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Non-Reward Credit Card Benefits

credit card benefits

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

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
If cash back is what you want from your rewards credit card, then the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card might just be the card for you.  This credit card lets you earn 5% cash back on the first $2,000 you spend each quarter from two categories you choose.  Read on to find out how this card works.

Earning Rewards: 

  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose
  • Earn 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category like gas, groceries or drug store purchases.
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else.
  • Earn a $25 cash bonus once a year when you redeem $100 or more in a single redemption.
  • No limit to total cash back earned.
  • Categories are subject to change quarterly.

Examples of categories from the last quarter of 2013:

  • 5% Categories: sporting good stores, cell phone, bookstores, department stores, restaurants, electronic stores, hotels, fast food, furniture stores, car rental, charity, movie theaters
  • 2% Categories (Everyday Categories): gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores

Each quarter, card users would choose two categories from the 5% categories each quarter and one category from the 2% categories.

We can’t say enough good things about this card.  And if you use Reward Summit and turn on aggregation, we can tell you each quarter exactly what categories to pick to maximize your rewards based on prior and likely future spending habits.  For example, by using restaurants and department stores for 5% at $2,000 of spend and supermarkets at  2% for $2,4000 of purchases and 1% on another $5,000  in purchases in other categories, one of our customers recently earned a whopping $198 TAX FREE ,from this card alone, in three months.


Perks

  • Zero fraud liability and fraud protection
  • Travel accident insurance if tickets are purchased with a U.S. Bank Cash+ Card
  • Free credit score
  • Concierge service for tasks such as finding tickets, booking travel, and making dinner reservations, etc.
  • Discounts and upgrades to some hotels, resorts, and cruise lines.
  • Discounts for some entertainment, dining, sports, and goods purchases
  • Roadside Dispatch and Travel & Emergency Assistance

Stipulations: 

Users must choose their categories each quarter or will earn only 1% cash back on all purchases.

Other Details:
Card applicants who are not approved, will be considered for the U.S. Bank Cash Rewards Visa Card, which earns 1% cash back on all net purchases, but does not offer the 5% and 2% Categories or the $25 Bonus.

To truly determine if this card is right for you, use it in conjunction with the Reward Summit app, which helps you choose the best reward credit card in your wallet with every purchase for maximum reward points. 

By : Kelly Davis /October 29, 2013 /Credit Card Review /Comments Off Read More

Why Choose Credit over Debit

Credit Over Debit

Most Americans have both a debit card and a credit card in their wallet.  But which one is the better option when making a purchase?  In the purchasing battle, credit comes out on top in almost every situation.  Read on to find out why you should choose credit over debit.

Protection Against Fraud

Credit cards offer protection on fraudulent charges so if someone stole your credit card number, you would be reimbursed for the charges you didn’t make. Banks don’t offer unlimited protection on fraudulent charges or offer protection on a limited amount.  Any money spent or withdrawn using a debit card is cash lost almost instantly.  Most credit cards also offer a no liability policy in the event that fraud occurs.  Online shopping offers increased opportunity for fraud, which makes using a credit card the wiser choice.

Restoring and Building Credit

If you have no credit history or have a history of bad credit, using a credit card responsibly is a good way to establish good credit.  Debit card purchases are seldom reported to credit reporting agencies, and thus will have no effect on your credit history. 

No Overdraft

When using a debit card, there is always a danger of spending more than you have in your bank account, which usually results in expensive fees each time the account is over-drafted.  With credit cards, you’re not spending money in “real time” so overdraft isn’t an issue.  There is always the possibility of going over your credit limit, if you’re not mindful of your purchasing.  However, this is easier to avoid since the limit is static and there are precautions you can take  (like email or text notifications) to warn you when you approach the limit.

Perks

Many credit cards offer perks such as extended warranties, roadside assistance, and insurance on purchases.  The only catch is that you have to use your credit card to make the initial purchase in order to get the perk. (You should contact your credit card company to find out the specific perks your credit card offers, which differ from card to card.)

Rewards

In our opinion this is the #1 reason to choose a credit card over a debit card.  What other form of currency allows you to actually make money while making purchases? Using a reward credit card consistently and responsibly allows you to  rack up tons of reward points good towards travel, airlines, goods, services, and actual cash.  Thus, using a reward credit card always trumps a debit card, when used responsibly.

To make sure you’re reaping the full benefits of using your credit card over your debit card, pay your credit card balance in full each month and use the Reward Summit app to make sure you are racking up the most reward points with every purchase.  

 

By : Kelly Davis /October 28, 2013 /Reward Points /Comments Off Read More

Credit Card Review: Huntington Voice

Huntington Voice Credit Card

The Hunting Voice credit card has been generating a lot of buzz lately because of its unique reward program. This new card offers consumers the ability to choose between different reward options on a quarterly basis or a lower interest rate. We have broken down how this card works so you can decide if it might be right for you.

Earning Rewards:

Option 1 – Three points for every dollar spent on your choice of one of 13 categories, for up to $2000 spent per quarter in the category. One point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

Categories include apparel/soft goods, gas, grocery, home improvement, office supply, discount stores, Walmart, department stores/electronics, travel & entertainment, sporting goods, restaurants, pharmacy, and utilities. Users can change their category each quarter.

Option 2 – A 3% lower interest APR


Perks:

- No foreign transaction fees
- No annual fees
- No penalty rate
- A late payment grace period of one day

Stipulations:

Huntington Bank is only offering this credit card to existing customers.

Other Details: 

Huntington offers a similar card which offers a 3% lower APR (similar to Option 2), but with no rewards program.

Card users have three different design options for Huntington Voice credit card: gray, green, or Ohio State University.

To truly determine if this card is right for you, use it in conjunction with the Reward Summit app, which helps you choose the best reward credit card in your wallet with every purchase for maximum reward points. 

 

By : Kelly Davis /October 23, 2013 /Credit Card Review /Comments Off Read More

How to Be a Responsible Credit Card User

How to Be a Responsible Credit Card User

Being a responsible credit card user is good for your bottom line. Responsible credit card use improves your credit score, allows you to get the most from your reward credit cards, and can help provide a credit safety net for future purchases and unplanned emergency needs.  But what does being a “responsible credit card user” actually mean? And even more importantly, how can you be sure you’re practicing responsible credit card habits?

1. Make your payments on time
Set up auto-pay or set up an automatic reminder to make sure every single one of your payments are paid by your credit card’s due date.

2. Be mindful of credit purchases throughout the month
This allows you to be sure you haven’t had any unauthorized purchases and also ensures that you haven’t spent more than you can afford to pay each month.   Do not wait until your bill comes to examine your purchases for the month.

3. Use technology to make your life easier
Sign up for your credit card company’s online payment system and sign up for paperless billing to easily examine purchase history and be aware of any problems in your immediate credit history or usage. Also, sign up for reminders via text messages or email.  Some reminders that can typically be set are reminders for payment due date approaching, approaching credit limit,  and purchases over a predetermined amount (which you determine).  By setting these reminders, you won’t be caught off guard by an approaching payment and you’ll be more mindful of large purchases.

4. Pay your entire balance each month
Paying your balance in full allows you to reap the most benefits from your credit card.  Paying the minimum or anything less than the full amount means interest charges, which will reduce any benefits you’ve realized with a reward credit card.  Think of reward points as a monetary equivalent.  If the reward points you have accumulated would allow you to put $X toward your credit card bill but you are paying $Y in interest each month, subtract Y from X to find out the actual monetary value of your rewards each month.  Overtime, paying less than entire balance may leave you with an actual benefit of $0.

5. Read the fine print
Read your user agreement and any updates that occur while your credit card is active.  Be aware of your interest rate.  Know your credit card perks and how to cash-in on these perks.  Be aware and mindful of your credit limit.  Most importantly, find out exactly what actions may result in negative responses from your credit card company, like default interest rates, closing your account, etc. and never step over any lines that would result in these negative actions.

6. Use a reward card
If you purchase items with a credit card, why would you choose to not get rewarded for those purchases?  We’ll skip the 20 different points to consider to determine which reward credit card is right for you and suggest that you should be using Reward Summit to figure this out (see #3 – Use technology to make your life easier).

7. Use your card regularly
Credit card companies may cancel your card if it isn’t used regularly.  Find out what the rules are for your credit card and set up an automatic payment, like a reoccurring bill to make sure you are in compliance with your credit card company’s rules.

8. Don’t cancel your credit card
In some cases canceling your credit card may actually hurt your credit.  Unless the credit card has a fee, keep the credit card and schedule an automatic payment to make sure it is used on a regular basis.

By : Kelly Davis /October 17, 2013 /How To /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

it-card-art

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

745

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

910

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

713

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

672

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.

shop-avis

 

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

it-card-art

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!

it-card-art

 

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