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, to avoid the risk of 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® Cash Back 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 and 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 from 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 and using online account management tools. You’ll also have complete protection from fraudulent charges, with zero-liability guarantees from all major credit cards. Some cards even offer 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 cashback 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, choose the one that fits your lifestyle 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. Here are our top picks for best everyday credit cards. 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 are ready for vacation. There are no rotating categories and no caps. You earn a set number of miles per dollar spent with 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 get all of your rewards matched 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 two miles per $1 on every purchase. And if you spend $3000 on purchases within three months of account opening, you will get 50000 bonus miles, which equals $500 in travel. In addition to generous rewards, you also have the freedom to use the miles earned to cover any airline expense. Also, miles can be redeemed for anything that falls into the 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 $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. There is no foreign transaction fee, which is perfect for travelers.
Best for gas and restaurants:Discover it® Cash Back
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 and enrolment is required). Gas purchases earn 5% cash back from January through March. In the spring, you may get 5% back at grocery stores. From July through September you can get 5% cash back at restaurants. In fall and winter, wholesale clubs and online purchases generally 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 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. You will earn you 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter in those categories, 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 sign-ups or enrolments. You simply buy and earn.
Runner up for restaurants:Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
This credit card from Capital One will allow you to earn 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, including higher cash back on dining and groceries. Dining out will earn 3% cash back, and groceries will earn 2% cash back. So, if you have a habit of putting all your purchases on a credit card, this card will give you something back. In addition to ongoing rewards, you can qualify for a one-time bonus of $150 after you spend $500 on purchases within first three months of account opening. The card has no annual fee, which makes it ideal for everyday spending.
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 purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. 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 your monthly statement. Plus, there’s no annual fee, and a sweet 0% 18 months on Balance Transfers* APR.