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Credit Cards, Reviews

Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review: The Perfect Cashback Card for Grocery Shoppers?

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.

If you’re looking for a cashback program that will reward you handsomely for grocery shopping, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one to check out. Although this card has an annual fee, the amount of cash back you have the potential to earn can easily cover the fee.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more

How to earn cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

1. Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year of purchases, then 1%).

The supermarket category excludes superstores and warehouses. Specialty retailers like wine stores and convenience stores likely won’t earn 6% cash back either. The annual cap for the supermarket category is $6,000; after, you earn 1%.

2. Earn 6% cash back on streaming services

Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, including Amazon Music, Hulu, Netflix and Pandora, among others.

3. Earn 3% cash back on transit

Earn 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

4. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on everything else.

There’s no annual spending cap for the 3% and 1% cashback categories.

5. Earn a welcome offer.

You can $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

How redeeming cash back works

Cash back earned converts into Blue Cash Rewards Dollars. You can redeem Blue Cash Rewards Dollars for a statement credit in increments of $25.

Word of warning: A cashback statement credit does not get applied to your minimum payment. To keep your card in good standing, you need to make at least the minimum payment each month even if you redeem cash back.

Overview of card benefits

These are the American Express perks:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance. You can decline the rental agency’s collision damage waiver because you’re covered if your rental car is damaged or stolen when you pay with this card, though some countries like Australia and Italy aren’t covered.
  • Global assist hotline. When traveling, you get 24/7 access to legal, emergency and financial assistance.
  • Travel accident insurance. You get coverage for accidental death or dismemberment during travel.
  • Extended warranty of up to an additional year after your manufacturer’s warranty expires.
  • Roadside assistance for emergencies if your car needs to be towed, you need to fix a flat or you need a battery jump. Third-party service costs may apply.

What we like about this card

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, then 1%

Despite the annual fee and category restrictions, we’re still big fans of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. You only need to spend $1,583 per year (or $132 per month) on groceries to earn enough cash back to cover the $95 annual fee.

Since the supermarket spending cap is a generous $6,000 per year, you still have plenty of room to earn cash back beyond this break-even point. If you spend a full $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets in a year, you’ll earn $360 in cash back before the annual fee is deducted.

6% cash back on streaming services

You’ll be able to earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, including HBO Now, SiriusXM and YouTube TV, among others.

3% cash back at U.S. gas stations

You’ll be able to earn 3% cash back in the gas category without any cap, which can serve you well on your commute.

3% cash back on Transit

You’ll be able to earn 3% cash back on transit including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

No revolving categories

This card is simple to use. You don’t need to enroll in the bonus categories quarterly or annually. You just need to remember to pull out this card when you shop at major U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

What we don’t like about this card

Store restrictions in 3% and 6% categories

Category restrictions are common for most cashback cards, but still a piece of fine print for which you should be aware. American Express uses merchant codes to determine how much cash back you get on each purchase.

Stores like Amazon, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target and Walmart won’t qualify as supermarket spending.

Furthermore, you can’t earn 3% cash back by pumping gas just anywhere. You have to buy gas at places with a U.S. gas station merchant code. Gas purchases at U.S. supermarkets or U.S. warehouse clubs will not qualify unless otherwise noted.

This restriction on gas spending may be the biggest deal-breaker for savvy gas shoppers since supermarkets and warehouses often have competitive gas prices with minimal markup.

Before you apply for the card, contact American Express if you pump at discount locations to see if the spending qualifies. American Express has a short list of example stores that fall into each cashback category here.

Who the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is best for

Whether the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is or isn’t for you will depend on how much you spend in the bonus categories.

Here’s why:

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a sister card that comes with a $0 annual fee called the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gives 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.

Pick the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express ($0 annual fee) instead of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($95 annual fee) if you spend less than $3,200 per year on qualifying groceries (about $300 a month).

If you spend more than $3,200 on groceries per year (about $300 a month), the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with the $95 annual fee outperforms the $0 annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Another thing to consider is where you do your shopping.

If you live in a city where major supermarkets are few and far between, neither the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express nor the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express will serve you well. You won’t get 6% for food purchases at corner markets and specialty stores.

Shoppers who stock up for groceries at warehouse or superstores like Walmart will also get less use from these American Express cashback cards since that spending doesn’t qualify.

Consumers who’ll get the most out of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express are those who spend at places that are eligible for bonus cash back like Whole Foods, Safeway and Kroger.

Approval chances

You have the best chance of getting approved for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express with good to excellent credit (a score that’s 670 or above).

Alternatives

You can find our ultimate roundup of cashback cards for every category in this post.

Here we’ll cover four alternatives to compare against the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
  • Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-26.24% 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.

As mentioned, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is the $0 annual fee version of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It 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. Again, this is the card to go with instead of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express if you spend less than $3,200 per year on qualifying groceries.

But, let’s be honest: $3,200 — or $267 per month — spent on groceries is a pretty small sum even for a one- or two-person household. For this reason, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is what we prefer of the two supermarket cards.

Chase Freedom®

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

A revolving category cashback card is an alternative if you spend pretty evenly across multiple areas. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The categories change quarterly on the Chase Freedom®. There’s a $1,500 quarterly spending cap on the 5% category. The bonus categories for April-June 2019 are grocery and home improvement stores, but categories change every quarter, and there’s no guarantee these will be a bonus category in the future.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases

An unlimited flat-rate cashback card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is good to pair with any of the category cards we discuss above. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases (Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases), making this a great card to earn a consistent cashback rate. There is a $0* annual fee for this card.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
12.49% - 15.49% Variable
Annual fee
$99 annual fee, waived the first year
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card offers unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards. There is a $99 annual fee, waived the first year. A good rewards strategy is partnering a high cashback rate category card with one of these unlimited cards for non-category spending.

FAQ

The acceptance of American Express is worse than for Visa and MasterCard — especially outside of the United States. However, the network continues to expand every year, and it is much more difficult to find places in the U.S. that don’t accept Amex.

Anything you spend over the $6,000 cap at U.S. supermarkets will earn only 1% cash back. Fortunately, there is the 6% cash back on streaming services and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, so you’ll always get bonus cash back for that spending.

No, Blue Cash Rewards Dollars do not expire as long as your account remains open.

Yes, the minimum amount to redeem Blue Cash Rewards Dollars is $25.

Blue Cash Rewards Dollars can only be redeemed for statement credit. They can’t be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards.

Blue Cash Rewards Dollars are redeemable for statement credit, while Membership Rewards® Points are redeemable for statement credit, travel, gift cards, merchandise or entertainment. With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express you receive Blue Cash Rewards Dollars.

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.

Taylor Gordon
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Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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How to Request a Credit Limit Increase With Chase

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.

If you’re interested in requesting a credit limit increase with Chase, the good news is that it’s fairly simple to do. Before you pick up the phone, however, be sure you’re requesting a credit limit increase for the right reasons. Are you looking to get a higher limit so you can make a large purchase and pay it off over time? Are you constantly finding yourself maxing out your cards? A higher limit might help you in the short-term by giving you more breathing room, but it won’t solve the larger issue that is driving you to charge purchases you can’t afford to pay off each month.

But a credit limit increase can also be a strategic move to decrease your credit utilization rate and, as a result, possibly boost your credit score.

In this post, we’ll provide instructions for requesting a credit limit increase with Chase.

Option 1: Over the phone

The only way to request a credit limit increase is to speak with a representative over the phone. Simply call the number on the back of your card and someone can assist you in requesting a higher credit limit. Have your account and financial information ready.

A Chase representative tells MagnifyMoney there is no limit to how many times you can request a credit limit increase. However, be aware that a request will result in a hard pull on your credit report, which can ding your credit score.

Option 2: Automatic credit limit increases

On occasion, you may receive a notice from Chase in the mail saying your credit limit has been increased automatically. If you receive an increased credit limit, there is no action required on your part and your new credit limit is available for use. Your odds of receiving an automatic credit limit increase may be amplified if you follow some of the tips below.

  • Pay on time and more than the minimum. Having good payment history shows issuers you’re responsible with your credit card and may lead to an increase in your credit limit. That means don’t be late on payments and avoid carrying a balance whenever possible.
  • Keep your income up to date. For example, if you get a raise, record your new salary on your account profile so your financial information will be current. If issuers see you’re making more money, they may raise your credit limit.

Currently, you can’t request a credit limit increase with Chase online.

Understanding credit limit increases

Hard or soft pull on your credit? If you receive an automatic credit limit increase, there will be no harm to your credit score since you didn’t initiate anything. However, if you request an increase by phone, Chase will request a credit bureau report, resulting in a hard pull.

A higher credit limit has the potential to improve your credit score. Increasing your credit limit has the potential to boost your credit score by allowing you to maintain a low utilization rate more easily. Your utilization rate is the amount of credit you’re using divided by the total credit you have. An increase in the limit while maintaining the same spending will lower your utilization rate, and may raise your credit score.

For example, if you spend $1,000 a month on a card with a $4,000 credit limit, your utilization rate is 25%. But, if you request a credit limit increase and receive a new line of credit at $5,000, your utilization rate will drop to 20% as long as you still spend $1,000 a month.

Increased buying power. Your current credit limit may not be enough to cover the cost of large purchases, and that’s where a credit limit increase can come in handy. An increase in your credit limit can provide you with the buying power necessary for large purchases. However, take your increased credit limit with a grain of salt. While it can be tempting to spend more, keep new purchases to a minimum and pay them off as soon as possible so you avoid interest charges.

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.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]

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Review of Edward Jones CD Rates

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.

What are brokered CDs?

Edward Jones offers brokered CDs, which are a bit different from the standard bank-issued CDs that most investors are familiar with. Bank-issued CDs, as the name implies, are issued by individual banks for their customers. Since Edward Jones is a broker and not a bank, it cannot issue its own CDs. Instead, the firm offers a range of CDs issued by other banks and thrifts but sold via Edward Jones.

For the casual investor, it can be hard at first glance to tell the difference between bank-issued and brokered CDs. However, there are some important distinctions:

  • No early withdrawal penalties: Brokered CDs don’t have early withdrawal penalties. If you need to get out of your CD, you can usually sell it back to another investor through a brokerage firm. This means that brokered CDs carry some additional risk, as the price of these CDs may fluctuate on the open market.
  • Higher APYs: You can often get higher yields on a brokered CD than with a bank-issued CD. Brokers are able to negotiate higher CD rates since they can guarantee a large pool of buyers to CD issuers. In the era of online banking, however, even brokered CDs do not always garner the absolute highest rates.
  • Longer-term options: Brokered CDs often have longer-term options than are available with traditional bank-issued CDs, which are generally short-term investments only.

CD rates from Edward Jones

Edward Jones offers a fairly comprehensive range of CD maturities, ranging from three months to 10 years, although the firm doesn’t offer 6-year CDs, 8-year CDs or 9-year CDs. Rates and availability change frequently, oftentimes daily. The longer-duration CDs offered by the firm aren’t traditionally available at banks.
Edward Jones CD Rates
TermMinimum deposit to earn APYAPY
3 months$1,0001.95%
6 months$1,0002.00%
9 months$1,0002.00%
1 year$1,0001.95%
18 months$1,0001.90%
2 years$1,0002.05%
3 years$1,0002.15%
5 years$1,0002.20%
7 years$1,0002.45%
10 years$1,0002.60%

For all maturities, Edward Jones requires a $1,000 opening deposit, which is the same minimum required to earn the stated APY. As these are brokered CDs, there is no early withdrawal penalty. However, investors are subject to current market prices if they need to get out of a CD prematurely. If interest rates have risen since the date of purchase, you’re likely to get less money back than you originally invested in the CD.

One important difference between Edward Jones CDs and standard bank-issued CDs is that interest does not compound with Edward Jones CDs. All interest is paid directly into a money market or insured bank deposit at Edward Jones, unless you request it to be distributed. Either way, you can’t reinvest your distributions into your existing CD.

Unlike some banks, Edward Jones doesn’t offer any type of hybrid or alternative CD, such as a step-up CD or an adjustable-rate CD. There are also no bonus APR CDs available at the current time, just standard rates. Edward Jones also does not offer special rates for jumbo CDs, which traditionally require a $100,000 deposit. However, you can use the firm’s wide range of CD maturities for certain CD strategies, such as building a CD ladder. You can also buy their brokered CDs in an IRA.

Unlike bank-issued CDs, the brokered CDs offered by Edwards Jones do not automatically roll over into new CDs. At maturity, the banks that issued the CDs pay the proceeds to Edward Jones, which then forwards the money to your account. At that point, you can either select a new brokered CD to purchase, or keep the funds in your Edward Jones money market or insured bank deposit account.

How to get CDs from Edward Jones

You’ll need to open a brokerage account at Edward Jones to buy any CDs. The account minimum to open is $0, but as Edward Jones is a full-service brokerage, you’ll need to go into a branch and visit a financial advisor to open an account. There is no facility to open an account online.

You can open your Edward Jones account as rapidly as you can fill out the paperwork and fund the account. As soon as your deposit clears, you are free to buy a CD through your Edward Jones broker. If you change your mind, you can generally withdraw your funds within 4-6 business days after deposit, although this hold period may extend to 11 business days for new clients. Once you buy a CD, you can sell it at any time on the open market. As noted above, the amount you receive may be less than the amount you originally paid.

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How do CD rates from Edward Jones compare?

Edward Jones CD rates are well above the national average, but they still fall considerably short when compared with the best available rates nationwide.

Unlike with many firms, Edward Jones doesn’t currently have any special-rate CDs, where certain maturities pay dramatically higher rates. Instead, rates at Edward Jones land along a traditional curve, gradually increasing in yield as maturities lengthen.

For example, as of July 3, 2019, the Edward Jones 2-year CD rate of 2.05% is far below the best available 2-year CD rates. Three-year CD rates top out nationally at 3.00%, but Edward Jones pays 2.15%. The pattern continues throughout the maturity curve, with the top 5-year CD rates nationally hitting 3.00% or more, while the 5-year at Edward Jones pays 2.20%.

As such, all rates at Edward Jones fall in the general area of being well-above national averages but still notably short of the best available rates.

Overall review of CDs from Edward Jones

You won’t be wasting your time investing in CDs from Edward Jones, as you’ll be earning rates far above the national averages. You’ll also benefit from the ability to construct a CD or overall investment strategy with the assistance of a full-service advisor. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best CD rates for your money, there are plenty of online banks that can pay you a higher rate.

CD investors who like a wide range of products may be disappointed at Edward Jones, as popular options such as step-up or no-penalty CDs are not currently available. However, Edward Jones CDs do benefit from offering brokered CDs. This provides a range of flexibility that standard bank-issued CDs cannot offer, as you can liquidate your CD position at any time without paying an early withdrawal penalty.

The bottom line is that yield-hungry investors that enjoy managing their own portfolios may be better suited at any number of online competitors. Those looking to incorporate decent-yielding CDs into their overall investment portfolio with the help of a full-service broker might prefer working with Edward Jones.

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.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here