04-05-2009 04:10 PM - edited 04-05-2009 04:25 PM
I've been researching cashback cards, trying to figure out the best combo for me.
Initially, I liked the PenFed Visa Platinum Gas Cash Reward card, as it gives 5% at the pump, 2% at supermarkets and 1.25% on all other purchases. Other companies' typical "all other purchases" cashback reward is 1% so PenFed betters it by 0.25%.
Also good is the Amex Costco TrueEarnings card, which gives 3% cashback on gas and restaurants, 1% on all other purchases. If you dine out a lot, this is a great card to have.
But the newest card I discovered and the one that gets my vote as best general purpose cashback card is the Schwab Bank Invest First Visa Signature card. It gives unlimited 2% cashback. The 2% cashback is credited directly to your Schwab One brokerage account. Since my recent focus has been on simplifying my financial life, having one company like Schwab serve multiple purposes like investing, checking and credit is a big plus. Schwab's CD rates aren't that great, so I'm still looking for a good online savings account and am leaning towards INGDirect's Orange Savings Account combined with their Orange CDs.
For the consumer who doesn't want to keep up with categories of spending to optimize the cashback reward, simply use the Schwab card and get 2% back on everything. If you don't mind a small amount of card shuffling to maximize your cashback rewards, use the PenFed card for gas and the Costco card for restaurants.
Finally, a book recommendation. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi is a GREAT book for people trying to get their personal financial life organized, and that's not just my opinion. It's a 5-star book (based on 78 reviews) at Amazon and is the #4 top selling personal finance book. Just buy it... it's a great $8.37 investment in your financial future.
Just thought I'd share the results of my research. Comments are welcome.
04-05-2009 04:24 PM - edited 04-05-2009 04:25 PM
04-05-2009 04:46 PM
04-05-2009 04:54 PM - edited 04-05-2009 04:57 PM
Blue Cash will reward you if you charge a lot, and if you do pretty much all of it on Blue Cash. It is heavily dependent on usage to get over that initial minimum charge amount.
That's weird...or not?! I charged $19k last year, and I got only $298 cash back.What if I've used the CharlesSchwab2% Unlimited Card? It would've been $440?!
04-05-2009 05:12 PM
I charged $19k last year, and I got only $298 cash back.What if I've used the CharlesSchwab2% Unlimited Card? It would've been $440?!
I'm glad that my post got you thinking that maybe there's a better option for you. The more I think about it, the more I like the Schwab card. Plus, by giving the cashback reward as a credit to your brokerage account, it kinda forces you into an investing mindset, something we should all think about.
I think it's worthwhile to have another card that gives 5% cashback on gas, as it's a necessary expense for anyone who owns a car. For this purpose, the PenFed card, the Amex Costco TrueEarnings Business Card (which gives 5% on gas... the consumer card gives 3%) or the Discover Open Road card (which has a max reward of $5/month) is appropriate. I don't like the Discover card as much as the other two because of the monthly cap.
04-05-2009 08:14 PM
The Blue Cash still has $6500 to go for everyone in order to get 5% and 1.5%. It seems to me that I'm not benefiting enough *in my situation even I charged over $20k a year* compared to other like Charles Schwab's 2% unlimited. I guess the first $6500 takes away the competitiveness over the other cards. I guess if CharlesSchwab really gives literally 2% of everything that would be good for me. But I've heard some says the cash back to the brokerage account isnt being credited, so I'm holding myself back. Plus I have already 6 new credits added over the past 24 months as reported and indicated in my credit report, I dont want to hurt my credit score even more for small amount of cash back increase. I already went from highest FICO 772 to now FAKO 716.
04-06-2009 01:01 AM - edited 04-06-2009 01:03 AM
welcome to the first $6500https://catalog.usmint.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/TopCategoriesDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001
and the survey says... you're now set for 5%, 1.5%
04-06-2009 09:37 AM
I've got my checking, savings, overdraft line of credit, credit card, mortgage, brokerage and IRA with Schwab. Easily managed, all on the the same site, no fees for pretty much anything: refunded ATM fees at any ATM worldwide, 2% cashback on credit card spending with no annual fee and no foreign exchange fees...
I wouldn't use anyone else.
04-06-2009 11:12 AM
I bit the bullet around midnight last night and signed up for a Schwab One brokerage account + Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking acocunt. The online app was straightforward.
I'm holding off applying for the Schwab One Invest First Visa Signature card until my credit score improves to 720+ which should be very soon. I think Schwab pulls EQ but I'm not sure. I hope they do because that's my best score right now.
Surfing around their site, I see that the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Savings account earns 2.00% APY which is better than the 1.75% that my credit union is giving.
Soon I'll be owning one of these
04-06-2009 12:09 PM
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