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Credit Card Usage in October

Have you ever wondered which credit card or bank is most popular among customers? Are you curious about how other credit card customers stack up against you? As we look back on credit card usage in October we’ll reveal these and other interesting trends as we look at the trends from the last month.

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Discover It Makes Waves
The #1 card in October was the Chase Freedom – the same position it held in September. The big change happened in the #2 spot with the Discover It card rocketing in popularity. It makes sense that these two cards are so dominant among our users: both are great cards to carry. They also compliment each other well – while both cards have 5% categories that change each quarter, those categories rarely overlap. If you have room in your wallet to carry a few cards, you’d be well served to have both the Chase Freedom and the Discover It.

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American Express Makes a Strong Showing
Chase was also the #1 card issuer in October with it’s position driven by the popularity of the Freedom card but also a myriad of compelling airline and hotel reward cards. It’s not surprising that Chase would be in the top spot, so we were more interested in how other issuers stacked up.

American Express came in at the second spot this month with their performance driven by the extremely popular TrueEarnings Costco card and their Blue line of cards. We think these cards are a great complement to your wallet if you already have a rotating category card and now we know Reward Summit customers agree!

Rounding out the rest of the top 5 issuers this month were:

#3: Discover, driven mostly by the popularity of their now retired More card and the new It card
#4: Citi, who offers a wide variety of reward cards
#5: Bank of America, driven mostly by their heavily marketed BankAmeriCard Cash Rewards card offering 1% on everything, 2% on groceries, and 3% on gas

The “Power Customer” Trend
The average U.S. credit card customer carries 3-4 credit cards and many of our customers fit in to that demographic. What is more interesting to us is the continuing trend of the “Power Customer” who carries many cards and works to optimize their transactions. In October, 28% of new Reward Summit customers carried five or more cards. The Reward Summit app works well for anyone interested in earning more rewards since it can be difficult to keep track of just one or two reward programs. For the power customer who carries five (or in some cases, as many as 10 or 15!) cards, it’s virtually impossible to know which card is best without some assistance. We’re thrilled to see people using Reward Summit to maximize their rewards.

Looking Ahead
November and December are typically big months for spending: holiday travel offers lots of opportunities for earning airline and hotel points, families get together for big dinners, and gift giving goes into high gear. With that in mind, here are a couple trends we anticipate for November:

  • We expect to see continued popularity of the Discover It card with its 5% cash back for online purchases this quarter. If you’re shopping online for gifts, this is the absolute best way to save money this quarter. You can learn more here.
  • The Huntington Voice card offers great flexibility in configuring reward points. We reviewed the card before and believe consumers will find it extremely compelling. While it doesn’t have the same marketing power behind it as the Chase Freedom, the American Express Blue family of cards, of the Bank of America BankAmeriCard Cash Rewards card, it is one of the most impressive new cards.
  • Chase Freedom will continue to dominate this quarter. Offering 5% cash back at Amazon.com and select department stores, it’s hard to go wrong with this card.

 

By : Chris Hart /November 04, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More

Non-Reward Credit Card Benefits

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While reward points are the most known perk of using a credit, credit cards have more to offer than just rewards.  Many credit cards come with all kinds of benefits tailored to fit your needs.  From extended warranty for items purchased with your card to roadside assistance for rental cars, it’s important to know what exactly your credit card offers so you can cash in on these benefits or find a card that better meets your needs.  For each one we offer our thoughts on how to compare this benefit against mileage/points/cash rewards.

Return Protection
With this benefit, the credit card issuer guarantees to refund the cost of an item purchased with your card if the retailer refuses to accept it.  This one is hard to quantify.  If you think you’re buying something that you may want to return and the only way you can return it is by using a particular card, this is probably worth 2 to 3% of the purchase price.  But you’ll really need to make a judgement call on this type of perk.

Extended Warranty
The extended warranty benefit is offered by many credit cards in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty.  The warranty is generally offered up to 12 months and for items value at a maximum of $10,000.  American Express even offers extended warranties on refurbished items purchased with your credit card. It is important to save proof of purchase, including receipts, credit card statements, and copies of the original manufacturer’s warranty in order to use the extended warranty benefit.  If you are making an electronics purchase, you definitely should factor this one into your purchase decision.  We typically think this is worth roughly 10% of the purchase price.

Purchase Protection
This benefit protects customers against theft, breakage, or loss of items purchased with your credit card.  Several credit card companies, like MasterCard and Visa cover purchases for theft and breakage within 90 days.  Again, if you’re making a sizable purchase and theft or breakage is a concern, this is one you’ll want to consider.  It’s usually 90 day coverage, so we don’t think this is as valuable as an extended warranty, but figure 1.5 to 2.5% of your purchase price for items where you’d like to have this extra protection.
Travel Benefits
Credit card companies typically require that you pay for a trip with the credit card that offers the benefit in order to claim these benefits. Some credit card companies limit benefits to airfare paid in full with the credit card, which means no frequent flier miles can be used in order to receive the benefit.  Additionally, some credit card companies restrict the benefit to the primary cardholder and dependents.

No Currency Conversion Fees
This benefit can save you the 1-3% fee typically added to convert other forms of currency to American dollars when using your credit card abroad.  If you are overseas, and you have a 0% conversion fee card, you should consider this to be equivalent to a 2 to 3% reward since most cards charge in this range.

Travel Insurance
This benefit typically specifically includes:

  • Travel Assistance - Some credit cards will coordinate services for emergency situations like lost luggage tracking, emergency cash transfers, and medical or legal assistance. 
  • Trip Cancelation Insurance - This benefit reimburses you the cost of nonrefundable flights if an emergency or illness cancels your travel plans.  If this emergency leaves you stranded, some credit cards will also reimburse you the cost of meals and hotels during your inconvenience.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement- You could be reimbursed for all luggage and its contents or a maximum amount per luggage with this benefit.

Car Rental Insurance
Many credit card companies will offer car insurance for rental cards paid in full with your credit card, but companies vary widely in the amount they will cover and their stipulations for coverage. Some will only cover collision and only up to a certain amount.  Other cards offer insurance for other situations like bodily harm and theft.  American Express offers a secondary coverage with a higher maximum payout for a fee.  If you are renting a car you almost always should use a card that offers some form of car insurance.  It’s worth typically at least $20 per day.

Price Protection
If you find a lower price on an item you recently purchased, this benefit will pay you the difference.  There is usually a maximum payout and a time limit (typically 90 days) from the date of purchase.  This is very hard to quantify, but for big ticket items like appliances it can be worth as much as 2 or 3% of your purchase price.

Roadside Assistance
This benefit allows you to call for assistance in the event of a flat tired, you’re locked out, your battery is dead, or if you need a tow truck .  Credit card companies typically limit the number of miles your vehicle can be towed for free using the benefit.  They may also charge you a flat fee for the service and do not usually cover the cost of parts or replacement keys.  This is not typically tied to a purchase, so just make sure you have a card that offers this service if you are not a member of AAA.

EMV acceptance
While the rest of the world uses a microchip for transmitting credit card data, the U.S. uses a different technology — the magnetic strip.  This can cause issues when traveling abroad, but not if you use a credit card with EMV acceptance. EMV stands for Europay MasterCard and Visa.  This means that some cards offer the added benefit of using both Europe’s secure microchip for transmitting data as well as the magnetic strip, which allows you to easily use your MasterCard or Visa internationally.  You don’t attach a value to EMV acceptance since if you don’t have it you cannot use your card in many countries.  If you are traveling abroad just make sure one of your cards is EMV enabled.  The good news is this technology should be coming to the US soon and we at Reward Summit think it cannot happen soon enough!

No two cards are alike so it is important that you not only check with your credit card company to determine if they offer these benefits, but also read the fine print carefully to full understand exclusions and limitations, as well as when they apply.

By : Kelly Davis /November 03, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More

Which Cards Pay the Highest Rewards?

We get asked all the time, what is the best card to own?  We tell people over and over, there is no one size fits all answer.  But we are rewards card geeks, and we couldn’t resist the temptation to analyze our millions of transactions and figure out exactly how much our users are getting back.  The results were very interesting indeed.  We are going to show the top 7 cards from our system in terms of average percent back that our users earn.

Before we get to the good part, we want to caveat these figures with the following.  Higher percentages typically indicate a very good card, but it also indicates a good match for the card and the spending patterns for those users.  This makes us happy; we exist SOLELY to help smart users make smart decisions.  But keep in mind, for YOU, a particular card may not be the right fit.  The only way to truly make sure that you know exactly what card(s) you should own is to link your current credit cards and let our system analyze your exact spending habits.  This list is still a great tool to show you how the smartest shoppers on the planet are earning cash back and mileage with fantastic credit card programs.  If you’re not using Reward Summit you probably will not see results as awesome as these.

Top 7:

#1 – PenFed Platinum Cash

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We hear this card may no longer be offered, but our users who were lucky enough to get one have earned a staggering 4.38% cash back.

#2 – Discover It

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What’s not to love about this card?  It’s beautiful, customer support is absolutely unmatched, and our users have earned 3.82% cash back with this product.  To put that in perspective, if you spend $30,000 in one year on this card, you’d have a FREE payday from Discover for $1,164!  Discover also has a version of the card that is our favorite student card.

#3 – PenFed Platinum Rewards

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That’s right, Pentagon Federal Credit Union clocks in two of the top 7 cards.   Keep in mind that this card has a bonus that is expiring at the end of this year, so future results will not be as strong. But our users have earned 2.91% on average by using this great card with our app.

#4 – CapOne Sony Rewards

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If you love Sony products, this is a must own card.  Our users have earned an average of 2.77% using this card.

#5 – TD First Class

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We are glad to see a mileage card on this list.  This is a great one.  Make sure you will use it enough though since it has an annual fee.  Our users earned miles equal to 2.68% of their purchases.

#6 – PayPal Extras

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This popular points card pays up to 3 points per dollar spent.  Our users make us very proud by earning an average of 2.61% back by using this card.

#7 – eBay MasterCard

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This card is very similar to the PayPal card, so not surprisingly our savvy users earn a fantastic 2.34% with this card.

We hope you enjoyed this list as much as we did.  If you’ve got a great rewards story you’d like to share with us, please send us an email with your story to info@rewardsummit.com.

By : John Espey /October 11, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More

Use Foursquare for Automatic Card Recommendations

Use Foursquare for Automatic Card Recommendations

Do you use FourSquare?  If so, you can get instant recommendations in seconds by linking your Foursquare Account to your RewardSummit app. If you check in while you’re out shopping, buying that cup of coffee, or trying out the latest hot restaurant, a quick, one-time 30-second setup will get you instant push notifications featuring the best card for your current purchase!

It’s easy to set up. Here’s how:

1. Open up Reward Summit, tap on the reports icon, then click on the gear icon in the upper-right hand corner to get to your account settings:

4sq_1 4sq_2 2. Tap the “Connect” button next to the FourSquare logo: 4sq_3 3. A window will open from FourSquare. You may be prompted for your FourSquare username and password. Enter your information if prompted, then you’ll be asked to allow Reward Summit to connect with FourSquare. Tap “Allow”: 4sq_4 Next time you check in using FourSquare, you’ll get a push notification telling you the best card to use for that location: 4sq_5 It’s that easy. You should still consult the Reward Summit app on a routine basis and for big purchases so you can see how all your cards stack up and learn about new credit cards that can save you even more. If you’re a FourSquare user, this is a great way to get recommendations for your everyday transactions.  

Remember – those rewards add up!  Integrating RewardSummit with FourSquare takes seconds, and over the course of a year, this could earn you hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars in points!

By : Chris Hart /September 23, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More

Transaction Aggregation

Get Better Rewards From Your Credit Cards

We at Reward Summit strive to make the absolute BEST recommendation possible.  That means telling you the right card to use for a given transaction, and also telling you the right card to own over time.

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We make it easy to tell the best card you own, and the best card overall

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Intuit to make our recommendations EVEN MORE CORRECT.  The process is simple; you pick the cards that you’ve already setup, and the app will walk you through the process, as described here.  You can also log in to our website if you’ve created an account.  Once you login, go here and click on each card you own.  There’s a link to Intuit button on each credit card that will walk you through the process.  If you have any issues setting your card up, please email us at info at rewardsummit dot com.  We’ve had literally thousands of people signup the past few weeks, and it works well for 99% of them. But we do occasionally have to help our customers through the process.

Why You NEED This

Card programs are complex.  Do you know if you’ve spent $6,000 this year groceries?  How about $1,500 on gas between July and September?  We could go on and on with examples like these, but you probably already know this.  The reality is if we don’t know how much you’ve spent, we may tell you to use a card for a reward that is already maxed out.

Furthermore, your spending patterns change over time.  Chances are very good that there is a card out there that matches your patterns better than what’s in your wallet.  If we know the transactions that you’ve run on your card, we can run a report that tells you exactly how much MORE MONEY you would have earned just by adding a card.

In both cases, if we know more about your transaction history we can make better recommendations that put free money, points, and miles into your wallet.  Oh yea, and the service we use is secure and respects your privacy.  We store no identifying information about you or any of your accounts.   Download the app today or the plugin, link in your accounts, and start saving MONEY!

 

By : John Espey /September 23, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More

Best Credit Card for College Students: The Discover IT Card

Best Credit Card for College Students: The Discover IT Card

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Apply for the Discover IT Card Today!

 

If you’re a college student looking to build your credit, you might be in a bit of a bind: credit card companies only grant cards to people with good credit, but you have…no credit.

No matter how much money you have in the bank, or how responsible you’ve been with your finances, you’re still going to get rejected by almost all major credit card companies.

To make matters worse, the credit cards you can get approved for are worse than no card at all: extremely high interest rates, low credit limits, and severely punitive payment policies.

Fortunately, there’s one excellent card that almost any college student can obtain.

Why we’re in love with the Discover IT Student Credit Card:

We at Reward Summit put every card we review through the ringer, testing it against multiple criteria to make sure it’s appropriate for all our users.  If you’re a college student looking to build your credit, here’s why the Discover IT is your best bet:

Interest Rate: Ranging from 10.99% to 22.99%, the Discover is neither terrible nor amazing – simply standard.  But it’s much better than the 22%+ cards we’ve seen being offered to college students elsewhere.

Introductory APR: 0% for the first 14 months.  14 months is a longer grace period than anything we’ve seen offered – meaning you have a chance to build your credit and get comfortable using the card before you need to start paying interest.

No Annual Fee: You don’t want to pay for your credit, especially when you’re in college.  The Discover IT has no annual fee.

Negligible Penalties:  If you pay your card late, or go over your limit, you won’t have to pay any penalties to Discover.  While responsible card usage is a must, it’s still nice to know that you won’t be paying out the nose if you miss a payment by a day or go over by a few bucks.

Credit Limit: Most students receive at least $1,000 in credit, which can be built over time.  This is far more generous than any other card we’ve seen being offered to college students.

Rewards:  We wouldn’t be Reward Summit if we didn’t talk about rewards!  The Discover IT offers 1% cash back on every purchase you make, plus 5% cash back on rotating purchases throughout the month.  This is a great credit card rewards program – period.

Apply for the Discover IT Card Today!

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By : Chris Hart /September 17, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More

Rack up Rewards

I love rewards credit cards.  I have developed a simple formula that routinely pays me thousands of dollars a year.  The formula started years ago when I was doing a lot of travel for an IT consulting shop I used to lead, but now that we have built Reward Summit, I’ve refined the formula based on data from many thousands of users across the world.

First and foremost, what I recommend here does not apply to you if you are carrying a balance on your credit card.  PLEASE PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD DEBT BEFORE YOU WORRY ABOUT REWARDS.  The APR on most cards dwarfs anything you would ever get on a  rewards card.

The key is to get the right credit cards. I will make some basic recommendations here.

You should definitely be carrying a Chase Freedom  and a Discover It.  These cards have rotating categories each quarter that pay back 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases.  That means you get $600 each year from the two cards on $12,000 of purchases.

Next, get an American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card.  This card pays a staggering 6% on the first $6,000 worth of grocery store purchases per year ($360 per year).  It also pays 3% at department stores and gas stations, which adds up QUICKLY.

If you shop at Target, you should get a Target store card.  This card pays 5% back on your Target purchases.

And finally, you should consider a card for all other purchases.  There are two that I like here.  The Cap One Quicksilver  pays 1.5% cash back on all purchases.  Or, if you prefer miles, the Barclay Card Arrival card pays 2 miles per dollar spent.

As I mentioned, these are some basic cards; there is an even better approach.  Download Reward Summit  and tell it what cards you have right now.  You can then link in your cards with Intuit and the app will analyze your transactions for you.  It will recommend the best cards for your ACTUAL spending patterns.  Then make sure you use the app every time you make a purchase.  It will make sure you maximize your rewards, and it will recommend different cards for you to own over time.

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By : John Espey /September 16, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off Read More