Best Ways to Use Your Cash Back Credit Card

By Stephen Fisherton on June 28, 2015

If you have a cash back credit card, you probably want to make the best use of it and make the maximum amount of money back. But you could be missing out on some of the best ways to squeeze value out of that card. Read on to find out the best ways to get more from your cash back rewards credit card.

1 – Be sure to sign up for rotating categories. Many cash back cards offer extra value on certain categories that change each quarter. These tend to go with the seasons; for example, in the spring, home improvement purchases may earn 5% cash back instead of the usual 1% back. In the summer, gas, amusement parks, hotels, and car rentals are popular cash back categories. The winter holiday season usually means extra cash back in department stores and online, and fall brings a bigger percentage of cash back at office supply stores as students and parents stock up on school supplies. The catch with this is, you have to sign up to get the extra cash back. If you don’t opt in, you’ll only get the usual percentage of cash back. So be sure you log into your credit card account online and look for the promotional offers. Signing up is usually as simple as clicking a link or sending a text.

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2 – Take advantage of online shopping malls. Almost every cash back credit card offers some sort of online mall that gives an extra percentage of cash back for purchases made through their portal. There are usually hundreds of deals from popular retailers, including department stores, apparel stores, home improvement warehouses, florists, electronics retailers, and more. Prices are comparable to those you would find in a brick-and-mortar store, but be sure to do some comparison shopping to be sure you’re getting the best deal. Before you hit the mall, try the online mall you’ll find through your credit card issuer’s website, and you might get up to 20% cash back on the purchases you were planning to make anyway.

3 – Redeem your cash back for gift cards. You might think that if you have a cash back card, you can only get your reward as a statement credit or a check. But that is almost never the case. Most credit card issuers offer multiple redemption options. The best value is usually found through gift cards. If you’re planning to spend money on clothes, you might as well get a $100 gift card from a department store rather than $80 in cash back. Gift card redemptions often cost less than the penny a point you get in cash. Always look for the better redemption value, instead of automatically going for the cash back route. Another perk of getting gift cards is that you can give them as gifts. This way, your birthday and holiday shopping can be done quickly, easily, and for free.

Cash back credit cards are a popular option with consumers because they offer a lot of flexibility in the way you can receive your rewards, as well as many opportunities to earn higher value rewards. Make sure you’re getting the most from yours.

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