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Credit Cards, Earning Cashback, Reviews

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Review: 2.5% Unlimited Cash Back

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Few credit cards offer unlimited 2.5% cash back on all spending without caps or complicated category restrictions. Alliant Credit Union recently rolled out its Cashback Visa Signature Card, which may very well be the “holy grail” of unlimited cash back cards.

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card gives cardholders 3% cash back the first year and 2.5% back subsequent years. This card does have an annual fee, but the fee is waived for the first 12 months.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

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Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$59 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
Unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards
APR
11.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

How the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card works

Alliant Credit Union is an online credit union that anyone can join. If you don’t meet the standard credit union qualifying criteria (being a relative of a member or working for a select organization), you can join by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success.

If you choose to apply for this card, be sure to swipe it as much as possible during the first year to make the most of the free 3% cash back. This is a great deal.

The annual fee after the first year is $59. Aside from the annual fee, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card has extra costs within the card terms that are pretty typical of any credit card.

Most notably, there’s a 3% balance transfer fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Redeeming Your Cash Back

You can redeem cash back earned through statement credit when your cash back balance reaches $25. Cash back expires after five years. Cash back also expires if your credit card account is closed voluntarily or involuntarily.

Who This Credit Card Is Best For

We highly recommend the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card if you hate keeping up with revolving category cards. Category rules can be a pain. This card makes earning cash back painless.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes using category cards (airline, grocery, gas, etc.), this card also partners nicely with others. Keep it in your wallet to maximize rewards in areas that your category cards don’t cover.

Alliant Credit Union has very lenient member-qualifying criteria, so non-members can join today. If you already have an Alliant Credit Union card, call credit card services to request an upgrade.

Cardholders report that you can get approved with a score in the high 600s, although credit card services states qualification is based on more than just your credit score.

For example, you may qualify for this card with less-than-perfect credit if your income is high. Since this is a Visa Signature card, credit limits are higher than traditional cards, and that requires having enough income to support a good-sized limit.

What we like about the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card

We like this card a lot because it’s one of few credit cards that give you 2% cash back without a long list of rules on what you can and can’t buy.

Until now, the Citi Double Cash card has been our top recommendation for no-fuss 2% cash back on all spending. However, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card is giving the Citi Double Cash card some stiff competition.

The 3% cash back without an annual fee the first year is very hard to beat. And if you spend at least $1,000 per month on the card after year one, 2.5% cash back with the annual fee still outperforms the Citi Double Cash card.

We’ll discuss why the magic number for spending is $1,000 in our credit card comparison below.

What we don’t like about the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card

There’s not too much to discuss that’s negative about this card. The one thing to be mindful of is that it does not have an interest-free intro deal on new purchases or balance transfers.

This means you shouldn’t take out this card intending to go on a crazy shopping spree or to finance big life events like a wedding, relocating, or traveling unless there’s a repayment plan in the strategy.

You’ll get a great deal of cash back from large purchases the first 12 months, but you need to pay off the balance promptly to avoid many interest charges.

Three Alternative 2%+ Cash Back Credit Cards

We started out this post mentioning that there aren’t too many unlimited 2%+ cash back cards available, so let’s dive into the three main alternatives:

  • Citi Double Cash
  • Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature
  • USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature

Citi Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash card is usually our “go-to” pick for unlimited 2% cash back with no category restrictions.

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card clearly has the Citi Double Cash card beat in the first year. Things get a little less clear-cut when the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card starts costing $59 annually.

As mentioned, when taking the fee into consideration, you need to spend over $1,000 per month on the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card to earn more from it than the Citi Double Cash card.

Here’s the calculation breakdown:

  • Citi Double Cash: $12,000 (spent) x 2% (cash back) = $240
  • Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card: $12,000 (spent) x 2.5% = $300 – $59 (fee) = $241

The more you spend beyond $12,000 per year, the more the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card outperforms the Citi Double Cash card.

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card is another 2% cash back option with no fee, but this card comes with conditions. You can only earn 2% cash back when you direct deposit rewards into a Fidelity Investment account.

This is still a decent deal for Fidelity Investment customers. If you plan to spend less than $12,000 per year on your rewards card, consider this one or the Citi Double Cash card.

USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature

Lastly, the Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card from USAA offers an unlimited 2.5% cash back with no annual fee. This card also has restrictions.

You have to keep a certain amount of cash in a connected USAA checking account to qualify for 2.5% cash back. Plus, the card is only made available to select USAA members who live in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

In comparison to these cards, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card is a rare bird with its over 2%+ cash back program and very limited fine print.

Rewards Cards: Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Alliant cash back rewards expire after 5 years, and you also forfeit your unused rewards if you close your account. It’s important to note that cash back doesn’t expire exactly 5 years from the date you earn it. Cash back rewards expire on a rolling, annual basis; cash back earned in a calendar year will expire on the December cycle date of the fourth calendar year in which it was earned. For example, any unredeemed cash back earned in 2017 will expire on the December cycle date in 2021.

Anything over 1.5% cashback is a good deal. There are some cards that offer more — as much as 5 or 6% cash back on purchases. But sometimes those offers are too good to be true. Banks don’t like to lose money, and will pepper the fine print with all sorts of limitations. For example, they may offer 5% cash back on only purchases at certain types of retailers and only for certain periods of time. And those categories may change every quarter, which can make it hard to keep track.

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

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

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

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom Review: Is 5% Easy?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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

Chase Freedom<sup>®</sup>

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Chase Freedom®

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

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Excellent/Good

How to Earn Cash Back with the Chase Freedom® Card

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

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

Here are the current 5% bonus categories for 2017:

October – December

Walmart and Department Stores

How to Activate the Quarterly 5% Cash Back Categories

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

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

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

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

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

What we like about the card

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

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

A good selection of 5% categories.

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

You can pair it up with other Chase rewards.

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

What we don’t like about the card

Need to enroll manually.

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

A cap on 5% earning.

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

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

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

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

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

How Much Are Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points Worth?

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

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

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

Statement credit or cash deposit redemption: 100 points = $1

Gift card redemption: 100 points = $1

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

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

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

Combine with a Chase Sapphire® Credit Card

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

How to Qualify for the Chase Freedom Card®

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

Overview of Card Benefits

For benefits and protections, the Chase Freedom® card offers:

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

Alternatives to Chase Freedom

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

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

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

Discover it® Cashback Match™

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

The first big difference is the intro bonus. With Chase Freedom®, you can earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Discover, on the other hand, will match all of the cash back earned during your first year, automatically. There is no cap to how much you can earn. If you are a big spender (especially in the bonus categories), you would earn much more during Year 1 with Discover. Here is a comparison of first year earnings:

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

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

The second big difference is the categories. Each quarter Discover and Chase announce their bonus categories, and they can be different. At Discover, the 5% categories until December 2017 are Amazon.com and Target.

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

Flat Rate Cash Back Cards

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

Citi® Double Cash

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

Alliant Cashback Visa

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

Bonus Category Cash Back Credit Cards

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

Who the card is best for

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

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

Rewards Cards: Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback

Citi Double Cash Review: Twice The Cash, No Limits

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Citi® Double Cash card offers the highest no-fee flat-rate cash back credit card on the market. If you pay your balance in full and on time every month, you can earn up to double cash back on everything you spend. You earn 1% cash back when you spend, and then 1% cash back when you pay. If you pay your statement balance in full and deposit the cash back into your checking account, you will have earned a nice 2%.

There is no cap on the cash back you can earn, and there are no rotating categories or requirements to opt into every quarter. If you are looking to earn a lot of cash back without a lot of work, this card could be right for you.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee
$0*
Cashback Rate
1% when you buy, 1% when you pay
APR
14.49%-24.49%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Excellent/Good

How the Citi® Double Cash Card works

To get double cash back, you must emulate the habits of the savviest credit card holders: use your card, and pay it off in full each month. Do anything else, and you won’t get the full benefit of the double cash back reward.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you receive your first 1% when you purchase something, but Citi holds onto the second 1% cash back reward until you pay them back. So you get 1% cash back for every dollar you spend, and another 1% cash back for each dollar you pay off on your balance — on time — each month.

To get the maximum double cash back quickly, you should pay off your entire balance. However, as long as you pay the minimum each month, you’ll eventually receive the double cash back, although you’ll pay a lot more than 1% in interest each month.

How to redeem cash back with Citi

When your balance reaches $25, you can choose to redeem your cash reward through a gift card, check, direct deposit, or statement credit to your Citi account. Beware: if you redeem with a statement credit, you won’t get exactly double cash back, but just shy of it depending on the size of the reward.

If you redeem via gift card, you’ll select from retail, restaurant, entertainment, and electronic gift cards in Citi’s gift card marketplace. Choosing the direct deposit option will allow you to transfer your cash back directly to your bank account whether it’s a Citi account or not. If you redeem via check, you should receive a paper check at the address you have on file in 7 to 10 business days.

You can also redeem with a statement credit, but you might notice you don’t get quite double cash back. Since a $25 credit on your statement reduces the amount you’d need to pay back by some amount, you technically get a little less than 2% cash back.

For example, if you redeem $1,000 in cash back for the year, you’ll be shorted about $10 if you redeem your rewards with a statement credit. Assuming you paid off your balance each month, your cash back is reduced to about 1.98%. If you don’t want to miss out on that gap, redeem via check or direct deposit. Also, remember Citi does not count a statement credit as a payment, so you still need to make at least your minimum monthly payment by the due date or you’ll be charged a late fee.

For more details on how to get your cash back, check out this article, where we show you step-by-step how to redeem your cash back with Citi.

Disclaimer: Your rewards will expire if you don’t use your card for 12 months, so be sure to swipe at lease once a year, or redeem your cash before it expires.

How to qualify for the Citi® Double Cash Card

Borrowers with good or excellent credit scores are likely to get approved for the Citi® Double Cash Card. That means you can still get approved with a few marks on your credit report. That’s unusual as rewards cards with a 0% introductory balance transfer offer like the Citi® Double Cash Card are rare for those who lack excellent credit.

Overview of card benefits

The Citi® Double Cash Card offers the following benefits and protections to cardholders:

  • No penalty for your first missed payment. Citi won’t charge you a late fee on a first missed payment. This benefit forgives those who usually pay on time, but may miss a payment by accident. Careful, you WILL be charged a fee if you miss a second payment.
  • Citi Private Pass. Citi customers get special access to purchase presale tickets and VIP packages to events such as concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and complimentary movie screenings.
  • Citi Price Rewind. If you notice a price drop on the big-ticket item you just bought, Citi may have already refunded you the difference. Citi Price Rewind will look for a lower price on any registered items you purchase for 60 days. If the system finds a lower price, you may be refunded the difference.
  • Chip-enabled card. Just one warning: this is a chip and signature card (and not a chip and pin card). While that should be fine for all of your spending in America, it might make using the card overseas a bit more difficult when only chip-and-pin is accepted.
  • Citi Concierge. Citi Concierge sets you up with trained experts to help you plan your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment, and other parts of your next trip.
  • Protection against interrupted trips. If your travel plans are interrupted for some reason, Citi will reimburse you for part of your hassle. The bank will reimburse any nonrefundable travel expenses such as change fees if you paid for the ticket with your Citi Double Cash Card.
  • Car rental and collision insurance. You can skip paying extra for the rental company’s collision loss and damage insurance if you use your Citi Double Cash Card. Citi will cover you against any theft or damage done to the rental as long as you used your Citi card to pay for it.
  • Zero liability protection. You won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information. This is a fairly common credit card benefit.
  • Purchase protection covers repairs or refunds for your new purchases in case of damage or theft within 120 days of your making the purchase.
  • Lost wallet service. If you happen to lose your wallet and everything in it, take some comfort in knowing your Citi card, at least, will be replaced within 24 hours. Citi can also give you emergency cash up to your available cash advance limit to help out between losing your card and receiving a new one.

Why we like the Citi® Double Cash Card

It has the highest no-fee flat rate reward in the market.

The clearest advantage of the Citi® Double Cash Card is that it offers the highest flat rate cash rewards program without an annual fee on the market. The card’s double cash back feature can be a valuable feature for those known to make most everyday purchases on a credit card, and pay the card balance off each month.

The flat rate on all purchases keeps earning rewards simple.

If you like things simple, the card’s flat rate on everything will make keeping up with rewards a breeze. You’ll earn 1% on everything you buy, so there won’t be any need for you to fumble through a stack of credit cards for a specific cash back card at the grocery store. It also eliminates stressing over when or by how much rewards categories might change on your current go-to card each quarter.

It’s a good balance transfer card, too.

The card’s 18-month introductory 0% balance transfer offer makes it a good choice for those seeking to consolidate debt, too. The cash back rewards won’t apply to your balance transfer, but you’ll get 18 billing cycles to pay off the balance interest-free before the card’s higher ongoing interest rate kicks in.

It comes with other great cardholder benefits.

The Citi® Double Cash Card’s other benefits aren’t bad either. The card also grants you free access to view your Equifax FICO® Score, and the Citi Price Rewind benefit automatically reimburses you the difference on purchases made with your card if the price changes within 60 days.

What to watch out for with the Citi® Double Cash Card

You have to pay off your balance in full to reap the full reward.

You could pay the minimum each month and eventually see you’ve redeemed your cash back. However, the reward really only benefits you if you pay your balance in full each month. If you don’t, the full interest you’ll be charged on your purchases will eclipse the double cash back benefit.

It charges a 3% balance transfer fee.

Although the balance transfer isn’t the main perk the card has, it’s important to note Citi charges you a 3% fee to transfer your balance. Granted, the charge isn’t much compared to the 16% on average you’d be charged in interest on your balance each month if you don’t transfer, but there are many, no-fee balance transfer alternatives (like the Discover it® or Chase Slate® cards) you could qualify for instead.

You get charged 3% to use it overseas.

You’ll pay to use this card overseas, and the fee isn’t worth it if you can avoid doing so. The 3% foreign transaction fee you’ll be charged to swipe makes the potential double cash back you’d receive on the purchase trivial.

It doesn’t come with a sign-on bonus.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you won’t get a sign-on bonus like you’d get with other competing cash back cards like Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature ($100) or the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. It’s not a huge pitfall among the card’s best-in-class cash back offer and other perks, but it’s something to consider when weighing your options.

Your rewards will eventually expire.

Take care to redeem your cash back before you stop using the card! If you don’t earn cash back on rewards with your Citi® Double Cash Card for 12 months, your rewards will expire. If you plan to stop using the card — maybe you accepted the offer for a specific purchase, or simply for the balance transfer offer — make sure to redeem your cash back before adding it to your credit card graveyard.

Alternatives to the Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card has the highest no-fee flat rate cash back reward on the market, but it might not be the best cash back card for you, depending on your spending habits.

Cards that only earn cash back in certain categories, for example, may work better for you. You might find you spend most of your income in a category such as groceries or gas, so you’d earn a greater reward with a card that earns cash back only in specific spending categories or enjoy keeping up with rotating categories.

Next we compare how the Citi® Double Cash Card compares to four other cash back credit cards:

  • Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature – the other 2% cash back credit card
  • Alliant Cashback Visa Signature – the 2.5%-3% cash back credit card with a fee
  • Chase Freedom® — the rotating category alternative
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express— the bonus category alternative

Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature

Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature card earns cardholders 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee. The card is best for existing Fidelity customers, as the funds you earn must be deposited into a Fidelity account.

Borrowers with “good” credit need not apply for this card. Your credit score has to be above 700 to get approved for a line of credit with the Fidelity Visa. Even then, you may be disappointed if you’re not a big Fidelity customer as Fidelity bases its credit limits on the total amount of assets it’s managing on your behalf.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature

If you don’t mind paying an annual fee, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card could be a viable alternative to the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Alliant’s Cashback Visa Signature card offers an unlimited 3% on all purchases in the first year and 2.5% cash back on all purchases in the years following. You’ll also forgo a foreign transaction fee if you use the card overseas. The catch is, cardholders pay a $59 annual fee to hold the card. Only those with excellent credit and high income will qualify for this rewards offer.

Chase Freedom® — the rotating category alternative

With Chase Freedom®, you’ll automatically earn 1% back on all purchases, 5% on purchases you make in the categories you’ve activated. The card also offers a $150 signing bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

The Chase Freedom® card rotates rewards categories each quarter, so you’ll need to look out for changes and opt in to the quarter’s categories before you can start earning rewards in them. You also enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. You can also earn a $25 bonus when you add an authorized user and make your first purchase within the first three months.

If you qualify for the Citi® Double Cash Back Card, you have a good chance of qualifying for Chase Freedom®, too. Borrowers with good or excellent credit scores have the best shot at getting approved for the Chase Freedom® card.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express — the bonus category alternative

With a card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you’ll earn a larger amount of cash back in certain categories. The card awards holders 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 worth of spending. You also get 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. So, if your household spends big on gas and groceries, the rewards you’d earn with a card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express will likely be greater that what you could earn with the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Try using this tool to figure out which cash back card has the best ongoing program for your needs. Fill in how much you tend to spend each month in each spending category, and the system will generate recommendations based on your spending habits.

Who benefits the most from the Citi® Double Cash Card

Overall, cash back cards can be a great way to put some extra money in your pocket, as long as you remember to pay your statement balance in full each month. Interest and late fees can eclipse your cash back earnings pretty quickly.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is best for borrowers with good or excellent credit, who make everyday purchases with a credit card and have great payment habits. The double cash back feature is great if you already have the discipline to pay your statement balances off in full each month, and it’s the only way the card’s reward offer is valuable. If you don’t think you can consistently pay off your card each month, it’s best to get the habit set in stone before trying a rewards credit card.

If you’ve never had a rewards card, the Citi® Double Cash Card’s simple terms and flat rate cash back rewards make for a great starter rewards card and — so long as you pay your balance off each month — it can be a great way to earn extra pocket change without going into debt.

Citi® Double Cash Card FAQs

You’ll get up to double cash back on all of your purchases, which is the logic behind advertising the card as “Double Cash” and not “2% Cash.” You’ll earn your first 1% on all purchases, then another 1% when you pay off the purchase, but if you choose to redeem your cash back via statement credit on your account, you’re technically getting just shy of 2% cash back.

Yes, the cash back on the Citi® Double Cash card expires if you haven’t used your card for 12 months.

Anything over 1.5% cash back is a good deal. There are some cards that offer more — as much as 5% or 6% cash back on purchases. But sometimes those offers are too good to be true. Banks don’t like to lose money and will pepper the fine print with all sorts of limitations. For example, they may offer 5% cash back on only purchases at certain types of retailers and only for certain periods of time. And those categories may change every quarter, which can make it hard to keep track.

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

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

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

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at brittney@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback

How to Earn and Receive Cashback with Discover

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

How to Earn and Receive Cashback with Discover

Discover has a wide range of credit card options, including student cards, travel cards, secured cards, and cashback cards. When it comes to its cashback card, Discover offers some special features for cardholders looking to cash in on rewards.

For starters, the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card has no annual fee, 5% cashback in select, rotating categories, and 1% cashback on all other purchases. Cardholders can also redeem their cashback at any time.

If you have the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card in your wallet, the Discover website is the one-stop shop for managing your credit card and checking on your cashback and redeeming it.

In this article, we’ll touch on:

  • How to earn cashback with your Discover it® card
  • Navigating the Discovercard.com portal
  • How to redeem your cashback

How to Earn CashBack with Discover

It’s easy to earn cashback with your Discover it® Cashback Match™, which can make it a top contender when choosing which card you’ll use to make everyday purchases.

In order to take advantage of the 5% cashback offer year-round, you’ll need to spend in certain rotating categories throughout the year.

The current spending category for October – December is Amazon.com and Target.

With Discover’s 5% cashback, there’s a spending cap of $1,500 each quarter, meaning you can earn a maximum of $75 in cashback each quarter or $300 per year.

However, you can also earn at least 1% cashback on all your other purchases, and there’s no cap on how much you can spend or how much cashback you can receive, so if you want to maximize cashback rewards, you could possibly earn more than $300 per year.

Don’t Forget …

Discover cardholders have to “opt in” each quarter to start receiving 5% cashback when spending in the rotating spending categories. This is important to remember and easy to do by simply following the prompts in Discover’s reminder email or logging on to your account.

Cashback also doesn’t expire as long as your account is in good standing, so you can stack up your rewards over time if you forget.

New customers may receive special offers like cashback matching, which is when Discover it® matches all the cashback you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year. The double cashback will be applied to your account balance after the end of the twelfth billing cycle.

How to Access Cashback Rewards

When you start earning cashback with your Discover it® card, you can check your available Cashback Bonus right on Discover’s online portal, which is called the Account Center.

Go to Discover.com and type in your login information. Make sure the drop-down menu below the password field says “credit card” so you can access your online account for your Discover it credit card.

discover cash back 1

After you log in, you should see a screen similar to the one shown below. Below you can see the Cashback Bonus available is clearly displayed on this first page along with information about the current quarter’s spending categories and a link to the Cashback Bonus calendar, which provides more information about each 5% cashback spending category.

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You can click on the button underneath your cashback rewards summary to see a more detailed page, which should look similar to the one below.

Here, you can learn more about earning cashback and redeeming your Cashback Bonus.

discover cash back 3

 

Options for Redemption

Discover it® cardholders can redeem their Cashback Bonus at any time, and you have a variety of options to choose from.

Amazon Products

You can use your cashback to pay for online purchases on Amazon.com. This can give your wallet a rest when you’re shopping online and can come in handy around the holidays.

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Gift Cards and E-Certificates

You can also redeem your Cashback Bonus for gift cards and e-certificates (digital gift cards for online shopping) at over 100 popular retailers and restaurants. Right now, Discover is offering a $25 gift card for cardholders who want to redeem $20 in cashback. You can also find other incentive offers to use gift cards or e-certificates, such as $80 of cashback for a $100 e-certificate to Banana Republic. Using gift cards or e-certificates could help your cashback stretch further.

discover cash bank 5

 

Donation, Cash, and Statement Credit

Finally, Discover it® cardholders can donate their cashback rewards, or redeem the cash by applying it to their credit card statement to partially cover existing charges or by transferring it to their bank account.

discover cash bank 6

Transferring Cashback to Your Bank

To redeem your cashback rewards for cash, you’ll have to click on the “Redeem For Cash” button after scrolling down to view your redemption options for your credit card account on Discover’s Account Center portal.

When you see a screen similar to the one shown below, enter the amount of cashback you’d like to redeem and click the option that says “Direct deposit to your bank account” if you want to receive the cash instead of applying it to your credit card balance.

Your checking account that you use to pay your credit card bill each month should already be connected to your Discover it®.

account, so you can select it from the drop-down menu below. For the time being, Discover, won’t let you add another account to transfer your Cashback Bonus to.

discover cash bank 7

When you’ve selected the amount you’d like to redeem and the account you’d like to transfer it to, click “Continue” and approve and confirm the transaction.

If you don’t want to use Discover’s online portal, you’ll have to call 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683) to redeem your Cashback Bonus.

After you redeem your Cashback Bonus, the time it takes to receive your reward can vary based on the redemption method you chose.

  • Partner gift cards will be mailed to your billing address within 10 business days
  • Electronic deposits will appear in your bank account within 72 hours
  • Account credits will post to your account within 2 business days

Final Word

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ card is a great option for people who like to earn cashback, thanks to its 5% cashback rewards and no annual fee, and it also provides a flexible range of redemption options.

Whether you want to apply your Cashback Bonus to your current balance, use it to shop online or at your favorite department store, or deposit the cash straight to your checking account so you can spend it however you please, you can do all of that and more.

The Account Center portal is also very user friendly and easy to navigate when trying to redeem cashback.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Capital One Venture Card Review: Earn 2X Miles on Every Purchase

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you frequently travel for business or leisure, a travel rewards credit card is one you want to keep close. Using a travel card to earn and redeem rewards can lower your out-of-pocket travel costs.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a credit card that rewards cardholders in miles for everyday spending. The miles you accumulate can be used to cover the cost of flights, hotel accommodations, and more through the Capital One rewards center. In this post, we’ll dive into:

  • The credit card basics
  • How to redeem cashback
  • The fine print details
  • The pros and cons

The Basics of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 

  1. Earn unlimited 2X miles for every dollar you spend.

There’s no cap on how many miles you can earn. 100 miles earns you $1 in travel rewards, so 1 mile equals 1 cent when you redeem miles for travel purchases.

  1. Earn 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 within the first three months.

50,000 bonus miles is equal to $500 for you to use on travel.

  1. No annual fee the first year.

After the first year, the annual fee bumps up to $95.

How to Redeem Miles Earned

You can redeem the miles you earn in two ways. You can book travel first with your Venture card and then use miles to credit the travel purchases on your statement. Or you can use miles like cash to pay for new travel bookings upfront. The redemption value on travel is 1 cent per mile either way you choose to redeem your miles.

Here’s how to do both:

Using miles to credit past travel purchases

After making a travel purchase on the card, log in to your online account or call the Capital One rewards center to use the Purchase Eraser tool. The Purchase Eraser feature will credit your account for qualifying travel purchases. You must use the Purchase Eraser tool within 90 days of making a travel purchase for it to be eligible for statement credit. It usually takes two to three days for the amount to be credited to your account. You may also be able to do partial redemptions to cover a portion of the cost of travel, but this is subject to minimum redemption amounts.

Previous travel you can get a credit for includes:

  •       Airfare
  •       Bus fares
  •       Car rentals
  •       Cruises
  •       Hotel accommodations
  •       Limo services
  •       Taxicab fares
  •       Timeshares
  •       Train fares
  •       Travel agency costs

Using miles to pay for new travel bookings

For new travel bookings, you also log in to your online account or call the Capital One rewards center. You can book flights, car rentals, and hotel accommodations with your miles.

Besides travel, you can also cash in miles earned to receive a gift card, check, or account credit (for non-travel purchases). Gift cards have the same value as travel redemption. However, the value you get for a check or account credit on non-travel spending is only 50 cents per mile.

Venture cardholders will get the most bang for their buck on gift cards and travel. For example, if you use the 40,000 bonus miles to request a check, you’ll only get $200. Using the bonus miles for travel or a gift card instead will get you 50% more value. 

The Fine Print and Fees

The Venture card doesn’t hit cardholders heavy with fine print or fees. There’s no limit to how many miles you can earn, and miles never expire. Participating in the rewards program will be smooth sailing as long as you pay the monthly bill on time. You forfeit miles you earn during any billing cycle when you’re charged a late fee.

We briefly mentioned the card’s $95 annual fee that applies after the first year. You’ll need to spend at least $2,950 each year on the card to earn enough miles to cover the cost of the fee in travel rewards value.

The credit card interest rate is 13.99% to 23.99% APR variable. To get the most value from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (or any rewards card, for the matter), you need to pay off your entire balance in full each month to eliminate interest charges. Otherwise, interest charges from a revolving balance will decrease how much you’re really gaining from miles earned.

Benefits and Protections

Let’s cover the protections the Venture card can offer you while globetrotting since it’s a rewards card for travelers. There’s $0 fraud liability, which means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized purchases if your card is lost or stolen.

The Venture card also comes with travel accident insurance and 24-hour travel assistance. The card comes with rental car insurance that can cover you for rental car collision and theft.

Pros and Cons

Pro: Waived annual fee the first year and miles bonus. New Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card cardholders have a major opportunity to benefit from bonus miles and no fee the first year. Say you already plan to take a trip or make a major purchase over $3,000 in the next few months. You can apply for the card and charge the purchase to your new account. This will automatically earn you 50,000 miles to put toward another trip.

Con: The annual fee. The annual fee waiver the first year is a pro, but the $95 fee for following years may be a deal-breaker if you don’t plan to spend enough on the card. 

Pro: No cap. Earning unlimited miles is a positive for big spenders.

Con: The redemption value for cash and statement credit. If you want to use your miles for something other than travel, such as cash or a statement credit (for non-travel purchases), you will only get 0.50 cents per point. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a travel rewards card, so it’ll likely attract cardholders who want to use miles for travel bookings, and the lower redemption value on other options may not be a huge deal. Just be mindful that you will get less for your miles if you use them for something else. 

Pro: No foreign transaction fee. Many travel rewards cards besides the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card card don’t have foreign transaction fees. We’ll cover a few of them below. Not having this fee is a pro, but it’s also something that’s fairly common among travel rewards cards.

Other Travel Rewards Credit Cards to Consider

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers you 2X points on travel and dining. When you use Chase Ultimate Rewards® to redeem points, 1 point equals 1 cent.

There are two standout aspects of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that can benefit travelers. Points are 25% more valuable when you use them to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You can also transfer the points you earn to other rewards programs, 1:1.

The new cardholder bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is currently 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months. This is equal to $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5X points per dollar on all purchases and has no annual or foreign transaction fees. The card gives 20,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 within the first three months of having the card. This equals $200 in a statement credit or travel purchases.

Cardholders also get a 10% point bonus for having an active checking or savings account. Preferred Bank of America cardholders who have a balance of over $20,000 in a Bank of America banking or Merrill Lynch investment account can earn an extra 25% to 75% bonus on their rewards points. Ultimately, current Bank of America customers will likely get the most value from this card. 

If you prefer to stick with Capital One, there is also the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card. This card offers unlimited 1.25X miles per dollar on all purchases and has no annual or foreign transaction fees. The card gives 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 within the first three months. This is the equivalent of $200 in statement credit or travel purchases.

Comparing Venture and VentureOne side by side, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card may be the better choice if you’re unlikely to spend $3,000 within the first three months. However, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card may be worth it if you are able to receive their 50,000 bonus miles, especially with the $95 annual fee waived in the first year.

Who Will Benefit the Most from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card?

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has no spending cap, so if you use plastic often, this could be a card that will reward you well.

You still need to make sure you’re prepared to spend enough on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card for it to be worthwhile. Estimate what your spending activity on the card will be each year to see if you’ll spend enough to cover the fee.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback

How to Redeem Cashback with Capital One

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

How to Redeem Cashback with Capital One

Capital One offers a credit card option for everyone, whether you’re a student, consumer looking to earn rewards, or a business owner. If you’re looking for a flexible cashback card with no annual fee, the Capital One Quicksilver card is an excellent choice because the card allows you to receive cashback on everything you purchase.

In this post, we’ll touch on:

  • How to earn and track cashback rewards with your Quicksilver card
  • Navigating through the Capital One online portal to access cashback rewards
  • How to redeem cashback rewards

Since you can earn cashback on every purchase you make, it’s very easy to rack up cashback rewards with the Capital One Quicksilver card. Cardholders receive 1.5% cashback, which isn’t the highest rate on the market, but it’s unlimited and there are no quarterly, rotating categories you need to sign up for. The only way you’ll ever lose rewards is if your account is closed. 

How to Access Cashback with Capital One Quicksilver

To access your cashback rewards, you’ll log in to your account by going to capitalone.com/sign-in. You’ll see a screen like the one below, where you can click ‘Sign In’ in the US Credit Cards column in the Credit Cards category.

capone1

After you log in to your account, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard. If you have more than one Capital One credit card, you’ll need to look at the account that says “Quicksilver” or “QuicksilverOne,” which will display a preview of your cashback rewards amount. 

Earned rewards are usually visible online within 10 days, but may take up to two statement cycles to post to your account.

capone2

The amount you have in cashback is clickable and will take you to the My Rewards page that shows more details about earning and receiving cashback. 

How to Redeem Cashback Rewards

You can view all your options to redeem your cashback rewards on the My Rewards page. Cardholders can set up automatic redemption preferences for their cashback or request it manually.

capone3

If you use your card every day and regularly earn cashback, you might find it convenient to set up an automatic redemption option, and you can even set up your account to redeem cashback when you reach a certain threshold like a $25 or $50 in cashback.

Setting Up Automatic Redemption for Cashback Rewards

Step 1: To set up automatic redemption for your cashback, click on “Set Auto Rewards Preferences” at the bottom of the My Rewards page (as seen in the screenshot above). 

Step 2: After you click on it, a pop-up window will appear, and you’ll need to click the green “Let’s Get Started” button to set your preferences. capone4

Step 3: Next you’ll choose where you’d like your rewards to go. You can choose from a credit to your account or a check by mail.

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Step 4: Now you’ll choose when you want your cashback rewards to be redeemed. Since the amount of cashback you receive depends on the amount of purchases you make and how often you use your Quicksilver credit card, it might be tricky to pinpoint when you’d like to redeem cashback rewards, but you can always change your preference later.

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If you prefer to redeem your cashback when it reaches a certain amount, you can choose between the following thresholds: $25, $50, $100, and $200.

If you choose to have it redeemed by date, you can choose your month, and you’ll receive whatever cashback you earned on the fifth of every month.

Capital One Quicksilver cardholders who don’t want to set up automatic redemption preferences for their cashback rewards can redeem cashback easily by doing it manually from the My Rewards page after signing in to their online account.

Plus, there are more options available when you choose to redeem your rewards manually.

Redeeming Your Rewards for Cash

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If you’d like to redeem your cashback for cash, you can choose between getting an account credit, receiving a check in the mail, or applying your rewards to purchases you’ve made with your Quicksilver card.

If you are carrying a balance, the option to redeem cashback for purchases may come in handy by helping you pay down your balance and avoid some interest charges.

Gift Cards

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There are more than 80 gift cards you can receive for retailers, restaurants, online stores, and more when you redeem your cashback rewards. Some gift cards are only available in certain amounts, so if you only have $10 in cashback, for example, you’ll be able to get an Amazon gift card but you won’t have enough to get an Applebee’s gift card. 

Donate

capone9

If you want to donate your cashback, you can start that process by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on the My Rewards page dashboard.

Clicking on that button will direct you to capitalone.com/give, where you can search for charities and nonprofits and redeem your cashback so you can donate it to a cause you support. 

Transfer Rewards to Another Account

capone10

You may be able to transfer your cashback rewards if you have another Capital One account. Rewards transfers are only permitted between certain Capital One accounts, so you’ll need to check eligibility by typing in the account number and your last name to see if this option is available to you.

If you are able to transfer your rewards to another Capital One account, it’s free to do, and you can transfer your rewards to friends’ or family members’ accounts so you can redeem them faster.

This is a great option if you are planning a trip with family or friends and want to use credit card rewards to supplement the travel costs.

The rewards you transfer don’t expire. 

Final Word

Earning cashback with a Capital One Quicksilver card is as easy as making a purchase. When it comes to redeeming your rewards, the process is also simple and you have plenty of redemption options.

Cardholders who use their card regularly should set up automatic rewards redemption preferences for added convenience. The simplified process of redeeming rewards along with the various options available and the fact that rewards never expire (as long as your account is in good standing) make it easy for cardholders to enjoy the benefits of earning and redeeming cashback.

Chonce Maddox
Chonce Maddox |

Chonce Maddox is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Chonce at chonce@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards, Earning Cashback, Reviews

USAA is Secretly Testing a New 2.5% Limitless Cashback Credit Card — And It Could be a Game Changer

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Two best friends sitting in a cafe and gossiping,

A cashback rewards card that gives you more than 2% cashback on every single purchase with no annual fee, no spending cap, and no category restrictions is fairly rare. That’s why the new USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card could be a game changer.

Rumors of the card’s existence first surfaced on Reddit last month. The card was featured briefly on the USAA website in mid-October but quickly disappeared.

MagnifyMoney reached out to a USAA spokesperson, who said they could confirm the card is in pilot mode but could not say when it will be released to the broader USAA membership.

“We believe this new product can provide our members better value and reward them for their loyalty to USAA,” said Gloria Manzano, senior communications partner for the company.  “If we determine this potential new product can help us better serve our members, we’ll make it available to all of our members as soon as possible.”

Manzano declined to offer more details on the terms and benefits that the card will offer.

Because of the exclusivity of this pilot product, there was very little information on the offer until recently. In this post, we’ve put together what we know about the card so far, based on customer testimonies online and the brief glimpse of the cards terms when it was featured on USAA.com in October.  We will update this post as new information is published.

  • The credit card basics
  • How to apply for the card and redeem cashback
  • USAA eligibility criteria
  • The fine print details
  • The pros and cons

The Basics of the USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature Card

  1. Earn unlimited 2.5% cashback.

All purchases get 2.5% cashback with no cap.

  1. A USAA bank account with a monthly $1,000+ direct deposit is required to earn 2.5% cashback.

The 2.5% cashback deal does come with one catch. You must have an open USAA bank account and maintain a monthly direct deposit into that account of over $1,000 every 30 days to earn 2.5% cashback.

  1. Earn unlimited 1.5% cashback without direct deposit.

If you don’t meet the $1,000 direct deposit condition, all purchases get 1.5% cashback instead.

Applying for the Card and Using Cashback Earned

USAA members can log in to their USAA account to review all credit card products. Because the card is in pilot mode, you can apply for the card only if the USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card shows up as an available offer. You can also call USAA and give member services your member number to find out if you’re eligible.

Redeeming cashback rewards with USAA is simple. Cashback can be redeemed at any time in increments of $1. You can request a cash deposit into a USAA checking or savings account. The other option for redemption is statement credit.

USAA Eligibility Criteria

USAA credit cards are only open to USAA members. USAA serves customers who meet certain eligibility criteria. Those who don’t fall into any of the qualifying groups will not be able to take advantage of the 2.5% cashback opportunity.

USAA offers membership to active military currently serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. You can also apply for membership if you’re a former military service member who’s retired or has been honorably discharged.

Family of USAA members, including children, widows, widowers, and un-remarried former spouses, are eligible for membership as well. Cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC, or on ROTC scholarship and officers within 24 months of commissioning are eligible for USAA services.

You can review the eligibility criteria and apply for membership here.

The Fine Print and Fees

Keep in mind there may be changes to the terms of this card in the future since it’s currently a pilot program.

Right now, the card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. The only fine print is that you must have $1,000 to direct deposit into a primary bank account with USAA every 30 days to get the unlimited 2.5% cashback. This may or may not be possible based on your job, financial situation, and where you prefer to bank.

Pros and Cons

Pro: Earn 2.5% cashback. Getting unlimited 2.5% cashback without having to worry about a spending limit or changing your spending habits each quarter is a sweet offer.

Con: The $1,000 direct deposit requirement for 2.5% cashback. Even though this isn’t a difficult requirement to satisfy, it’s still another hoop you must jump through beyond becoming a member to unlock the 2.5% cashback. We’ll cover another cashback card below that offers double cash without stipulations.

Pro: USAA has a straightforward redemption process. You can use your cashback at any time as long as you redeem it in $1 increments. 

Con: It may still be a waiting game. The rollout of this card was pretty “hush-hush.” The card wasn’t even shown on the USAA website until recently. At first, only targeted members were getting a special invitation and sneak peek of the offer. Now the terms appear on the site, and you can log in to your USAA account to see if the pilot program is available to you. 

Pro: No fees. This card has no fees across the board. You earn an unlimited amount of cashback while avoiding annual and foreign transaction fees. There’s also no fee to open up a USAA bank account to set up your monthly direct deposit for the 2.5% cashback.

Other Cashback Cards to Consider

Since the USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card is a bit heavy on the qualifying conditions, let’s cover two cards that will give anyone cashback.

The Citi® Double Cash Card may be the biggest rival to the USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card because you can earn double cashback without having to meet any special conditions. This card has no caps or category restrictions. You get 1% cashback when you make a purchase and then another 1% cashback when you pay off the statement. There’s also no annual fee, and you can redeem cash earned for a check, statement credit, or gift card.

For another quick cashback comparison, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% cashback unlimited with no annual fee. There are no category restrictions on the cashback, which is consistent with the Citi Double Cash Card and USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card. Cashback also never expires, and you can redeem cashback at any time with a statement credit or check. Although you’re getting a little less cashback here, it’s another option that has limited fine print conditions. 

Who Will Benefit the Most from the USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature Card?

The USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature card is one that any USAA member who’s on the hunt for a cashback card should consider. Earning unlimited 2.5% cashback with no fees or category restrictions is a unique offer and one that’s worth jumping on.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Discover it Review: What’s the Catch of 5% Cash Back?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Discover it Review: What's the catch of 5% cash back?

Updated July 5, 2017

Are you searching for a no annual fee card that has the potential for 5% cash back rewards? Then Discover it® Cashback Match™ may be a good fit for you, but keep in mind that the categories may not always sync up with your routine purchases.

The Discover it® credit card actually comes with several perks, including an introductory 0% interest rate for 14 months on new purchases and balance transfers, no annual fee, and a cash back program. It also has a generous introductory offer that matches the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically that makes it a great choice upfront. The match is only available to new cardmembers.

But what about after the promo ends? We’ll run down how the card works.

5% Cashback Bonus

The Realities of 5% Cash Back

5% cash back does not mean on everything. Discover, similar to programs like Chase Freedom®, offers 5% cash back at different places that rotate every quarter. You will earn 5% cash back on up to the quarterly maximum, which is up to $1,500 of spend in combined purchases. To get the 5%, you have to activate every quarter. All other purchases get 1% cash back. Rotating places can include things like gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs.

From October until December 2017, the bonus categories are at Amazon.com and Target.

With a cap on the 5% cash back of the first $1,500 of purchases in a relevant category, you can earn a maximum of $75 per quarter in cash back rewards and $300 per year.

How do I sign up?

Discover it® cardholders do have to “opt in” to the 5% cash back places each quarter. You can have Discover send you email reminders with the ability to opt in via email or you can opt in after logging into your account.

Do points expire?

Cash back rewards can be redeemed with no minimum threshold and can be redeemed as a statement credit, a credit on Amazon.com orders, a deposit into your bank account, and more. Cash back rewards never expire as long as your account is in good standing. Discover can close your account if has been inactive.

Bonus offer for new customers

Additionally, the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card will match all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year. The double cash back will be applied to your account balance after the end of the 12th billing cycle.

Cashing Out and Perks

Discover provides the option to use your cash back as either a statement credit or a direct deposit into your bank account.

You can also leverage up by purchasing a gift card or eCertificate through the redemption portal.

Through a partnership with Amazon, you can use your Discover it® cash back to pay for Amazon purchases while checking out. Other CashBack Bonus partners include iTunes and Overstock.com.

Discover it® also offers access to your FICO credit score for free on each monthly statement and offers free Social Security Number monitoring.

Some Extra Perks

In addition to the cash back, Discover has been investing in a number of perks that you might find useful. Discover introduced a feature that enables you to freeze your account in seconds.

If you lose your card, Discover offers free overnight shipping to any address in the US. They also promise that paying late won’t raise your APR.

And if you need to speak with someone from customers service, Discover has 100% US-based customer service representatives.

Fees & Gotchas

There is no annual fee for the Discover it® card. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount of each transfer. There is no late fee the first time you pay late. After that, late payments are up to $37. Discover does not charge foreign currency transaction fees.

How it Stacks Up

The Citi® Double Cash Card might be a better option if you don’t want to opt into bonus categories every quarter. The Citi® Double Cash credit card offers up to 2% cash back (1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay) with no cap on the amount you earn as long as you pay on time, which makes it a good all-around card as you won’t have to track and time your spending to take advantage of extra cash back in bonus categories like the rotating 5% bonus cash back categories offered by Discover it®.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers a cash back program, however you can only earn 1.5% with this card. One difference is that the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening, which is something you don’t get from either the Discover it® card or the Citi® Double Cash card. That $150 sign-on bonus can easily be made up over the long run by the 2% cash back offer of the Citi® Double Cash card or the 5% bonus cash back categories offered by the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card.

The Bottom Line

If you spend a lot of money in the 5% bonus categories, this will be a great card. Just make sure you opt in every quarter.

Kayla Sloan
Kayla Sloan |

Kayla Sloan is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kayla at Kayla@magnifymoney.com

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What’s the Best Costco Credit Card for Rewards on Purchases?

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

costco

Trying to figure out how to make a payment? Read this

As of June 20, Costco now allows you to use any Visa credit card for purchases, and no longer accepts American Express cards.

This also marks the end for the Costco True Earnings Card from American Express, which is replaced by the new Costco Anywhere Visa credit card from Citibank

You can now apply for the card even if you didn’t have a Costco Amex.

The Costco Anywhere Visa is still a no annual fee card if you have an active Costco membership, and the rewards are much better than the old Costco True Earnings Amex.

It offers:

  • 4% cash back on gas worldwide (not just at Costco) up to $7,000 in purchases each reward year – vs 3% before
  • 3% at U.S. restaurants and on eligible travel (airfare, hotels, car rentals from major companies listed here, Costco Travel, cruise lines, and travel agents) – vs 2% before
  • 2% on all Costco and Costco.com purchases – vs 1% before
  • 1% on all other purchases

That’s great news for Costco True Earnings cardholders who haven’t seen a change in rewards for many years.

But if those rewards aren’t good enough, you can use any Visa card you’d like at Costco. You don’t have to only use the Costco Visa from Citibank, which opens up a lot of options.

Trying to make a payment?

You will need to go to Citi's online portal and log into your account in order to make a payment.

So, can you do better than the new Citibank Costco NASA Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Rewards VisaVisa?

 

If you have a Navy Federal Credit Union Visa, you can get an extra 2% cash back on all warehouse club purchases until December 31. That’s on top of the rewards you’re already earning, and there’s no limit to the extra cash back, so this could get you up to 4% in reward value with cards like the Flagship Rewards card.

The Visa Rewards Card from InFirst Credit Union has the exact same earning as the Costco Anywhere Visa, including 4% gas, 3% travel / dining, and 2% at warehouse clubs. The difference is it has no cap on 4% gas earning, and even if you aren’t a Costco member you can get this card. There’s no annual fee, but you need to join the NARFE for $40 to be eligible to be a member of the credit union unless you have another affiliation.

For the longer term, thanks to Fidelity and US Bank, earning good rewards on Costco purchases with your credit card is easy.

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature earns unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, including at Costco.

You don’t have to be a Fidelity customer to get the card, though if you want the full 2% rewards you need to deposit them in a Fidelity account, which they’ll open automatically when you apply.

If that’s not appealing, we mined our card database to find no annual fee Visa cards that you’ll be able to use at Costco to earn 2% cash rewards at more places than Costco:

2% on Costco purchases: Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This card offers 2% cash back at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, but only up to $2,500 in spending each quarter. There’s no annual fee. It also offers 3% back on gas and 2% at grocery stores, and spending in these categories counts toward the $2,500 per quarter limit.

2% on Costco purchases: NASA Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Rewards Visa

Once you spend $2,000 on the card each year, all your purchases beyond $2,000 earn 2% cash back, unlimited, with no annual fee. Anyone can join the NASA Federal Credit Union by becoming a member of the National Space Society, which costs $20.

Your first $1,000 a year in purchases earns 1% cash back, $1,001 – $2,000 earns 1.25%, and $2,001 or more earns 2%.

And if you like travel rewards, remember, any Visa card you have can be used at Costco starting June 20th, so if you like those rewards better than cash back, you’re in good shape with the cards you already have.

What about Costco gas purchases?

4% on Costco gas with the Citibank Costco card is pretty decent, but you can do a bit better without limits.

One of the most lucrative gas rewards cards is the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa which earns 5x points on gas purchases, which when you use the points for Visa gift cards gets you a touch over 4% cash back on gas.

The catch is PenFed requires your purchase to be for gas ‘at the pump,’ which is signaled by Visa merchant code 5542.

According to MyFICO forum readers Costco doesn’t use that merchant code for gas purchases.

The Fort Knox Credit Union's Visa Platinum earns 5% cash back on gas, but doesn’t have the ‘at the pump only’ limitation, though we’ve seen no confirmation it will work for 5% cash back at Costco gas stations.

Same goes for the AARP Visa which offers 3% back on gas with no annual fee, but doesn’t specifically limit gas purchases to those made ‘at the pump.’

Here’s what Chase’s website (which issues the AARP Visa) has to say about how it classifies gas purchases:

“Merchants in the gas stations category sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station, and may or may not sell other goods or services at their location. Please note that some merchants that do not specialize in selling automotive gasoline are not included in this category; for example, truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors, and home heating companies.”

So there might be a chance it works, but for now no guarantees until Costco switches to Visa on June 20, 2016 and it’s put in use.

 

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Discover it chrome Review: 2% Cash Back on Gas and Dining

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Discover it Chrome Review

There are plenty of credit cards that will reward you for spending at gas stations and restaurants, so choosing one from the bunch can present a challenge.

The Discover it® chrome card has two stand out selling points. It will match ALL cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically, and you can redeem the cash back you earn at any amount.

In this post, we’re going to cover the details of this program, including:

  • The basics of the Discover it® chrome
  • How to redeem cash back
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the Discover it® chrome

  1. 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants.

Earn 2% cash back on gas and dining. The cap for the 2% category is $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter. New quarters begin on Jan. 1, Apr. 1, July 1, and Oct. 1.

  1. 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn 1% cash back on purchases outside of the 2% category excluding transactions like cash advances and balance transfers. Spending at gas stations and restaurants beyond the $1,000 quarterly cap also earn 1% cash back.
  2. Discover will match ALL cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Cash back earned by new cardholders the first year is automatically matched after 12 months.  You also have the opportunity to earn cash back bonuses when you shop with select retailers online through Discover Deals.

How to redeem cash back earned

As mentioned, you won’t have to wait for your cash back balance to reach a certain threshold before you can put it to use. You can redeem cash back starting at 1 cent for:

  • Statement credits
  • Cash deposits into an account
  • Charitable donations
  • Products and services through Amazon and Discover Deals

Cash back earned never expires. If your account is closed or goes inactive for 18 months, whatever cash back you earned will be credited to your account.

Introductory APR and balance transfers

The Discover it® chrome has an introductory deal for new purchases and balance transfers as well. There’s 0% intro APR on balance transfers and new purchases for the first 14 months. The balance transfer fee is 3%.

If you need to make a large purchase, the cash back dollar-for-dollar match promotion coupled with the 0% APR deal could be useful. You can slowly pay off the balance of your purchase for 14 months without interest and get the cash back match at the end of the year.

The fine print

The Discover it® chrome has no annual fee or other hidden fees you need to be aware of. You won’t be charged a late fee on your first late payment. The Discover it® chrome also has no penalty APR and no over-the-limit or foreign transaction fees.

One piece of fine print you do want to pay close attention to is that the 2% category has some restrictions besides the $1,000 spending cap per quarter. Specifically, spending at warehouses, wholesale stores, and discount stores won’t qualify for 2% cash back. This could be a deal breaker if you usually fill up on gas at any of these stores.

Benefits and protections

FICO Credit Score
Discover it® chrome cardmembers get a FICO score on each credit card statement. This benefit is worth highlighting since getting a FICO score directly from myFICO.com isn’t cheap.

Freeze It
You can freeze your account if your card is lost or stolen. Discover won’t authorize purchase transactions until you request to unfreeze it.

Zero Liability Protection
You won’t be held liable for unauthorized purchases on your card.

Monitor Your Social Security Number
Discover will monitor your Social Security Number and alert you if they find your Social Security Number on any of thousands of risky websites. Activate for FREE.

 

Pros and cons

Pro: The cash back match during the first year. The dollar-for-dollar match can be lucrative.

Con: 2% category cap. The $1,000 max for the 2% category may be limiting depending on your spending habits. You have room to spend a little over $330 per month on gas and groceries combined to stay within that cap. If you shop for groceries often or have a long commute each day, this cap may only scratch the surface of your monthly gas and food budget.

Pro: Easy redemption. The Discover it® chrome has an uncomplicated redemption program. You can turn your cash back into actual cash through statement credit and cash deposits. Or choose to redeem for products, gift cards, and charitable donations.

Pro: Low on fees. There are no annual fees, foreign transaction fees, penalty fees, or over-the-limit fees. It’s safe to say the Discover it® chrome card is not going to nickel and dime you.

Who will benefit the most from the Discover it® chrome?

The Discover it® chrome could be a good choice for someone who wants a simple cash back program. There are no revolving categories to manage and you can use cash back earned at any amount.

But, for a bigger spender, this card may not be the best deal because of the $1,000 quarterly cap in the 2% category. Instead, you may get better overall value from a card that gives more than 1% cash back on spending with no limits like the Citi® Double Cash card. With the Citi® Double Cash Card, you earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% cash back when you pay off the balance.

Review your spending habits before choosing the Discover it® chrome to make sure spending within the category cap is realistic for your family.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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