If there is anything that consumerism has taught us, it is this: corporations will do anything and everything to reel in Americans to buy their products or avail of their services. This same observation is applicable for the hundreds and even thousands of credit cards out in the market. Banks and card companies will do just about anything to attract customers.

The cutthroat competition in the credit industry has resulted in the explosion of various promos, special offers, and reward programs. This is certainly good news for consumers. Yet, the sudden influx of reward programs and special credit cards has made choosing the right plastic even more difficult for many consumers itching to get a hold of plastic. With so many different companies claiming that they have the best reward credit cards out there, how can American consumers decide which ones are even worthy of their time?

There are actually several ways for cardholders to determine if their cards are as good as they think they are. First, a good reward credit card is backed by well-known payment system brands, like Visa and MasterCard. These two major corporations will only place their logos on cards that are reliable and reputable. Seeing one on a credit card can tell the cardholder that the plastic they are holding is reliable to some extent. However, this is not the end all and be all of a good reward credit card.

The best reward credit cards offer substantial points in return for regular usage of the cards themselves. The banks that issue these cards are also systematic in assigning point values for the different types of purchases and transactions done by the cardholder. For instance, paying for groceries using plastic can mean three reward points for every dollar spent. Other products and services can also yield varying point values, depending on the bank’s discretion.

Another feature that cardholders have to look for when researching for the best credit cards is the expiration of the accumulated points. The ideal card never allows a consumer’s accumulated points to expire. Many small-time card issuers offer reward systems but the cardholders’ points expire after a certain period. Major card companies, on the other hand, make sure that their customers enjoy the benefits of their products indefinitely. This is a major factor in determining the sincerity of a bank or card company.

Paying on time and in full gives cardholders a better chance of redeeming reward points and maximizing the benefits that come with them. Responsible card ownership is the number one key to having great perks.

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