When you reach for your wallet to pay for groceries, gas, dinner out, or any other everyday purchase, are you searching for cash, a debit card, or a credit card? Many people hesitate to charge this type of everyday spending to a credit card; they feel that it’s more responsible to pay by cash or debit, so they don’t risk not being able to pay the amount back later and possibly going into debt.
But this kind of thinking can cause you to miss out on the many rewards you can get when you use a credit card to pay for everyday purchases. There are many benefits to reaching for a credit card, not cash – especially if you use the right card. Here are a few reasons to rethink your stance on cash, credit or debit next time you pull out your wallet at the register.
What are the advantages of credit over cash?
The most obvious advantage of using a credit card is that you can earn cash back with every purchase you make. Of course, paying for necessities like groceries, gas, and utilities is always a drag, but when you can put a little money back in your pocket, it eases the burden of these everyday expenses a bit. Cards like the Discover It Cashback Match Card let you earn up to 5% cash back in rotating categories that change with the seasons (up to the quarterly maximum, 1% cash back after that, enrolment is required). This can translate into an extra $75 in your bank account every few months – and even more, when your cashback reward is doubled, as is currently being offered by Discover.
If you’re fearful that you’ll end up paying interest on these purchases, there’s a way to prevent that happening. All you have to do is pay your balance off in full each month, and you’ll never have to pay a penny in interest. So there’s really no reason not to take advantage of this cash back earning opportunity. There’s no catch and no downside to using a credit card to pay for anything you might normally use cash or a debit card to cover.
Other benefits include the ability to track your spending easily, using online account management tools, purchase protection in case of loss or theft of your purchases, and the potential for extended warranties to protect your investments. You’ll also have complete protection from fraudulent charges, with zero-liability guarantees from all major credit cards. Some cards even offer car rental insurance, travel insurance, roadside assistance, and concierge service to help you make restaurant reservations and find your way around when you’re on the road.
There are several different types of cash back credit cards to choose from, so if you’re ready to start trading in your cash habit for using a credit card wherever you can, you’ll be able to choose the one that fits your life the best. Whether you do most of your everyday spending at the supermarket, the gas pump, or even on hotels and airlines, you’ll find that the perfect card is out there for you.
THE BEST REWARDS CREDIT CARDS FOR YOU
Here are our top picks for best everyday credit card. One of them is sure to be right for you:
Best travel rewards for all purchases:Discover it® Miles
This card is great for everyday spending. Even though it rewards you with miles – 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases – these miles are more like cash back and can be used for statement credits or you can keep them accruing until you set for a journey. There are no rotating categories and no caps, you just earn a set number of miles per dollar spent – no limits! Plus, it comes without an annual fee. The bonus offer is one of a kind: you don’t have to spend a particular amount within a specified period of time, you just make purchases, earn rewards, and simply get all of your rewards matched (aka doubled) at the end of your first year of card membership.Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
This card is a perfect option for those who love to travel and want to earn miles on everyday purchases. The card allows to earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase. And if you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, you will get 40000 bonus miles, and that equals to $400 in travel. In addition to generous miles rewards, you also have a freedom to use earned miles to cover any airline expense. Also, miles can be redeemed for anything that falls in to travel category. Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to the amount of miles you can earn. The Venture Rewards card comes with a $59 annual fee, which is waived for the first year; the foreign transaction fee is zero, which is perfect for travelers.Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
If you travel frequently, this is the card for you. It gives cardholders two miles for every dollar they spend on all purchases, plus another 5% of their miles back anytime they redeem points for a statement credit. There are no foreign transaction fees (a great perk for world travelers) and the annual fee is $89 - waived first year. Plus, you’ll get 50000 bonus miles when you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 90 days you have the card.
Best for gas and restaurants:Discover it® - Cashback Match™
This card is great for anyone who wants to earn rewards in multiple spending categories, and who is willing to stay on top of what promotions are currently running. The 5% cashback reward rotates every three months, letting you earn the maximum cash back in different categories according to the seasons (up to the quarterly maximum, 1% cash back after that, enrolment is required). Gas purchases earn 5% cash back from January through March. In the spring, you may get 5% back at home improvement stores. From July through September you can get 5% cash back at restaurants. In fall and winter, department stores and online purchases may earn 5% back, making your holiday shopping more rewarding. All you have to do is make sure you sign up for each quarter’s bonus award, which you can easily do through the Discover website.
Runner up for gas:Discover it® chrome
This is another cash back credit card from Discover that earns rewards in categories. However, this card has only two types of rewards categories: restaurant and gas stations – will earn you 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, and 1% cash back on all other purchases, including category purchases when you hit the limit. The 2% cash back will reinstate every quarter without any sing-ups or enrolments – you simply buy and earn.
Runner up for restaurants:Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
The perfect card for foodies, this card gives you double reward points at restaurants. Dining out will earn you rewards that can be redeemed for gift cards, airfare, and more. It also gives triple points for travel purchases, including at gas stations, and one point per dollar spent everywhere else. The signup bonus of 50000 bonus points after spending $4000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening makes this card the one you’ll want to snap up and start using right away.
Best for groceries:JetBlue Plus Card
Grocery shopping will be rewarding with this credit card. It gives 2 points for purchases at grocery stores, and you will get double points at restaurants. It also gives 6 points for JetBlue purchases. All other purchases earn standard 1 point per dollar. The one-time bonus is 30000 points after you spend $1000 on purchases within the first 90 days of having this card. Since this card is a co-branded credit card, it also will be ideal for JetBlue frequent flyers.
Best cash rewards for all purchases:Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
For everyday spending, it’s hard to beat this card, which gives you 2% cash back on all purchases. You don’t need to keep track of rotating categories, or try to spend strategically to earn more cash back or points. This is one you’ll definitely want to pay in full each month, as you earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% back when you pay for that purchase through your monthly statement. Plus, there’s no annual fee, and a sweet 0%* APR for 18 months on Balance Transfers*.
Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all info is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for terms & conditions.