Cash back and rewards cards are often reserved for creditworthy clients with high income and offer exclusive perks and discounts. The question whether a cash back or rewards card is a better choice depends on many factors, including financial habits and lifestyle, personality, short- and long-term goals, and credit history. Customers who are frequent travelers often opt for a rewards credit card. Some people also choose a rewards card to get merchandise rewards or services. Most cash back cards offer 1 percent back but there are attractive options. Look for cards that feature extra points on a selection of categories you will actually use.
Cash Back Credit Cards
Cash back cards offer plenty of benefits and perks such as long interest-free periods, low introductory rates, and special promotions that allow holders to earn at a double or triple rate. Signature cash back cards offer premium benefits and exclusive payback schemes to creditworthy customers. Some issuers feature a high earn rate of 4 – 5 percent during the first 6 months to attract clients and encourage spending. It is a good idea to pay the balance in full, however, because there are cards with interest rates of 19 – 25 percent. Some cards go with higher rates or annual fees in exchange for perks such as no limit on cash back, no rotating categories, no annual fee, and others. Some issuers also emphasize the fact that points never expire and there is bonus cash back if you reach a certain spending level.
On the downside, some issuers have annual income requirements and usually offer better terms to clients with stellar credit. There are issuers that offer eligibility calculators online to help customers make the right choice based on factors such as annual income, current bank, and residential and employment status.
Some cash back credit cards offer the option to transfer high interest balances and clients benefit from a zero introductory rate over the first 6 to 12 months. The standard rate usually varies between 12.9 and 24.9 percent and is based on income and credit rating. Issuers offer cards by Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX, and usually require good, very good, or excellent credit. Cash back is offered on purchases at different retailers and establishments such as coffee shops, movie theaters, retail stores, gas stations, and grocery stores.
How Does It Work?
In essence, cash back cards work like loyalty and rewards schemes. This means that customers are rewarded for charging purchases on their cards. Issuers feature different options, and there are programs that offer a flat rate on all purchases. Many issuers offer a rate of 1 percent, and cash back is paid in the form of statement credit or check. There are financial institutions that advertise extra cash back on certain categories. In any case, money back is usually calculated based on spending level. Once customers reach a certain level, they can request statement credit or order a check. Some programs are somehow complex in that financial institutions may not disclose which purchases earn at a flat rate and which categories earn at a tired rate.
Rewards Credit Cards
This is a type of a premium card with special perks and benefits, complimentary bonuses, and generous reward schemes. Airmiles and rewards cards usually required very good or stellar credit to qualify. Some financial institutions also have annual household income requirements. The goal is to deselect risky and unprofitable clients and move existing clients up-segment. In any case, it pays to check the credit requirements because some issuers accept only applicants with excellent credit while others are more lenient and offer specialty cards to customers with fair credit.
There are plenty of benefits for holders, one being a degree of flexibility in how to use and redeem bonus points. Rewards are offered on all purchases, and customers earn extra points on certain dining, travel, and shopping categories. Financial institutions also emphasize the fact that premium cards offer a greater degree of control and freedom. То attract customers, retain existing clients, and encourage spending, finance companies and banks offer added incentives and benefits such as complimentary lounge access, access to sporting, concert, and exclusive events, complimentary benefits and upgrades at resorts and luxury hotels, and a lot more. Customers also benefit from a selection of platinum services such as shopping and dining advice, booking, travel planning, and assistance, and a lot more. Holders also benefit from priority boarding, discounts on in-flight refreshments and snacks, and flight upgrades. You can check your first bag free-of-charge as well.
Specialty credit cards offer different types of rewards, including shopping rewards, discounts on gas, and points. Some cards go with zero introductory fees during the first 6 months or 1 year while others have no annual fee. There are also issuers that charge high annual fees in exchange for exclusive benefits and add-ons. The interest rate varies, based on income, credit rating, debt to income ratio, issuer, and other factors. Issuers usually offer a variable interest rate. Rewards can be earned on different types of purchases such as retail, gas, department store, and others. With airmiles cards, holders also collect points toward flight discounts and free flights. Some issuers offer points on standard purchases and extra points on flight and hotel bookings. With other issuers, clients earn 1 point on standard purchases and 2 points on utility, grocery store, and gas purchases.
How It Works
Rewards cards are popular among bank customers and offer access to attractive loyalty programs and schemes. Basically, cardholders earn points on all purchases charged to the card. The earn rate varies by issuer and purchase category. The points earned can be exchanged for travel and retail purchases or for cash rebates. Some providers also offer the option to redeem points for services. Basically, you can choose between cash and merchandise. Note that limitations and restrictions may apply and some types of purchases may be excluded. Customers are also offered bonus points for online bill payment.
The choice between cash back and rewards credit cards depends on many factors, among which spending habits, income level, lifestyle, and types of incentives and rewards and loyalty programs offered. There are other factors to look into, for example, the grace period, penalty rate, interest rate, balance transfer fee, annual fee, foreign transaction fee, and others. Some issuers also offer complementary and supplemental credit cards. The type of card to choose also depends on your spending level. Many customers use their card on a daily basis to get the most of the rewards or cash back scheme. The type of card to choose also depends on your credit rating. Creditworthiness is an important factor for financial institutions and they use it as an indicator to measure risk level. Customers with a solid payment history and on-time payments are offered premium cards with exclusive rewards and experiences. In fact, if you have fair credit, your application for a cash back or rewards credit card may be turned down. It pays to check your credit report for mistakes and omissions and improve your rating first and then apply for a specialty credit card.