1500 allowance, but the category is still more accessible.

Next Quarter

Looking forward, we head to the last quarter of the year: October to December. Of course, this quarter holds the holiday shopping season. Both cards are holding out on the final category details. Perhaps the suspense adds to the end of year cheer, but it can make it difficult to pick the better holiday shopping companion.

We do know that the Discover It card will provide you with 5% on all your purchases. For those who don’t want to leave their home for the mall, this cash-back category could be a boon. The Chase Freedom card will continue to offer the 5% on wholesale club purchases. Looking towards the hearty eating season that it is, you could get all your holiday groceries at a great cash-back rate. However, the biggest winners of the quarter are yet to be announced.

Past Categories

Looking back to the fourth quarter of 2015, we can see what kinds of categories could appear. Of course, the categories change and are rarely the same year to year, but it provides some context. The Discover It card provided 5% at, department stores, and clothing stores. The Chase Freedom card provided the great rate at,, and Here, the Discover It card seems to come out the better option based on the wide range of store types, rather than specific websites. However, the preference really depends on whether you like to shop online or in person.


For this year, the Chase Freedom cash-back card is the best card to earn higher cash-back on everyday purchases. Everyone needs to eat, and you could earn on food bills or restaurant tabs. Home renovation and online shopping at is more niche, though highly useful for those consumers who fall into that niche. However, the release of the fourth quarter categories will be a key comparison point. Keep an eye out for the announcement, as it will likely come out in mid-September.

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Comparing the Capital One Quicksilver and Chase Freedom Rewards Cards

Credit cards that offer rewards programs for card members are a smart way to earn extra cash toward purchases for savvy users. In recent years, the number of credit card rewards programs made available to qualified applicants has grown substantially, making it difficult to weed through the good, the bad and the ugly. For example the Chase Sapphire Preferred & Capital One Venture compare quite differently than marketed. And both the Chase Freedom and the Capital One Quicksilver credit cards are strong contenders for cash back rewards, but they differ greatly in terms of their rewards programs, additional card member benefits and total costs associated with owning the card. Here’s the skinny on each.

chase freedomcapital one quicksilver

Rewards Program Breakdown

The Chase Freedom credit card offers a rotating bonus cash back schedule, on top of a flat rate rewards program. Under the rotating bonuses tier, card members earn 5% cash back on purchases made within each applicable category for the time frame defined within the cardholder agreement. For the 2016 calendar, Chase Freedom card members earn 5% cash back on purchases made from gas stations and local commuter transportation, not including parking, Amtrak purchases or tolls. The second quarter offers the same cash back bonus on grocery store purchases, not including Walmart or Target stores, while the third quarter includes restaurants. The fourth quarter is typically geared toward holiday shopping with specific retailers and online partners added as the season begins. Card members earn the 5% cash back bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases, each quarter. All other purchases made with the Chase Freedom credit card earn 1% cash back with no limit.

The Capital One Quicksilver card differs from the Chase Freedom option in that it does not offer bonuses on specific spending categories. Instead, the credit card is a flat rate rewards card that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit. The idea behind the Capital One Quicksilver card is focused on simplicity as card members do not need to track spending in certain categories or time purchases to ensure they receive the most benefit from their card.

Card members with Chase Freedom have the potential to earn more on certain purchases than Quicksilver cardholders, but the cap on earnings with Chase makes it difficult to capitalize fully on cash back rewards. Additionally, card members have the activate each bonus cash back category at the beginning of each quarter to ensure they receive the additional rewards points. Capital One Quicksilver card members can redeem rewards in any amount at any time, while Chase Freedom account holders have to accrue $20 worth of rewards before redemption is an option. Both credit cards offer statement credits and cash deposits as options for redeeming rewards, and rewards do not expire. Chase Freedom offers additional ways to redeem rewards, including shopping directly through the Chase mobile app or purchasing gift cards directly through Chase from partner retailers.

Added Card Member Perks Comparison

Currently, new card members can earn $100 cash back bonus if $500 in purchases are made within the first three months after account opening. The Chase Freedom credit card has a $150 one-time bonus with the same spending and time frame parameters. Both cards also provide for authorized users to be added to the accounts, and no annual fee.

Both the Chase Freedom credit card and the Capital One Quicksilver card provide additional benefits and protection to card members through the following comparable features:

  • Purchase protection up to certain limits
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip interruption/cancellation insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental card damage waiver
  • Lost luggage reimbursement

In addition to these benefits, Chase Freedom also offers price protection and return protection on purchases made with the card, as well as Roadside Assistance Dispatch services. Capital One Quicksilver card members have access to a 24/7 concierge, luxury hotel discounts, sports experiences and other shopping discounts. Capital One stands out in the additional perks category by also offering free access to Credit Tracker which allows card members to access their credit score and changes to their credit profiles any time from the mobile or desktop apps. Chase Freedom does not currently offer credit information directly to card members.

Card Member Costs

Both rewards credit cards are currently offering new card members low introductory interest rates on purchases and balance transfers, although one is a stronger offer than the other. Chase Freedom has a 0% purchase APR for the first 15 months after account opening, after which time the interest rate reverts to a variable rate ranging from 14.24% up to 19.24%. Chase is also offering a balance transfer promotion for new card members that includes a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months after the balance is transferred. The balance transfer rate reverts to the same as the purchases APR after the promotional period expires. Card members should note the balance transfer fee of 5% is applied.

Capital One Quicksilver card members have access to a 0% purchase APR for the first nine months after account opening, after which time the rate reverts to a variable APR that ranges from 13.24% up to 23.24%. Balance transfers are also available through Capital One with a 0% APR for the first nine months. After the promotional period ends for balance transfer made through the Quicksilver card, card members receive a variable rate that is the same as the purchase APR assigned at the time the account was opened. The balance transfer fee for Capital One is 3%.

Neither the Chase Freedom Card nor the Capital One Quicksilver card carries an annual fee. However, Capital One does not impose foreign transaction fees on its card members, while Chase does at a clip of 3% per transaction. The late fee assessed for both cards can be as high as $35, while the fees for returned payments vary.

Final Thoughts

Both the Capital One Quicksilver and the Chase Freedom cards offer strong rewards programs to card members, but the variations may suit some spenders more so than others. For those who spend heavily in bonus categories each quarter, the Chase Freedom credit card is a no brainer. But for account holders who prefer simplicity and a flat rate rewards program, the Capital One Quicksilver card definitely takes the cake. The one-time bonus cash back offers are similar for each card, but those who want to take advantage of a 0% purchase or balance transfer APR may be drawn more toward the Chase option. Without an annual fee and no expiration on earned rewards, both the Chase Freedom and Capital One Quicksilver cards provide cost effective benefits to card members.

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Reviewing the New Ally CashBack Card

The rise of online banks – those without brick and mortar branch locations or in-person representatives – has been undeniable since the economic downturn of 2008/2009. Banking customers wanted a shift away from big banks with, at times, excessive fees, low to no interest accumulation, and in some cases poor customer service. Ally Bank has lead the charge in the impressive world of online banking, allowing customers the ability to earn as much as 1% on a conventional savings account with a minimal initial deposit and no ongoing fees.

In April 2016, savvy savers received exciting news direct from Ally; a new cash back credit card made available directly through the bank that offers perks specifically designed for loyal online savers with the bank. Enter the shiny, new Ally Cash Back credit card.

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Ally Card Basics

The new Ally Cash Back credit card is similar to other credit cards offering rewards programs in that it provides the opportunity to earn points in different purchase categories. First, card members earn two points for each dollar spent on purchases made at gas stations as well as grocery stores. These categories make it a great choice for card members who utilize their credit card for everyday spending. It is important to note that purchases made on gas or grocery items through warehouse clubs or superstores may not qualify for the enhanced 2% cash back.

In addition to the 2% categories, card members also earn a flat rate 1% on all other purchases made with the card. Rewards accumulated through the Ally Cash Back credit card do not come with pesky spending caps, nor do they expire as long as the card account remains in good standing with the bank. Ally Bank does not require a minimum rewards balance in order to redeem rewards at this time.

The cash back feature that makes the Ally credit card so attractive to current Ally banking customers is the bonus offered on redemption. A 10% Ally deposit bonus is automatically applied when cash back is redeemed as a deposit into an eligible Ally bank account. Money market accounts, non-IRA online savings accounts and interest checking accounts all qualify as eligible for the deposit bonus. The ramp up in rewards value for Ally bank deposits makes this card an incredibly valuable tool in earning rewards for current Ally Bank customers.

In addition to the rewards categories, Ally Bank is offering a $100 bonus for new card members who spend no less than $500 in the first three statement cycles. Card members should note that certain purchases or transactions do not qualify for rewards accumulation, including the following:

  • Balance transfers
  • Cash advances
  • Business purchases
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Money order
  • Lottery tickets or gambling chips
  • Wire transfers
  • Foreign currency
  • Prepaid cards
  • Interest charges

Ally Bank Perks

Ally Bank does not offer as many additional card member perks as other major credit card issuers. However, card members of the new Ally Cash Back credit card have the ability to utilize the card for purchases anywhere Visa is accepted. The Ally Cash Back credit card can be added to Apple Pay or Samsung Pay for card members who wish to make purchases via those outlets. Additionally, the Ally Cash Back credit card comes in either the Signature or Platinum card, with the former offering complimentary access to a 24/7 concierge, access to exclusive entertainment events, and special shopping benefits not afforded to Platinum card members.

Ally Cash Back Card Expenses

Card members who hold the Ally Cash Back credit card are not charged an annual fee; however, other expenses inherent to credit cards do apply. For qualified applicants, the interest rate for purchases is either 13.24%, 18.24% or 23.24%, based on credit history and score. The APR is variable, meaning it may fluctuate over time in line with broad interest rate market movement. Balance transfer fees also apply, but a current promotion offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles after the account is opened. After the introductory period ends, balance transfer APRs revert to the same rate applied to purchases based on the card member’s creditworthiness. Cash advances incur an interest rate of 23.49% regardless of credit qualifications.

In addition to the interest rate assessed on balance transfers after the promotional period ends, card members are charged $10 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Additionally, cash advances come with a $10 or 5% fee for each transaction, whichever is greater. Card members who make purchases outside the United States on a consistent basis may want to avoid the Ally Cash Back credit card as it comes with a 3% transaction fee for each purchase overseas.

Card members who make late payments are assessed a $35 per occurrence, although there is no fee assessed for utilizing the card above and beyond the stated credit limit.

Final Thoughts

When compared to other cash back credit cards available to well qualified applicants, the Ally Cash Back credit card is highly competitive in certain areas. While some other credit card issuers offer up to 5% cash back on select purchases in certain categories, earnings are limited based on total spending, and in some cases, categories must be activated and tracked on a quarterly basis to reap the full benefits. Ally Cash Back credit card takes away that headache for card members, and offers substantial bonus potential for current Ally Bank customers who utilize the cash back earned as a deposit into an already established Ally account.

Credit card users looking for a variety of additional card member perks may not be all that impressed with what Ally Bank has to offer. A concierge service and exclusive access to events are the end of the line for specialized benefits. Also, card members who spend heavily on foreign transactions are better off with a cash back card that does not impose a fee for each overseas purchase. The new Ally Cash Back credit card is best suited for individuals who already bank with Ally, those who prefer a simplistic cash back rewards program, and those who spend consistently on every day purchases with their credit card.

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Review of the Black American Express Centurion Rewards Card

Not many rewards credit card are secretive – issuers make card member benefits, the details of rewards programs, interest rates for purchases and balance transfers, as well as total carrying costs readily available to the masses. But one credit card breaks that common mold. Rumors surrounding the American Express Centurion Rewards card, also known as the AMEX Black card, surface far more than accurate data about how the card works and to whom it is offered. This review provides a detailed look into the mysterious AMEX Black credit card, assumptions and misinformation aside.


Centurion History

The American Express Centurion Rewards credit card may be the only one in history that had a presence in the market before it actually existed. Whispers of a secretive credit card made available to only the financial elite – those with big bank accounts and even bigger spending habits – swirled around like wildfire. Everyone wanted the coveted Black card as a sign of status among friends and colleagues. The problem? It didn’t exist.

In response to numerous inquiries regarding the non-existant card, American Express delighted questioning consumers by creating an invitation-only program available only to highly qualified applicants. The American Express Centurion rewards credit card was born, and has been sought after since its establishment in 1999.

Black Card Basics

As an invitation-only program, AMEX Black card holders do not go through an application process to see if they qualify for membership. Instead, American Express evaluates potential card members by reviewing spending habits on current American Express cards, total reported income and in some cases, total net worth. While the details regarding the criteria for acceptance into the Centurion card member class are not listed anywhere on the American Express cite, data leads one to believe that spending of no less than $250,000 each year and an income or net worth high enough to support that level of spending is the starting point for an invitation. Some suggest that being a heavy spender with American Express for a minimum of one year is also a requirement, although there is no specific language in the card member agreement that makes this fact.

Elite Rewards

The American Express Centurion rewards credit card offers similar incentives for ongoing use as do other American Express credit cards. Rewards accumulate at a rate of one point per each dollar spent, with no listed limit on earnings. With typical AMEX membership rewards, redemption can be used for the following:

  • Statement credits
  • Retailer gift cards
  • Travel
  • Shopping

While these rewards categories are fairly common not only among American Express but from other competing card issuers, Centurion card members are given additional rewards and perks that boost them to a truly elite status.

American Express Centurion rewards can be used for points transfers to specific partners, including airline frequent flyers programs and frequent stay programs through luxury hotels. The ability to transfer points from the Centurion coffers to frequent flyer or frequent stay programs gives card members a much faster way to reach top tier status, thus earning free flights, free stays and other perks not available to regular travel or rewards credit card members. In addition, Centurion card members gain access to certain airport lounges and clubs, priority boarding and seating programs, fine hotels and resorts programs, cruise privileges, and luxury destination programs, all at no cost. A $200 airline reimbursement is also available each year the card is maintained.

An incredibly valuable benefit afforded American Express Centurion rewards card members is the dedicated concierge. Card members have access to a 24/7 concierge line that provides benefits not common to other rewards credit cards. Perks include reminder calls before important dates, such as anniversaries or birthdays, personal shoppers at high-end retailers, assistance with making travel arrangements and the ability to secure pricey tickets to sold-out sport or entertainment events. While other American Express card members have access to a concierge services that is similar, Black card members are given priority each and every time.

The Cost to be a Black Card Member

One of the only revealing pieces of information readily available to those interested in becoming an American Express Centurion rewards credit card member is the cost associated with the card – arguable the highest among all rewards credit cards. Card members who are invited to accept the Black card are assessed a $7,500 set-up fee to start, followed up by an annual fee that averages $2,500, making the initial cost of simply accepting the card $10,000. The annual fee changes based on the country in which the card member lives, but the invitation fee remains steady for all new card members.


While the upfront and ongoing fees for the American Express Centurion rewards credit card may seem stark, the value of the ongoing rewards and the elite status the card brings are far greater for most card members. Additionally, no other fees are charged for using the card, such as foreign transactions fees or redemption fees. Card members are not assessed an interest rate for purchases, balance transfer or cash advance transactions because any balance charged on the card must be paid in full at the end of each billing cycle. Any late payment that exceeds 60 days is assessed a $37 fee or 2.99% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater. Card members are not restricted by a set credit limit each month.

Final Thoughts

The American Express Centurion rewards credit card is not something most everyday credit card users have an opportunity to experience. The lofty qualifications in terms of income, net worth and annual spending make most ineligible for the card; even if you believe you meet these requirements, American Express does not allow individuals to apply for or explicitly request a Black card membership. Instead, a thorough evaluation process is done in house, and invitations to accept a new Centurion card are sent directly to qualified card members.

If you are fortunate enough to receive an invitation, the Centurion card is far from free. The initial $10,000 fee and annual $2,500 membership charge can be well worth it if a high level of spending is maintained throughout the year. Rewards translate quickly to elite status among major airlines, hotels and resorts, and the added bonus of the dedicated concierge service may wipe away any concern over the Black card’s fees.

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Review of the Virgin America Visa Signature and Premium Visa Signature Cards

Virgin America Visa Signature Cards

Credit cards and air travel go hand-in-hand. This pair works together well given the security of booking, the price point of flight tickets and the assurance of access to money anywhere you go. It’s natural that many airlines and hotel chains are interested in connecting with the credit card industry directly. Virgin America is no stranger to this connection with their pair of credit cards: the Virgin America Visa Signature and Virgin America Premium Visa Signature.

Virgin America Visa Signature Cards

Earning points

Purchases from Virgin Airlines will obviously be the big point-winner. For every dollar spent with Virgin America, you’ll receive 8 points. These points are coming from two point systems: five points for being a member of Elevate, their frequent flyer program, and three more points for using the Visa Signature card. For any other purchase on the card, you earn 1 point per dollar. The point value is $0.02 per point, which is a fairly high rate in comparison to other airline point systems. It’s worth noting that these points never expire while you use your card. This is a bit of a perk as under the Elevate program, points expire after 18 months if there’s no activity on your account. However, with the Virgin America card, by paying your annual fee and keeping your account in good standing, your points will remain available to you as long as you keep the card.

Annual Fee & APR

The Virgin America Visa Signature card will run you $49 annually while the Virgin America Premium Visa Signature card costs $149 per year. The Annual Percentage Rate ranges from 16.23 to 25.24 depending on your creditworthiness.

Sign-Up Bonus

If you’re looking to book a flight in the near future, the sign-up bonuses could provide you with a nice opportunity to fly for ‘free.’ With your annual fee and $1000 in spending on your new account within the first three months, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points. These bonus points convert into $200 towards a flight. If you were planning on spending $1000 over three months anyway, you basically got a $200 flight for $49. Not to mention the future points earning that can convert into free flights. The Premium card will send you 15,000 points for the annual fee along with the $1000 in spending, which converts to $300 towards flights. The sign-up deal works out to the same cash savings of about $150 off either a $200 or $300 flight.

As an airline card, the perks are found at on your ticket and at the airport.

On Your Ticket

If you’re booking your travel with a companion, you get benefit from one voucher for $150 off their ticket each year you have the card. The $150 is eligible for the base fare (no fees or taxes) on round-trip flights. Make it count, because if you spend less than $150 on the ticket, the remainder of the voucher is lost. However, there are plenty of chances to maximize the voucher, as Virgin will email you the coupon code once your account is activated and you can use it anytime in the following year. Another benefit of using the card (though it’s a cross-benefit of the Elevate frequent flyer program) is that there are no black-out dates, so you can book at will! If you’re the type who enjoys the flexibility of changing or canceling your booking once its made, the Premium version of this card should be appealing. If you change or cancel your non-refundable booking, all fees will be waived. For any Virgin flights, you can change your ticket and simply pay the difference in fare.

At the Airport

Once you’re at the airport, your card gets you some nice benefits. On any Virgin flight booked on the card, you and your companion on the flight get one free checked bag. This perk can save you $25 per piece in fees. Once you’re checked in and your baggage is taking its free ride to the plane, your card lets you enjoy being the first on the flight with included priority boarding. Then, once you’ve settled into your seat ahead of the rest, you can enjoy discounted in-flight purchases. You receive 20% off of the in-flight entertainment system. There’s nothing better to pass the time in the air than an in-flight movie. Or, if you’d like to get some work done or snoop around the internet, you can use also use the wifi provided as a cardholder.

Premium’s Status Points Potential

If you’re an Elevate status member, the Premium card offers you some additional ways to collect Status Points. For every $10,000 you put on your card, you earn 5000 Status Points to a maximum of 15,000 points annually. Those 15,000 points will get you just shy of the 20,000 points needed for the Elevate Silver level. The basic Visa Signature card already gets you a lot of the perks that the Silver status gets you (such as a free first checked bag and priority boarding). However, if you reach the Silver level, you will enjoy 2 additional bonus points for each dollar spent on Virgin America flights. This could total very nice 10 points per dollar spent. With Silver, you also have 25% off a Main Cabin ticket once per year and complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select within 12 hours of your flight.


If you fly with Virgin America often, the Virgin America Visa Signature and Virgin America Premium Visa Signature cards are valuable assets. Their points are high-value for their ability to purchase tickets. The perks associated with the cards are also big money savers. Potentially two free checked bags for each flight and the annual companion coupon for $150 will pay off the annual fee quickly for either card.

Regarding the basic versus Premium card, most people will use the basic card’s benefits more often. The Premium card has some nice advantages, especially if you are looking to attain or increase your Status in the Elevate program. However, the Status points aren’t redeemable for flights, only for status levels, and they are much more difficult to attain. Unless you’re seeking Status, the basic card is the way to go.

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Discover it vs. Chase Freedom Card

In the universe of rewards credit cards, both Discover it and Chase Freedom stand out as top card options. Account holders not only have seemingly endless benefits with each card, the cash-back rewards are some of the best in the business. However, for newcomers to the credit card rewards playground, there are some nuances that make determining which card is the best a difficult task. Let’s take a closer look at both the Discover it and the Chase Freedom credit cards in terms of rewards potential, introductory bonuses and fees.


Rewards Showdown

Both the Discover it and Chase Freedom credit cards offer robust rewards programs, but slight differences exist. First, the Discover it credit card offers 1% cash back on every dollar spent on purchases outside bonus categories that rotate on a quarterly basis. Purchases made within the bonus categories earn cardholders 5% cash back, up to a limit of $1,500 in total spending each quarter. Card members must sign up for the bonus categories as they rotate to ensure points are earned on applicable purchases, but the process is simply and free. Discover it bonus categories for cash back earnings are as follows for 2016:

  • January through March: Gas stations and ground transportation
  • April through June: Restaurants and movies
  • July through September: Home improvement stores and
  • October through December: (and others to be determined)

The Chase Freedom credit card also earns card members 1% on all purchases, with similar quarterly cash back bonuses of 5%. The bonus cash back categories do not require activation each quarter, but like the Discover it card, earnings are capped at $1,500 worth of spending. The cash back categories through Chase Freedom rotate each quarter, and for 2016 include:

  • January through March: Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including Amtrak, tools or parking)
  • April through June: Grocery stores (not including warehouse clubs, Walmart or Target)
  • July through September: Restaurants
  • October through December: Holiday shopping with partner retailers to be determined

The fact that no additional step is needed to activate the bonus cash back rewards each quarter for the Chase Freedom card is certainly a bonus, but the category restrictions make the program slightly less attractive than Discover it. However, Discover it does not require a minimum number of points to accumulate prior to redemption; Chase Freedom card members must have earned at least $20 in cash back rewards prior to redeeming.

Upfront Bonuses

Only Chase Freedom offers an upfront cash back bonus for new card members within the first few months. Cardholders have the potential to earn $150 in cash after a minimum of $500 is spent on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The Discover it credit card offers a matching program for cash back earned, up to $200 additional cash, but the bonus is not immediate. Card members receive the matching cash back credit at the end of the first year after account opening, opposed to the first three months for Chase Freedom.

Comparison of Card Member Fees

For applicants seeking out low-cost rewards credit cards, both the Discover it and the Chase Freedom cards fit the bill. Both credit card options come with no annual fee, and no redemption fees for cash back earned. However, differences come into play as it relates to other costs associated with each credit card.

Discover it has an introductory interest rate of 0%, not just for purchases but for balance transfers as well. The promotional APR is honored for the first 12 months after account opening, after which time the standard rate and balance transfer ranges from 11.24% up to 23.24%. These interest rates are based on each applicant’s creditworthiness at the time of account opening, and rates may fluctuate over time based on broad market movements.

The Chase Freedom credit card also offers an attractive introductory interest rate for well-qualified borrowers. A 0% APR is in place for the first 15 months after account opening for both purchases and balance transfers. After the promotional period ends, card members are assessed interest on remaining balances as low as 14.24% up to 23.24%. All rates for purchases and balance transfers after the introductory rates expire are variable. Account holders looking for potentially lower interest after the promotional rate may find the Discover it card more attractive, while those looking for extended terms for 0% APR purchases or transfers may lean more toward the Chase Freedom card.

One of the other aspects that differentiates the Discover it card from the Chase Freedom card is the foreign transaction fee. Chase Freedom card members are assessed a 3% transaction fee for all purchases made outside the U.S., while Discover it cardholders are not assessed an additional fee for foreign transactions.

Additional Perks

One of the more helpful perks associated with the Discover it credit card is the free access to individualized credit scores through FICO reporting tools. Card members can view their FICO score for free through the Discover portal online, at any time. Additionally, Discover it card members have the benefit of a waived late payment fee for the first occurrence, and a single late payment does not mean a higher APR. These extra benefits are attractive to credit card users concerned about their credit health and status.

The Chase Freedom credit card does not currently provide access to credit monitoring or scores, but does protect card members who make a payment late. No penalty APR is imposed upon the first occurrence of a late payment, although a late payment fee will be assessed. Chase Freedom also offers superb protection against lost or damaged purchases liability protection against identity theft or fraud.

Final Thoughts

Both the Discover it and Chase Freedom credit cards offer smart, low-cost options for individuals looking for rewards programs. The Discover it card is a stronger choice for cardholders who purchase items or utilize their card overseas, or those who do not want to mess with accumulating a substantial number of points prior to redeeming for cash back. The Chase Freedom card is a great choice for individuals who do not want to activate the bonus cash back categories each quarter, or those who are seeking an extended 0% promotional period for purchase or balance transfers.