Best Credit Card Rewards Programs for Frugal Spenders

Credit cards can get you in trouble if you’re not careful. It’s easy for consumers short on cash to pull out the plastic and end up with a mound of debt. But the budget-conscious can also receive great benefit from wisely using credit cards for the rewards many offer. In a highly-competitive industry, banks attach all sorts of rewards to various cards, and frugal shoppers can pad their wallets by carefully using a credit card, reaping the cash back rewards and paying their balances in full each month to avoid interest.

While some credit-card holders prefer to earn airline miles and other travel benefits, many budget-savvy customers prefer to earn cold, hard cash. There are so many options, however, that it can be difficult to know which card to choose. Following are our top picks for credit cards with great cash back programs:

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

amex blue
If you plan to use a credit card for your gas and grocery purchases, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is an excellent choice. The card offers an impressive reward structure: 6-percent back on up to $6,000 annually on groceries, and unlimited 3-percent rewards on gas and department stores. Although the card carries a $75 annual fee, new card members receive a $150 signup bonus once they spend $1,000 in the first three months.

Chase Freedom

chase freedom
With no annual fee, the Chase Freedom card offers an impressive reward structure. Cardholders earn 5-percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating bonus categories, such as gas, groceries, restaurants, travel and home improvement, that change each quarter, as well as 1-percent cash back on all other purchases. Most offers also include a $200 bonus once a new customer spends $500 in the first three months.

Citi Double Cash

citi double cash copy
Another cashback card with no annual fee, the Citi Double Cash card offers an unlimited 1-percent back on all purchases, as well as an additional 1-percent cashback once those balances are repaid.

Discover It

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Not only does Discover’s It card offer 5-percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly bonus categories and 1-percent cash back on everything else, but cardholders also receive extra cash back on purchases of Discover Deals. New card holders even receive double cash back on everything purchased the first year. The card has no annual fee.

Capital One Quicksilver

capital one quicksilver
Consumers who choose the Capital One Quicksilver cash rewards card offers a $100 cash bonus after $500 in purchases in the first three months and unlimited 1.5-percent cash back on all purchases. With no annual fee, the card is a good option for those looking for a straightforward, no-frills rewards card.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

bank americard
Bank of America offers the BankAmericard cash rewards card with no annual fee. Customers earn 1-percent cash back on all purchases, as well as 2-percent back at grocery stores and 3-percent back on gas purchases – on the first $1,500 spent at combined gas stations and grocery stores each quarter. Rewards never expire, and customers don’t have to worry about changing categories. Plus, customers who redeem their cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account get an extra 10-percent bonus.

Fifth Third Cash Rewards

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Fifth Third Bank offers a straightforward rewards structure with its cash rewards card. Customers pay no annual fee, and they earn 1-percent cash back on all purchases, as well as 2-percent cash back on all purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and discount stores.

Regardless which cash back card you choose, the rewards won’t compare to the interest you’ll pay if you start carrying a balance from month to month. So while using a credit card can certainly have its benefits, to reap those rewards always ensure you’re using them frugally and wisely.

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by on January 20th, 2016