Gas Credit Cards

Using Gas Credit Cards To Build Up Your Credit Score

April 26th, 2009

gascardWhen you’re trying to improve your credit ratings, store cards are among the easiest credit lines you can apply for.  As such, we’ve recommended applying for in-house credit cards many times over to people who are struggling with bad credit.  What many seem to overlook, though, are gas station-branded credit cards.

Just Like Store Cards

If you frequent a local gas station in your area, you should ask them if they issue credit cards to regular customers.  For the most part, gas credit cards function like dedicated store cards, allowing you to make transactions on that store alone.  While it’s likely not going to pack as many features as other bank-issued credit cards, they should be a helpful tool in building up your credit ratings – and every little bit helps.

Easy To Get

Since you don’t get much perks (or much leeway, for that matter) with gas credit cards, they’re usually easier to apply for.  In fact, some people claim they’re even easier to get than secured credit cards, requiring far more lenient procedures in processing your application.

Regular Use

If you drive at all on a regular basis, there should be no problem keeping a gas credit card active.  Even better, since you’re not likely to run up thousands in expenses (unlike some store credit cards can tempt you to), they’re also easier to manage.  Some gas credit cards will even have rewards tied in, although I’d rather not bother with that since their benefits are usually too marginal to be of any significance.

Chevron Credit Card Review

April 24th, 2009

chevronLooking for a good gas card?  If you frequently refill at Chevron and Texaco pumps, you may want to consider getting a Chevron credit card, which gets you rebates every time you use the card at one of their stations.

For filling up at a Chevron or Texaco gas station, you get a cash rebate of 10 cents for every gallon when you use your Chevron credit card.  Non-fuel purchases net you 3% rebates, along with 1% cash back for buying non-Chevron goods.  While that may sound like a good deal, here’s the rub: rebates are capped at $300 per year. There is no annual fee on the card.  APR is also pretty standard at between 7.99% to 14.99%.

Personally, I love gas cards and would patronize a station if they will give me one.  Unfortunately, this card from Chevron is very limiting in a lot of ways.  First, the fixed 10 cents to a gallon is a bad deal.  When gas prices go up again, as people are expecting them to in the near future, that leaves you with a very small rebate percentage.  Even worse, the $300 limit is too small.  I’d rather get a more generic gas card, which should leave me a lot more room to work with.

If you use Chevron and Texaco a lot, you can probably get this as an additional credit card.  If you use it strictly for buying gas at Chevron, that’s still $300 saved during the year.  Since there’s no annual fee, it doesn’t hurt you in any way.  Just ditch it when gas prices hit the roof once again.

Using Credit Cards To Pay For Gas

February 13th, 2009

Why pay with cash when you can pay with a credit card?

Such is my philosophy for many expenses, including fuel purchases for my car. While I can appreciate the position many gas stations take when they refuse to accept credit card payments, it just means I won’t be filling up with them even if they’re the nearest to my house.

A gas credit card is so convenient, it’s a wonder why a lot of people are still paying cash when they fill up. I can simply drive up to a gas station, swipe my card, punch in a few details and pump gas into my tank. It’s one of the least troublesome transactions I ever do with my credit card and there’s no way I’m willing to get gas otherwise.

Gas can prove a major expense when you’re on road trips and such. If I am forced to pay with cash, that means I’ll have to carry a bundle of it – not the safest way to handle money by a long shot. With the 5% cash back on gas purchases available on many cards, it’s silly to even consider doing otherwise.

Still, I’m noticing more and more gas stations refusing to take credit cards (especially back when gas reached ridiculous highs). Chances are, credit card use simply cuts into too much of their profit. I hope a better middle ground is found though – I’m definitely not willing to give up the benefits of using my credit card to fill up for gas.

Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards

January 24th, 2009

The price of fuel is really unstable – up one time, down the next. These gas credit cards make sure you get a little extra in return every time you fill up the tank.

Chase Perfect Card

You earn a fixed 3% rebate on all gas purchases using this card. As an introductory promotion, cardholders get a 6% cash back for the same fuel expenses during the first 90 days. All other purchase categories get 1%, with the rebates automatically credited to your monthly statements.

Discover Open Road

While Discover may not have as wide a reach as other credit card companies, this card is worth having for its whopping 5% cash back offer on all gasoline and auto maintenance expenses. If your regular auto repair shop doesn’t take Discover, best be looking for another one as this card is a serious money-saver.

American Blue Express Cash

They offer a tiered cash back on all purchases made at gas stations, along with supermarkets and drug stores. The premium rebates can go from 1% to 5%, depending on what level your spending is at. You get up to 1.5% (tiered too) for all purchases from other merchants.

American Express True Earnings Card From Costco

With this card, you can redeem all rewards points as either cash or merchandise from Costco. The rebates are extremely attractive, with a 3% rate for gas and restaurants, 2% for travel expenses and 1% for everything else. You will need to pay for a Costco membership to avail of the card which should be worth it since this card carries no annual charges.

Review: Credit Card For Road Warriors

December 29th, 2008

Do you spend a lot of your money on gas and car maintenance? If you do, this credit card can help you earn cash rewards every time you fill that gas tank or bring your car to the shop.

Features

If you have good credit, getting a Discover Open Road Card will allow you to put all that work and expense on your cars to good use with 5% rebates on all gas and auto maintenance spending. Other purchases can get up to 1% rebates.

There are tricky, tiered rules on the gas and repair rebates, so it’s not all peachy for this card. For instance, you get the full 5% in rebates only until you go over $1200, at which time your rebates will drop to 0.25%. From $1500 to $3000, you’ll get a 0.5% rebate while anything over $3000 gets 1%.

For general expenses, you get a 0.25% rebate for purchases up to $1500, 0.5% between $1500 to $3000 and a full 1% for all expenses over $3000. If you exchange your rebates for gift certificates from participating merchants, you can get double its value.

It comes with free insurance benefits including travel accident, auto rental and credit card security. Unless you have a pristine credit record, though, you’re not gonna get the best APR they have available so expected it to be on the average (14% to 19%).

Should You Get This Card?

This card works best for those who plan to spend a maximum of $1200 annually on gas and car maintenance. Any more than that and the value isn’t really that great, with severely lowered rebates after that amount.

The Problem With Rewards Cards

December 27th, 2008

Rewards credit cards are nice. At the same time you’re enjoying the convenience and benefits of credit card, you’re earning points that you can exchange for valuable products and services at a later time. For most consumers, however, rewards cards are usually just another credit card with higher fees that bring them no extra value whatsoever.

Problem # 1: High Fees

The chance to obtain rewards usually come at the expense of higher annual fees. While some rewards cards can come without them (like the Discover More card), most will have fees ranging from $50 to $100, with some (like the American Express Centurian) charging four-figure annual charges.

Problem # 2: Points Expire

Just because rewards are offered doesn’t mean you’re going to get them. If you only use your card occasionally, you will likely not reach minimum points required to redeem your rewards. Eventually, the points will expire.

Different rewards credit cards offer varying life spans for the points – some as short as three years while others for longer durations. Make sure your rewards card offer sufficient time before the points expire or you likely wouldn’t see any of it.

Additionally, points can be voided if you overcharge your credit or pay bills late.

Problem # 3: Redemption Can Be A Pain

Just because you have enough points doesn’t mean you will get your just rewards. For one, you will need to call the issuer every time you wish to redeem. Redemption terms can also be complicated, requiring you to do various things before being able to claim. Credit card issuers can also change the rewards’ terms any time they please, which could make you ineligible for one reason or another.

Problem # 4: Higher Spending

You will likely spend more with a rewards card than a regular card. The rewards are often too tempting a deal that you just end up using your card for purchases you can otherwise handle in cash. While this is not a problem when you pay off your balances month to month, it can prove a debt trap when you’re susceptible to mis-managing your finances every now and then.

Review: Credit Card For The Best Travel Deals

November 24th, 2008

If you like booking your own travel arrangements, the Blue Sky Credit Card from American Express will be one of your most beloved companions, allowing you to get the best travel deals.

Getting The Best Travel Deals

Most travel reward cards require you to book flights and accommodations through their own in-house agents. While it’s a nice perk, you’re limited to whatever deals they have on offer. If nothing interests you or if the ones that do are too expensive for your current points, you have no choice but to either sit on your rewards or fork up some extra cash.

The Blue Sky offers a unique travel reward that allows you to book through any agency, hotel, car rental, airline, cruise line, online booking agents and tour operators that you prefer. There are certain limitations (non-industry compliant operations and back alley deals won’t count) but they are hardly restrictive. With this card, you can exhaust those points getting the best deals you can find on your own.

When redeeming your rewards, you will need to make your bookings first and pay for them using the credit card. You can then use the points to get a credit rebate back to your card. Every 7500 points get you a $100 charge-back (1.33%, which is better than the 1% offered by most charge-back rewards). For instance, when you book a $120 ticket and subsequently use 7500 reward points, you’ll $100 credited back on your monthly statement.

Other Features

The Blue Sky Credit Card has no annual fee with APR that starts from prime rate plus 4.99%. It also brings standard Amex benefits to cardholders, including travel insurance and various store discounts worldwide as well as exclusive Blue card offers such as discounts on numerous hotels, show tickets and music downloads.