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This post comes from Logan Abbott, editor of the credit cards section of MyRatePlan.com.
Cash-back credit cards are great because money back is easy to compute and understand. Some card issuers, however, muddy the water by advertising big cash-back bonuses, but only for expense categories you don’t often use, like specific online stores or movie theaters.
While bonus bucks are always nice, you want a card that offers them on common spending categories, like groceries, department stores, and gas stations.
If that sounds good, you’ll like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.
- Earn huge cash back at supermarkets. Cardholders earn a whopping 6 percent cash back at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets.
- Earn sizable cash back on gas and department stores. Cardholders earn 3 percent cash back on gasoline at all U.S. stand-alone gas stations and certain major department stores. The 3 percent on gas is more than many gas rewards cards offer.
- Earn cash back on all purchases. While 6 percent back on groceries and 3 percent cash back on gas is great, the Blue Cash Preferred Card also offers 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
- Cardholders are eligible to earn a $150 statement credit. If you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of membership, you’ll earn a $150 statement credit.
- Zero-percent introductory APR on purchases. Cardholders receive a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for a full 12 months. After the introductory period, the APR reverts to a variable APR of between 12.99 percent and 21.99 percent, depending on your credit. The card carries a standard 3 percent balance transfer fee.
- There’s a limit on the cash back you can earn. The 6 percent cash back that you get on groceries is delicious, but after spending $6,000 at supermarkets in a calendar year, it’s over. Amounts exceeding $6,000 only earn the usual 1 percent. If you spend less than $6,000 at supermarkets annually – and most American households do – this won’t be a concern.
- There’s an annual fee. The Blue Cash Preferred Card comes with a $75 annual fee. Remember, however, that if you spend $1,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn a $150 statement credit – enough to offset two years of fees. After that, however, if you’re not using the card to make enough purchases to more than offset the annual fee, you’re losing ground.
- Cash earned comes in the form of a statement credit. This isn’t a huge deal, but the cash back you earn comes in the form of a credit on your next statement rather than a check mailed to you.
Get it if: You have fair to excellent credit, spend a decent amount of money at gas stations, supermarkets, and department stores, and like the idea of a cash-back card.
Forget it if: You have poor credit and won’t use the card enough to earn the $150 statement credit or otherwise offset the annual fee.
Note: While we attempt to be completely objective when reporting on credit cards, this site may be compensated by issuers when a reader applies for a credit card through the links within credit card stories or on our credit card search page.
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