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Credit or Debit: Which is Right For You?

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Woman using credit card and laptop

Although similar in shape and both made out of plastic, the similarities between a debit and credit card pretty much end there. You’ve probably heard credit cards are “dangerous” or “addicting”, or any other myriad of scary terms, but the truth is, as with most things in life, a little discipline can go a long way towards reaping all the possible rewards that come with credit card use.

Of course credit cards aren’t for everyone, and in order to get to the benefits it’s important to understand some key differences between credit cards and debit cards. Here are three financial scenarios you might run across in your spending, and which is better to use in each situation.

When it comes to budgeting …

Winner: It’s a toss up

Here’s the truth: If you know up front that having access to as much money as your credit limit allows you to spend will be dangerous because it will tempt you to overspend, then you should stick with debit cards. Debit cards, as opposed to credit cards, are directly linked to your checking account, and the money you spend or withdrawal is reflected immediately in your account balance. However, if you are disciplined, using a credit card to budget your monthly expenditures — and pay them off in full, on time each month — can be a great way to build your credit score and provide you with better protections. 

When it comes to fraud …

Winner: Credit cards

As far as fraud protection goes, hands down credit cards offer better protection. For starters, with credit card fraud, the thief doesn’t have direct access to your bank account as they would with your debit card, and therefore won’t be able to spend any actual cash that’s currently in your account for quick access. Additionally, most credit cards these days come with zero liability policies, meaning you won’t be responsible for any fraudulent charges made on your card. With debit cards, however, you may be liable for some of your charges. For example, if you report the loss more than two business days after you learn about it, but less than 60 days after your statement is sent, you could be charged up to $500 of the stolen cash. Check here for more information on debit card conditions regarding fraud.

[Why You Should Avoid Using Your Debit Card at Merchants]

When it comes to added incentives …

Winner: Credit cards

Debit cards rarely (if ever) offer added bonuses for their use, while credit cards come with all kinds of perks these days.

It is easy to earn cash back on your purchases with credit cards. For example, one of the best cards in the market lets you earn 2% on all of your spend if you make your payment on time and in full every month. Other credit cards help you earn even higher amounts in categories like grocery stores, gas stations or travel. You can find the best cash back credit cards here. These rewards only make sense if you pay your balance in full and on time every month.

Check out this piece for a list of good cash back and reward credit card options.

At the end of the day, deciding whether to use a debit or credit card will be a personal decision you have to make based on what makes you more comfortable — but understanding some of the key ways in which the two differ will certainly help you make the educated choice.

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7 Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Dining Out in April 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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If you’re someone who frequently dines out, cashback cards that reward you for it are a great way to put money back in your pocket. Cashback cards for dining can earn you rewards for purchases made through restaurants, bars and takeout establishments. This is a great way for foodies to reap extra rewards just by doing what they love — eating!

We picked the following cards because they offer competitive cashback rates above 2% for dining-related purchases, as well as have low or no annual fees. As with most rewards cards, you may lose your cashback rewards if your account is not in good standing.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card – 4% cash back

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card enables you to earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining; 4% cash back on entertainment; 2% cash back at grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases. plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at vivid seats through may 2020. Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. (The card website specifies that the one-time bonus is available by applying through the site, and may not be available if an applicant navigates away from the page. Also, the bonus may not be available for existing or previous accountholders.)

Uber Visa Card – 3% Uber Cash

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.24% - 27.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats, and JUMP, 3% back in Uber Cash on dining, hotels, and airfare and 1% back in Uber Cash on all other purchases

The Uber Visa Card offers 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats, and Jump, 3% on dining, hotels, and airfare, and 1% on all other purchases. Note that purchases of Uber gift cards and Uber Cash do not qualify for the 5% rewards rate.

There’s also a decent sign-up bonus: Earn $100 in Uber Cash after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Rewards come in the form of Uber Cash, which you can spend in Uber Apps. While it’s a bit limiting to not be able to redeem rewards as actual cash to your bank account, if you spend a lot within the Uber ecosystem, you can still get a good value from this card. And for convenience, this card will automatically transfer your Uber Cash balance to your Uber account once you earn $50 in Uber Cash. Read our full review of the Uber Visa Card.

AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank – 3% cash back

AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank

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The information related to AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% to 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3% Cash Back rewards on purchases at restaurants, from fine dining to fast food, 3% Cash Back rewards on purchases at gas stations, and 1% Cash Back rewards on all other purchases.

Don’t be led astray by the name: This card isn’t limited to people over 50 — anyone can apply. The AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank lets you earn 3% cash back rewards on purchases at restaurants, from fine dining to fast food, 3% cash back rewards on purchases at gas stations, and 1% cash back rewards on all other purchases. Earn $100 bonus cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Marvel Mastercard® – 3% cash back

Marvel Mastercard®

The information related to Marvel Mastercard® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Marvel Mastercard®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 26.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3% cashback on Dining, Select Entertainment, Online at Marvel.com and Marvel's Official Merchandise Booths, and 1% cashback on all other Mastercard purchases.

The Marvel Mastercard® is a great choice for Marvel fans who want to benefit from exclusive Marvel discounts, with the added benefit of earning a high cashback rate on dining purchases. You Earn 3% cashback on Dining, Select Entertainment, Online at Marvel.com and Marvel's Official Merchandise Booths, and 1% cashback on all other Mastercard purchases. Some of the Marvel-related perks you earn include 10% off merchandise purchases at MarvelShop.com, free shipping offers and special discounts on Marvel Unlimited or Marvel digital comics. Terms apply.

There is also a new cardmember bonus of a $25 statement credit after your first purchase with your new Marvel Mastercard.

Sams Club® Mastercard® – 3% cash back

Sams Club® Mastercard®

The information related to Sams Club® Mastercard® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Sams Club® Mastercard®

Regular Purchase APR
16.90% or 24.90% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Sam's Club (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1% after). Earn 3% cash back on dining and travel. Earn 1% cash back on other purchases at Sam's Club and wherever Mastercard is accepted.

The Sams Club® Mastercard® lets you earn 5% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Sam's Club (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1% after). Earn 3% cash back on dining and travel. Earn 1% cash back on other purchases at Sam's Club and wherever Mastercard is accepted. Earn a $55 statement credit when you open a new account and spend $55 online today. Offer expires January 15, 2020. However, you do need a Sam’s Club membership to apply, and current membership fees start at $45 per year.

Take note that you’re limited to earning a maximum of $5,000 in cashback rewards in a calendar year. Cash back is issued each February for what you earned during the previous calendar year. You will lose any cash back you earned if you end your membership or let it lapse, or if you accumulate less than $5 cash back in a calendar year. You can only redeem your cash back at a Sam’s Club location.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi – 3% cash back

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

The information related to Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Regular Purchase APR
15.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi requires a Costco membership (currently, annual memberships start at $60) and offers 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases. Take note that purchases made at bakeries and certain restaurants/cafes in department stores, groceries or warehouse clubs will only earn 1%.

Cash back comes as an annual reward certificate in February billing statements, redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco Warehouses. You must maintain your Costco membership to receive rewards, and you will also lose rewards if you accumulate less than $1 in cash back or if you don’t redeem them by the end of the year.

Alternative: Rotating cashback categories

Discover it® Cash Back – 5% cash back

The Discover it® Cash Back offers 5% cash back in different places (on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases, automatically. Restaurants are slated to be a bonus category from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2020. Set a reminder to activate the bonus category. In addition to a cash back program, Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched (new cardmembers only).

Are these offers the best for you?

Cashback rewards should only be pursued by responsible users who have no trouble paying off their balance on time and in full every month. If you’re a all-star who also has an affinity for dining out, these cards will provide the best perks.

If you’re apt to carry a balance, check out our picks for the best cards that can help you pay down debt faster.

As always, check the fine print on each before signing up, taking special note of any fees. With those things in mind, decide which rewards structure best serves your typical spending activity and enjoy the cashback benefits — and the good eats.

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Best Cash Back Cards for Grocery Shopping in April 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

 

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Shopping for groceries can be a mundane experience. There are numerous aisles, thousands of items and long checkout lines to contend with. Then there’s one more blow: watching the dollars add up at the register.

But signing up for a solid cashback credit card can be a good way to earn a percentage of your grocery purchases back and take some of the sting out of that shopping trip.

Here are the best cashback cards for grocery shopping.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular Purchase APR
12.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. It comes with a $0 annual fee.

The Welcome Offer allows you to $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. This is a good way to maximize your rewards.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
12.99%-23.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the highest cashback rate for big grocery spenders — 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). This card does come with a $95 annual fee and you need to spend $1,584 a year on groceries to break even. If you spend $3,167 a year ($264 a month) or more on groceries you will benefit from this card more than the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. You’ll also earn a high 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more, and 1% back on other purchases. There’s an added Welcome Offer: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% to 23.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card grocery cashback program is geared toward Whole Foods Market shoppers. You’ll Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.. This is a great rate if you frequently shop at Whole Foods Market and easily rivals offers from competing cards. There is no annual fee, but you must have a Prime membership to get the 5% rate — currently, annual plans cost $119 or $59 for students.

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% to 23.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

The Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card is similar to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card, but doesn’t require a Prime membership. This card also has a $0 annual fee but offers a lower rate at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. Earn 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card gives cardholders more flexibility when it comes to earning bonus rewards. The card lets you select one of six “choice” categories to earn 3% cash back in each month: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases. The ability to change the bonus cashback category each month is unique since many cards only allow you to select new bonus categories every quarter, or don’t allow you to choose at all.

There is a $0 annual fee. As a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25-75% more cash back on every purchase, making your grocery cash back an effective 2.5-3.5%. If you apply online, you can earn a  $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Regular Purchase APR
13.99% - 27.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

The Huntington Voice Credit Card® has a $0 annual fee and earns you 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points. You also have the freedom to change your 3X category every quarter to suit your spending. But be aware that if you switch from grocery stores to another category, you’ll only earn 1X points on grocery spending. Points can be redeemed for cash and 1 point equals $0.01, therefore 5,000 points is equal to $50 cash rewards.

Which card is the right fit for me?

With numerous credit cards available to help maximize your grocery rewards, it can be confusing to know which to choose. Some cards provide unlimited rewards at a high rate, while most have caps on grocery spending.

The table below breaks down which grocery card may be a good fit for you when factoring in annual grocery spending, cashback rate and annual fee. (Sign-on bonuses are not reflected.) Keep in mind: This only factors in spending on grocery purchases and doesn’t consider if you spend in other categories or at the other cashback rates.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • If you spend about $3,000 a year on groceries, you will benefit more from the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card or the Huntington Voice Credit Card®.
  • If you spend around $4,000 – $7,000 a year, you will benefit more from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
  • If you spend on average $8,000 or more a year at Whole Foods Market, you will benefit more from the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card.
  • The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns you subpar cash back unless you have $100,000 in a Bank of America checking or savings account.
  

Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card: without BofA checking/
savings

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card: with $100,000 in BofA checking/
savings

Spending

$1,000

-$69

$30

$30

$30

-$35

$20

$35

$2,000

$-19

$60

$60

$60

$25

$40

$70

$3,000

$31

$90

$90

$90

$85

$60

$105

$4,000

$81

$120

$120

$120

$145

$80

$140

$5,000

$131

$150

$150

$150

$205

$100

$175

$6,000

$181

$180

$180

$180

$265

$120

$210

$7,000

$231

$210

$210

$190

$275

$140

$245

$8,000

$281

$240

$240

$200

$285

$160

$280

$9,000

$331

$270

$250

$210

$295

$180

$315

$10,000

$381

$300

$260

$220

$305

$200

$350

*We included the $119 Prime membership fee into our calculations for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card and the $95 annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

The information related to Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.