Dear everyday spender:
As the title states, this is about getting on the right track, right now. And believe me, I understand, everyone’s situation is completely different. So let’s begin by establishing: either you’re seeking your first card, or evaluating your current usage. For anyone with good credit, even if you’re already earning, there’s almost always some wiggle room for improvement.
Remember, for our purposes, your earning potential is directly linked to your spending. So, if you know what type of spender you are, it’s time to make considerations. The first being your level of experience, and the second: How much time are you willing to spend managing your credit?
In light of that, most new participants start with only one card. Or maybe you’re shopping to determine whether you’re using the best card out there for your situation. Either way, I want to caution you, my everyday spender: many businesses/money websites provide research on these subjects. But be forewarned, since many display favoritism.
The main factor in a selecting a credit card is understanding the terms and conditions; AKA what they get, plus everything else; AKA what you get. Following this logic, the phrase “terms and conditions” should be interpreted as a fancy way of saying: contract. Like most contracts, it governs the relationship – so staying within the guidelines is a must for securing your cash back and protecting / building your overall good-standing.
Simplifying the data, the basic equation looks like this:
Their terms and conditions + your effort and responsibility = rewards.
That being said, the simplest card should provide a minimum of 1% cash back on ALL purchases. Hint: Be wary of cards which use the expression “virtually all purchases” or “qualifying purchases” or you may see the words “eligible” or “select”. Those terms are sneaky, because they imply less than all purchases will earn cash back. We call maneuvers like this: not nice!
Cards offering 1.5% or 2% also exist. Again, make sure ALL purchases are covered. Do this by explicitly reading the details of the offer.
The main difference between the 1% and 1.5% or 2% is this:
The 1.5% or 2% cards will be for everything, no matter the category. Whereas the 1% cards will typically offer higher percentages in specific categories. These additional benefits can vary significantly from card to card; however, they usually diverge between set benefits and quarterly deals.
In future posts we’ll discuss this in better detail. For now, remember, you’re using your card for everyday purchases… and you’ll be paying off the card, in full, each month. 🙂