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So, What's “The Scoop” Dave?

Most consumers should own a card that pays at least 3% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases -- but don't carry too large a balance, or you'll give it all back to the credit card company. Here's what to do: (more...)
 
   

Skyrocket Your Credit Card Rewards!
Part I of the Special Report "Why Aren't More
Cardholders Standing Up For Themselves?"


Have you noticed that a lot of credit card sites do little more than throw a gazillion offers at visitors, hoping one will stick? People often have to put up with unwanted hype, unreliable advice, and hidden traps...

Consumers deserve better.

It's time to take 'em on! Consumers deserve plain talk, personalized advice, and unbiased card rankings (more...)
 

 

Special Report Contents:
I.

II.

III.
 
Skyrocket Your Credit Card Rewards!
0% Balance Transfers Can Save A Bunch
How To Lower Interest Rates Under 5%



 
 
Painting: "The Judgment of Solomon" by Nicolas Poussin, Oil on canvas, 1649, Muse du Louvre, Paris. Click to enlarge This scorecard helps consumers "cut through the hype" by comparing the best rewards cards recommended by Consumer Reports, The Kiplinger Letter, and Money Magazine. Plus discover 4 other cards they should have mentioned. Card companies are cutting back, but most people have still succeeded in getting a good card that will earn thousands over the coming years.

How to easily find your best rewards card.  First, personalize these card rankings with one click.  Just click on the gold bar below to indicate your card spending. All results will be automatically calculated, and the cards will be reranked. Examine them carefully, then apply for the top card that suits your needs.
 
Fact:  The average household of 2.5 people spends about $18,000 yearly on its rewards cards, earning an average of $226 per year in cash rebates.  Getting better cards would more than double this reward to $470 per year.

Note:  A "thumbs-up" symbol below means the card is easier to get approval for, even if your credit isn't very good.
Scorecard for household card spending of $18,000 per year:
Rank Card NameNext Steps
RewardsEstimated
Yearly
Reward
(What's this?)
Redeem For Interest Rate (APR)Annual Fee
1. 1. Chase FreedomSM Credit Card
Earn 3% rebate in any 3 of 15 categories,
up to $600 monthly; otherwise earn 1%. 
Plus a $50 bonus for each $200 earned.
 $405
  (2.25%)
Starts at 11.24% (Variable)Free
Chase Freedom Card Bonus: Earn a $50 bonus rebate after the first purchase, balance transfer, or check transaction.
2. 2. Blue Cash from American Express
On first $6500 spent: earn 0.5% to 1%;
After that: 5% for gas/grocers/drugstores,
and 1.5% everywhere else.
 $398
  (2.21%)
Starts at 10.24% (Variable)Free
3. 3. Driver's Edge by Citibank
Earn 3% at gas stations, grocers, & drug-
stores;
1% everywhere else.
 $339
  (1.88%)
11.24% (Variable)Free
Driver's Edge Bonus: For the first year, you'll earn 6% cash back (instead of 3%) on purchases made at supermarkets, gas stations, and drugstores.
4. 4. Discover Open RoadSM Card
Earn 5% on gas, up to $60 per card; up
to 1% elsewhere; trade for gift certificates.
 $262
  (1.45%)
Starts at 10.99% (Fixed)Free
5. 5. Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card
Earn 2% for gas/grocers/drugstores,
elsewhere earn 1% (up to $300/year).
 $256
  (1.42%)
Starts at 9.74% (Variable)Free
Citi Dividend Card Bonus: For 6 months, you'll earn a 5% cash back rebate on purchases made at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, convenience stores, and utilities including cable.
6. 6. Miles by Discover Card
Earn 2 miles on travel and dining
(up to $60/year); 1 mile elsewhere.
 $240
  (1.33%)
Starts at 10.99% (Fixed)Free
Discover Miles Card Bonus: Earn up to 12,000 bonus miles:  Cardholders will receive 1,000 bonus miles every month they make a purchase during the first year.
Rank Card NameNext Steps
RewardsEstimated
Yearly
Reward
(What's this?)
Redeem For Interest Rate (APR)Annual Fee
7. 7. Everyday Rewards by National City
Earn 4% on gas, 3% on movies/videos,
2% on grocers/dining;
else 0.25% to 1%.
 $232
  (1.28%)
Starts at 11.24% (Variable)Free
 National average rebate: (This line is only for comparison.) $226
  (1.25%)
--
8. 8. Capital One No Hassle MilesSM Rewards
Earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent. $225
  (1.25%)
13.4% (Fixed)Free1
           1The Money Magazine guys somehow missed this, but the No Hassle Miles Card also comes in an "Ultra" version for an annual fee of $39:  With this card, you'll earn two miles per dollar spent instead of 1.25 miles. If you plan to spend more than $5,200 on this card, it's worthwhile to get the Ultra version.
9. 9. Capital One No Hassle CashSM Rewards
Earn 1% cash back on everything; plus
get an annual 25% bonus
 $225
  (1.25%)
13.4% (Fixed)Free
11. 11. Discover MoreSM Card
Earn 5% at select merchants, or up to
1% elsewhere; trade for gift certificates.
 $202
  (1.12%)
Starts at 10.99% (Fixed)Free
12. 12. Citi PremierPassSM Card
Earn 1 mile per dollar spent; get 1/3 mile for
each mile flown by who you buy a ticket for.
 $180
  (1.00%)
Starts at 10.24% (Variable)Free2
           2The Citi PremierPass Card also comes in an "Elite" version for an annual fee of $75:  When you use this Elite card at grocers, gas stations and drugstores, you'll earn two miles per dollar spent, and receive one mile (instead of 1/3 mile) for each mile flown by you or anyone you buy tickets for with this card.
Citi PremierPass Bonus: For the standard version, receive 10,000 bonus miles after making $600 in purchases within 3 months of account opening; for the Elite card the offer is 20,000 bonus miles.
 Good Combo: (1) Freedom Card + (2) Open Road Card + (3) Driver's Edge Card Freedom Card: pays 3% on 3 categories.
Open Road Card: pays 5% on gas.
Driver's Edge: pays 3% on gas, grocers &
drugstores. Above list has further details.
 $470
  (2.61%)
Free
 There's a good chance that one of these five cards will help the cause of your financial freedom (surprisingly, they're often overlooked even by consumer-advocate reviewers):
 
12. You'll avoid any revolving debt with this Gold
Charge Card
while collecting good rewards.
13. For the first year, this Diamond Card rewards
you more than almost all other rewards cards.
14. This AAdvantage Platinum miles card has a great
sign-up bonus: a plane ticket worth around $250.
15. This Blue Cash for Business card is the best all-
around rewards card for businesses.
16. If your credit is new or needs rebuilding, this No
Hassle Points
card is close to being a must-have.
Rank Card NameNext Steps
RewardsEstimated
Yearly
Reward
(What's this?)
Redeem For Interest Rate (APR)Annual Fee
13. 13. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card
Earn 1 Rewards Point for every dollar
you spend.
 $180
  (1.00%)
You must pay it off monthly.$125 (Waived 1st year)
American Express Gold Card Bonus: Receive 10,000 bonus points after the first purchase, redeemable for a $100 gift card at participating merchants. If it's too pricey, you can drop down to their Green Card for $95/year (waived first year.)
14. 14. Citi Diamond Preferred Card
Earn one point per dollar. $150
  (0.83%)
Starts at 9.74% (Variable)Free
Citi Diamond Card Bonuses: (1) Receive 6,000 ThankYou Points (redeemable for a $50 gift card ) after your first purchase made within the first 3 months. (2) For the first twelve months that you are a cardmember, you will earn five ThankYou Points instead of one at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations. We calculate that these two bonuses could make the rebate for the first year $465 instead of $150.
15. 15. Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage
Earn one mile per dollar spent. $180
  (1.00%)
Starts at 15.24% (Variable)Free
Citi AAdvantage Card Bonus: Earn 25,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after you make $750 in purchases within 4 months of becoming a cardmember -- redeemable for one round-trip American Airlines ticket anywhere in the contintental U.S. or Canada.
16. 16. Blue Cash for Business by American Express
First $15,000 spent: Earn 2.5% (5% at select
"Open Savings" merchants.) After that: earn
1% (2% at "Open Savings" merchants.)
 $422
  (2.34%)
Starts at 8.24% (Variable)Free
17. 17. Capital One No Hassle PointsSM Rewards
Earn 5 points per dollar for gas, grocers and
drugstores; earn earn 1 point on all else.
 $367
  (2.03%)
14.9% (Variable)$29
           Note: The "two thumbs up" just means that this card is only for people with fair credit (i.e. you are new to credit cards, or your shaky credit needs improvement.)
Important Note: A card that allows a 0% balance transfer for 12 months could be even better, if you carry a high balance and don't plan to pay it off soon.  That's covered in Part II of this Special Report.

Put Ben Franklin On The Hot Seat!

As America's First Consumer Advocate,
he's here to answer all your questions.





1. "I don't believe in ghosts, so who are you really?"
2. "How is a 2.5% rebate like a 15% spending income boost?"
3. "Why is it that I should apply for only one card today?"
4. "Is it safe to use rewards cards to spend much money?"
5. "Why would credit card companies pay these rewards?"
6. "Aren't there some credit card 'traps' to avoid?"
7. "How do I get the most cash back possible?"
8. "Why don't more consumers stand up for themselves?"
9. "How can I be sure that my application will be secure?"
11. "Which other consumer advocates like these cards?
10. "How long will these offers remain available?"
12. "What combination of credit cards is it best to own?"
13. "Should I cancel my old card(s) after getting a new one?"
14. "How are consumers 'blindfolded' from the truth about rewards cards?"
15. "Ben, what makes you a hero to consumer advocates?"
16. "Do consumer advocates have any funny stories to tell?"

Or click here to ask your own question!

 

Note: The scorecard on this page is fact-checked every one or two  These credit card offers are available now, but there's no guarantee they will still be there tomorrow (especially in this shaky economy.)
 
   
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