In today’s age, it is becoming more and more difficult to find ways to save money. Between mortgage payments, household expenses, spending on everyday goods and services, many people are finding that their paycheck simply doesn’t seem to stretch far enough. At this point in time, having a credit card can be an enormous help. While they may have gotten a bad rap over the years for being easy to abuse, they offer numerous benefits once you understand how they work.
Practical for Most People Now Days
A gas credit card is particularly useful because most Americans drive every day either to work or for pleasure, meaning they are constantly filling up their cars with gasoline or diesel fuel. By having a card that offers cash back for every gallon of gas you purchase, you can quickly begin earning extra money. In fact, with one of the cards below, you could earn enough to make a significant difference in your monthly expenditures. As long as you remember that credit card purchases are truly loans from the issuer and not free money from an ATM or bank teller, it is much easier to understand how they work and avoid getting into trouble with them. Once you do this, using a gas credit card can provide a number of benefits, below are just a few.
- Save Money on Fuel Expenses
- Earn Rewards When You Spend
- Benefit from Exclusive Deals
- Build Your Credit by Using Correctly
Since these cards come in so many different varieties and have various benefits and requirements, it is important that you take the time to understand what they can do before applying for one. Before you choose a card, make sure it matches your lifestyle and gas purchasing habits. For example, if you drive a lot in an urban area with limited opportunities to purchase gasoline, having a credit card that offers cash back on every gallon purchased is not going to be very useful because most convenience stores don’t have gas pumps anymore. If you are constantly traveling between cities or even states looking for cheap fuel deals to save money, look for cards which allow you to earn points quickly so you can redeem them for free airline tickets or other benefits typically only offered by the major credit card companies.
Understand How Your Cards Work
If you have a card with good rewards but requires you to pay off your balance each month, it might be best for you to find another one which allows you to carry a balance so you can build your credit score by using it responsibly every month. Make sure that the company issuing the gas credit card is reputable. A quick internet search will show whether or not any complaints have been filed against them, their Better Business Bureau rating and what other people are saying about them on social media sites. You can also ask your friends if they know anything about a particular company before applying for a card from them.
Always Read the FINE PRINT!
To make sure that you receive all of the benefits and protections offered by a gas credit card, read the terms and conditions carefully to see if there are any restrictions or limitations on their use. You do not want to apply just to realize that you cannot use it as you intended due to missing information. If you have decided that a gas credit card is right for you, review this list to help you choose the one which will work best based on your individual needs and lifestyle.
Citi Double Cash Card
Although there are many reasons to earn cash back when using a credit card, most people want something that is up front and easy to understand. The Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back on every purchase and another 1% when you pay off your monthly balance. With no annual fee and no limit on how much money you can earn, it is one of the best options available if all you want to do is save money while buying gasoline each month.
Shell Credit Card by Capital One
If you already have a Shell gas station in your neighborhood, this card is one of the best offers available to you. Although it does not offer any up front cash back on gasoline purchases, every time you use it at a partnered convenience store or restaurant, you will receive 5 cents per gallon as an automatic discount on your next fill-up at a Shell station. This benefit alone can save you up to $400 each year if used regularly and includes no annual fee or minimum purchase amount requirement.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
The first perk offered by this credit card is a large introductory bonus of $200 after spending just $1,000 within three months of opening the account. It is one of the most popular choices for families with children, offering 6% cash back on select department store and grocery purchases and an unlimited 3% return when purchasing gasoline at any station nationwide. If you regularly shop at either of these places and live in a rural area where Shell stations are few and far between, this card is one of the best options available to you with no annual fee or spending limits.
Synchrony Gas Card
Although not as flashy as many other gas credit cards, this is one of the most basic options available to consumers who want a simple way to save money when they fill up their car each month. For each $100 spent the pump, you will receive 5 cents off per gallon. For every 100 points earned, you will receive a $0.05 discount on your next fuel purchase. Plus, if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost of your gasoline purchase, Synchrony will automatically apply your rewards as a statement credit towards that purchase so you do not have to worry about losing any money that you have already earned through purchases made each month.
BP Credit Card
As one of the most affordable options available, this card offers 1% cash back on all purchases and up to 10 cents off per gallon when used at participating BP locations nationwide. You can choose whether or not to include automatic payments with this offer for an additional fee based on how frequently you use it. This makes it easy to budget your money and save every month without worrying about forgetting to pay off your balance on time or incurring late fees.
Shell Drive for Five
For the most dedicated Shell customers, this card offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases at participating Shell stations. As long as you make more than one transaction each week, you will continue to earn points which can be redeemed for additional savings of 5 cents per gallon each time with no limit on how much you can earn or how often. The only restriction with this offer is that the same credit card cannot be used at any other gas station within a 24-hour period. If this does not bother you, consider signing up for this unique option.
Gas Prices Have Been On the Rise
In the gas-price crisis of 2008, gas prices have been on a steady rise since then. In summertime, gas prices can reach more than 150% of their average price per gallon year-round. Because of this regular rise in gas prices, gas credit cards are becoming increasingly popular. Even if gas is relatively cheaper in different parts of the world (e.g., Europe), it would still make sense to get a gas card for gas purchases in your area because eventually you will end up traveling – and therefore paying at least some gas money! If you buy gas often (and depending on how much you buy getting a card that gives cash back for gas might be a better option), then gas cards can really pay off especially when gas is expensive. You should also consider the fact that gas credit cards generally have a good initial bonus in terms of gas rewards, so if you’re going to buy gas anyway getting a card with a good offer makes sense.
When NOT to get a Gas Credit Card
In case your gas purchases are only occasional or you spend most of your money on something else but gas, it’s wiser to get a cash back credit card instead so you can gain the max points across all of your shopping instead of being restricted to fuel points alone. At the moment there are offers from cash back cards with up to 5% cash back rate which is definitely much more than what any gas credit card offers (the highest we’ve seen is 2%). If you don’t spend over $1,000/month on gas, gas credit cards definitely aren’t worth it. Even if gas is expensive, you would probably even get more cash back by using regular cash back cards. On the other hand, if gas purchases in your area are over $1,000 a month a gas credit card can be a good deal because in this case at least you could make up to $100 in gas rebates every month which annualizes to $1200 a year savings.
In the end it all comes down to how much gas do you buy and where? If the answer falls under the ‘a lot’ category then gas credit cards might serve better, but otherwise they may not be right for you.