Save on Back to School Shopping


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Credit Card Applications » Research » Studies » Back-to-School Shopping » 2012 Best Payment Method Study for Back to School Shopping

2012 Best Payment Method Study for Back to School Shopping

Updated: June 30, 2017

This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi.
Back to School Shopping
Updated: August 7, 2012

Many people don't realize that simply using the right credit card can save them a lot of money - but a new study by aims to show them how choosing the right payment method can pay off big. Consumers who carry three or four credit cards in their wallets need to know which one to pull out where, in order to save the most money. back-to-school study shows which payment method will save consumers additional money, whether they shop in stores, online, or through online credit card malls.

How the study was done

We surveyed 150 top retailers from the National Retail Federation report and selected 18 that carry back-to-school items. We broke down the list according to three major categories: general merchants, such as super stores, discount stores, and department stores that carry a wide selection of items for back-to-school, apparel stores that exclusively sell clothing, shoes and backpacks, and electronics stores that sell computers, e-readers, cell phones and other electronics that are essentials for high-school and college students these days.

The study aimed to look at the best way to pay for purchases, depending on where consumers shop. The findings pinpointed three shopping options - brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers, and online malls offered by banks that issue credit cards.

Key Findings:

Payment Options for In-Store and Online Shopping:

  • For in-store shopping, the best way to shop in a physical store is to use a general cash back credit card, because it gives additional savings that can be combined with store promotions. Also, statistically, general Cash Back Credit Cards, unlike store credit cards, give a high percent of cash back.
  • Shopping through online credit card malls can save customers up to 10.7 percent more than other options, because banks and retailers offer deeper discounts when they partner up through card issuers' online malls.
  • Shopping directly through online retailers works best if you use a store-branded credit card, because a regular cash back credit card may not classify an online purchase in the right merchant classification category for maximum cash back.

Payment Options for Shopping in Specific Categories:

  • At department stores, using the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card will net an additional five percent cash back program, and American Express Blue Cash Preferred card holders will get an additional three percent cash back.
  • For electronics stores, using a U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card gets you five percent cash back at the Apple Store and Best Buy, while using a SimplyCash Business card from American Express OPEN will give five percent cash back at Staples or Office Depot (which aren't classified as electronics stores, but do sell laptops and other electronics).

The result of our study is the comprehensive table below that points consumers to the right payment option to save the most during the 2012 back-to-school season.

Click Image to Enlarge: Infographics: 2012 Best Payment Method Study for Back to School Shopping

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Credit Cards for Back-to-school Shopping
Use these cards while shopping on-line or in-stores to
maximize savings and earnings:

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Intro APR on Purchases: 0% 7 months on Purchases*
Ongoing APR on Purchases: 16.24% - 26.24%* (Variable)
Key Feature: Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 7 months on purchases from date of account opening; after that the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24% based upon your creditworthiness*

Rewarding Shopping: YES

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Intro APR on Purchases: 0% (6 months)
Ongoing APR on Purchases: 14.49% - 23.49% Variable
Key Feature: Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Rewarding Shopping: YES

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Intro APR on Purchases: N/A
Ongoing APR on Purchases: 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Key Feature: Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Rewarding Shopping: YES

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

Intro APR on Purchases: N/A
Ongoing APR on Purchases: 17.49% - 25.49% Variable
Key Feature: Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability

Rewarding Shopping: YES

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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  • Skyzen16

    or wait to use service to do it all for you

  • Andre

    seems Discover is a clear winner online!

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