Prepaid Debit Cards

The following prepaid credit cards and prepaid debit cards offer a low cost alternative to check cashing stores and checking accounts. Many of the prepaid cards are free with direct deposit and offer online bill pay. With prepaid cards, you can avoid overdraft charges and over limit fees. And there are never interest charges.

Betty Boop Design CARD.com Prepaid MasterCard®

  • Choose from many unique designs
  • Receive your paycheck or tax refund by Direct Deposit
  • Remotely deposit checks right from your phone
  • Convenient Android and iPhone apps
  • Share funds with fellow CARD.com MasterCard cardholders
  • Access more than 24,000 surcharge-free ATMs
  • 24/7 support and MasterCard Zero Liability (*Conditions and exceptions apply- see cardholder agreement)
  • No overdraft fees, late fees, or minimum balance

AccountNow® Gold Visa® Prepaid Card

  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with free direct deposit ▼
  • Get your paycheck or benefits checks in your card account and access your funds up to 2 days earlier than payday.
  • 100% Approval* - upon successful ID verification. No credit check∞. No ChexSystems check. No existing bank account required.
  • $0 Activation fee†. No Minimum Balance. No risk of Overdraft fees.
  • $15 Bonus§ with qualifying Direct Deposit. Never pay to cash your paychecks and get your pay faster.
  • Use it everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted and pay anyone with PayAnyone Bill Pay. Shop online, rent a car, pay your rent and more.
  • Easy Mobile Account Access and Text Alerts. Get your account balance, transaction details sent to your phone within seconds
  • BBB Accredited A+ Company. Excellent Customer Service.

AchieveCard Visa® Prepaid Card

  • Get paid faster than a paper check
  • Quick and easy sign up
  • No minimum balance
  • Online banking and SMS alerts
  • Shop online, pay bills, and make everyday purchases
  • Send paper checks with Online Bill Pay - we print & mail them for free!
  • Exclusive AchieveRewards Loyalty Program

Kaiku® Visa® Prepaid Card

  • Simple Fees: only $3/month when you use in-network ATMs, and that's easy to do, since the Kaiku Card may be used at any of the 55,000 Allpoint surcharge-free ATMs worldwide.
  • Six Eye-Catching Colors: select a vertical woodgrain card design that reflects your style: Ninja Black, Grizzly Brown, Unicorn Pink, Shark Bite Teal, Artsy White, or Jurassic Amber.
  • Funds-ometer: a financial tool with no setup or user inputs. It tracks your weekly spending and compares it to your 60-day average in fun categories like eating out and entertainment.
  • Mobile Check Loading: snap a picture of your check and load it to your card from anywhere with the Kaiku Mobile App on iOS and Android.

PayPal™ Prepaid MasterCard®

  • Instantly transfer money from your PayPal Account to your PayPal Prepaid MasterCard!
  • Use free direct deposit and get your paychecks and tax refund faster!
  • Get account alerts on your mobile device or download our App to check your balance and see recent transactions
  • Open an optional savings account currently offering a 5.00% APY for balances up to $5,000 (new)
  • Earn Cash back rewards from specially selected stores, restaurants and more
  • No credit check, overdraft fees or interest charges.
  • Safer than carrying cash - use it to pay for everyday purchases.

Chase $450 Coupon – $300 for Checking & $150 for Savings

Chase $450 Coupon DealChase Bank regularly offers bonuses on new accounts. The bonuses, however, don’t last long. This deal, worth up to $450, expires on April 23, 2015. The checking account bonus requires direct deposit. The savings account bonus requires a deposit of at least $10,000. Details on the bonus can be found here.

Tip: When this deal expires, you can find more Chase bonus coupons on Ebay.

Chase $300 Checking Bonus

To receive the $300 checking bonus:

  1. Open a new Chase Total Checking account, which is subject to approval;
  2. Deposit $25 or more at account opening; AND
  3. Have your direct deposit made to this account within 60 days of account opening. Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. After you have completed all the above checking requirements, Chase will deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days.

Note: The checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers, those with fiduciary accounts, or those whose accounts have been closed within 90 days or closed with a negative balance.

Chase $150 Savings Bonus

To receive the $150 savings bonus:

  1. Open a new Chase SavingsSM account, which is subject to approval.
  2. Deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money into the new savings account within 10 business days of account opening; AND
  3. Maintain at least a $10,000 balance for 90 days from the date of deposit.

Chase Details

  • Fees: Chase Total Checking® has no Monthly Service Fee when you do at least one of the following each statement period: Option #1: Have monthly direct deposits totaling $500 or more made to this account; OR, Option #2: Keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more in your checking account; OR, Option #3: Keep an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of qualifying Chase checking, savings and other balances. Otherwise a $12 Monthly Service Fee will apply in most states ($10 Monthly Service Fee for CA, OR and WA).
  • Credit Pull: Soft Pull from ChexSystems
  • Minimum Deposit Requirement: $25 minimum deposit to open an account.
  • Availability: United States, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia
  • ATM Network: 18,000 Chase ATMs & 5,500 branches
  • Routing (ABA) numberVarious
  • Established: 1824
  • FDIC certificate628
  • Phone Number: 1-800-935-9935

PNC Virtual Wallet – $300 Bonus

PNC bank is offering up to a $300 bonus for those who sign up for its Virtual Wallet. On top of the bonus, there are no monthly fees with qualifying direct deposit. You can also get bonus rewards when you link your PNC Visa® Credit Cards to your account.

PNC Virtual Wallet Bonus

The bonus comes in three tiers depending on the type of account you open.

Virtual Wallet

  • Open a new Virtual Wallet
  • Establish a qualifying direct deposit to your new account
  • Make at least one payment with a PNC Online Bill Pay
  • Get $75* deposited to your account

Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend

  • Open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend
  • Establish a qualifying direct deposit to your new account
  • Make at least one payment with a PNC Online Bill Pay
  • Get $200* deposited to your account

Virtual Wallet with Performance Select

  • Open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Select
  • Establish a qualifying direct deposit to your new account
  • Make at least one payment with a PNC Online Bill Pay
  • Get $300* deposited to your account

As with any bonus offer, the terms can change at any time, so be sure to check out PNC’s website for details. Also, from the website here are the details about this offer:

*New personal checking account must be opened online via the above “Open an Account Online” link or at a branch using the appropriate coupon between 2/1/2015 to 3/31/2015. To qualify for the $300 reward, a qualifying Direct Deposit must be received, and one (1) payment must be completed via PNC Online Bill Pay within 60 days of account opening. Your checking account must remain open in order for you to receive the $300 reward, which will be credited to the eligible account within 60 – 90 days after all conditions have been met and will be identified as “Cash Trans Promo Reward” on your monthly statement. A qualifying Direct Deposit is defined as a recurring Direct Deposit of a paycheck, pension, Social Security or other regular monthly income electronically deposited by an employer or an outside agency into the Spend Account of a Virtual Wallet® with Performance Select. The total amount of all qualifying Direct Deposits credited to your checking account must be at least $5,000. Credit card cash advance transfers, transfers from one account to another or deposits made at a branch or ATM do not qualify as Qualifying Direct Deposits. Offer only available to new PNC Bank checking account customers who open the Eligible Account using the online application. New account will not be eligible for offer if any signer has signing authority on an existing PNC Bank consumer checking account or has closed an account within the past 90 days, or has been paid a promotional premium in the past 12 months. If multiple accounts are opened with the same signers, only one account will be eligible for the premium. For this offer, signing authority will be defined by the customer name(s) and social security number(s) registered on the account. Offer only available to residents of AL, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, VA, WI and District of Columbia. Offer may be extended, modified or discontinued at any time and may vary by market.

What the Heck is Virtual Wallet?

Glad you asked. PNC has introduced online money management tools to help customers track spending, manage money, and budget.

PNC Bank Virtual Wallet

From the PNC website, Virtual Wallet helps you spend, reserve, and grow your money:

SPEND is your primary checking account. It’s designed mainly for your everyday living and spending. With it you are required to receive a brand new Virtual Wallet Visa® Debit Card that you can use to make purchases (these purchases are deducted from your Spend account) or withdraw money at ATMs from any of your accounts. Your Spend account is what you’ll use to pay bills by check or through Online Bill Pay, as well as to make your daily, weekly (and weekend) purchases. Best of all, it works in harmony with your Reserve account.

RESERVE Account is for your short-term savings. And it also functions as your primary Overdraft Protection account – so if you’re at risk of overdrawing your Spend account (a Danger DaySM), money can be automatically transferred from your Reserve to your Spend, free of charge. Utilizing your reserve account is a great way to save up for things like a laptop, a sofa, a new mattress, a digital camera, etc. Bigger purchases, such as a house or even a honeymoon, can be saved up for in your Growth account.

GROWTH Account is your long-term savings account. It also acts as your secondary Overdraft Protection. The competitive interest rate* makes it perfect for you to build your nest egg and grow financially. Put money into your Growth account to save up for bigger, life-changing purchases down the road – a car, a down payment on a house, or to help pay off college loans. Best of all, you won’t need to use another bank for a high-interest savings account – with Virtual Wallet, you have it all in one place.

Its tools also help you simplify your financial life. Again from the PNC website:

Calendar – It’s more like a digital assistant that simplifies your banking needs. You’ll see everything in one place — from what you’re spending and making, to scheduled bill reminders, upcoming payments and balances.

Money Bar® – Get a bird’s eye view of what your money’s up to. The Money Bar puts it all into three categories: Scheduled Out (the money allocated for bills and other payments), Free (money that’s available to spend), and Reserve (the money you’ve tucked away).

PNC Online Bill Pay – helps you stay on track. Bills are integrated with the Money Bar® and the Calendar, so you know how much money is set aside and when it’s on the way out.

Spending Zone – Spending Zone’s SpendologySM tools provide a simple way to see what you’re spending your money on each month – and get a hold on it. Broken down into categories like Education, Restaurants, Gas and more, it allows you to set a budget for each.

Mobile Banking – PNC Mobile Banking lets you bank from your iPhone®, Android™ or other supported mobile device (tablet included), no matter where you are or what time it is. With the mobile deposit feature, you can even deposit money on the go.

Danger DaySM – Color-coded in red (so you won’t miss it), it shows up on your Calendar when your Spend account is at risk of being overdrawn.

PNC Virtual Wallet Details

  • Fees: $7, although this fee can be waived based on the type of account and monthly usage.
  • Credit Pull: Soft Pull from ChexSystems
  • Minimum Deposit Requirement: $25 minimum deposit to open an account.
  • Availability: Alabama, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia.
  • ATM Network: 7,200 surcharge-free ATMs
  • Routing (ABA) number: 031001175
  • Established: 1804
  • FDIC certificate6384
  • Phone Number: 888-PNC-BANK

You can check out the bonus offer at PNC’s website.


Nationwide Online Checking Account – $200 Bonus

Nationwide Checking $200 Bonus

Nationwide isn’t just an insurance company. It’s also an online bank. And its E-Checking account is currently offering a $200 bonus. The minimum opening balance is just $50. On top of the bonus, they also pay 0.60% APY (subject to change) on balances of $10,000 or more. That’s more than many savings accounts pay.

$200 Bonus Details

Here’s how you get the bonus.  From Nationwide’s website:

To get your $200, open a new E-Checking account by 6/30/2015 with a $50 minimum balance using the offer code 03110473, then set up an automatic monthly direct deposit of at least $200 into your E-Checking account. Your monthly direct deposit of $200 must be received within 60 days of opening the account. Direct deposits must be ACH credits made by an employer or outside agency (such as pension or government benefit payments). Online transfers or other types of deposits are not considered direct deposits. The account must remain open for at least 90 days to receive the $200 bonus. The $200 bonus will be deposited into your new account within 2 weeks following the 90 day minimum requirement. This $200 bonus offer is limited to one per household and is not available to existing checking customers. Nationwide Bank reserves the right to withdraw any offer at anytime.

 Nationwide Online Checking Details

  • Fees: $8 monthly fee. To avoid the fee, “you will need to sign up for at least one direct deposit of $25 per month AND make at least 8 debit card transactions per statement period OR maintain a combined average daily balance among your Nationwide Bank deposit accounts of at least $10,000 (excludes CD account balances).”
  • Credit Pull: Soft Pull from ChexSystems
  • Minimum Deposit Requirement: $50 minimum deposit to open an account.
  • Availability: All 50 states
  • ATM Network: 76,000 surcharge-free ATMs
  • Routing (ABA) number: 044072324
  • Established: 1998
  • FDIC certificate34710
  • Phone Number: 1-855-255-1176

Ebates Cash Back Shopping – $10 Signup Bonus

Ebates, one of the largest cash back shopping sites, is currently offering a free $10 gift card. Joining is free, and new members can pick the gift card they want from several major stores, including Macy’s, Walmart, and Kohl’s.

Ebates Signup Bonus

Once a member, Ebates is more than just a way to earn cash back with online purchases. Yes, the cash back rewards are a huge benefit, including Ebates famous double-cash back rewards from select retailers. Members can also earn cash by referring new members to Ebates.

Ebates Overview

With Ebates you can earn cash back on just about all online shopping. The cash back varies from store to store. For example, with Walmart you can earn up to 4%.  At Ebay you can earn up to 5%. These cash back bonuses do change. Ebates will run specials that pay double cash back from time to time.

You can also get the Ebate button that works in Firefox, Chrome, Explorer or Safari. As you shop online at your favorite stores, the Ebates button will alert you to available cash back offers.

Ebates Referral Program

For each new member you refer, Ebates will pay you a $5 referral fee. More importantly, you can also earn bonuses. Refer to just two friends, and Ebates pays you a $40 bonus, for a total Refer-a-Friend payment of $50. Refer 10 friends and the bonus jumps to $100.

Ebates Refer a Friend

Earning referral bonuses is simple. First, join Ebates. Once you join, go to the Tell-A-Friend section of the site (you’ll see a link in the navigation menu). Here you’ll find several ways to share Ebates with friends and family. You can email them through Ebates or send them a special referral link.

As you would expect, there are terms and conditions with this offer. From the Ebates website:

A “qualified referral” is a new member of Ebates referred by you that signs up at Ebates.com during the referral period starting January 1, 2015 and ending March 31, 2015 and that complies with the rules set forth below. If a qualified referral makes purchases totaling $25 or more that earn cash back within one year following signing up, Ebates will pay you a $5 “Base Bonus” for each such qualified referral and you will be eligible for an additional one-time “Tier Bonus” for the referral period based on the total number of such qualified referrals you generate and the Tier Bonus table then in effect. You will receive the highest Tier Bonus for which you qualify in the table above. Your Tier Bonus will be added to your Ebates account at the conclusion of this promotion. A qualified referral must be generated using (i) your custom referral link, (ii) the invitation forms on this page or (iii) other methods supplied by Ebates that allow for proper tracking of referrals. The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities that are not permitted and that will disqualify you from earning Bonuses: (i) self-referral, (ii) posting your referral link on any Ebates merchant’s Facebook or forum page, (iii) keyword bidding for the purpose of generating traffic to pages containing your referral link, and (iv) any similar activity determined by Ebates in its sole discretion to be inconsistent with the purpose of the Ebates Tell-A-Friend Program. Ebates decisions are final. You are responsible for any applicable taxes. This referral bonus promotion is open only to individuals who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico and are at least eighteen (18) years of age.

Note that the bonus is based on quarterly referrals. At the end of each calendar quarter Ebates calculates your bonus based on referrals, and then a new quarter begins.


Webster Bank Rewards Visa – $25 Bonus + 1.25% Rewards

Webster Bank Rewards Visa

Webster Bank Rewards Visa Credit Card offers an introductory rate on balance transfers in combination with some attractive rewards. While the bank isn’t a household name among credit card issuing banks, this offer is compelling, particularly if you haven’t been able to qualify for a card with a zero interest offer with a longer-term.

The Introductory Offer from Webster Bank Rewards Visa

The rewards package is a winner from the start. You will earn a $25 cash-back bonus after your first purchase (though it will take 6 to 8 weeks after the purchase). That will certainly make you feel good about participating in this offer very early in the process. Many credit cards are offering similar arrangements, but you generally have to spend several hundred (or even several thousand) dollars before you will receive a bonus of any kind.

After that, you will earn one point for every dollar that you spend. But that’s not all.

You will get a bonus of 25% added to the points that you earn each month as a result of your purchase activity. So if you earn 100 points, Webster Bank will bump that up to 125 points as a bonus. This is another area where the Webster Bank offer exceeds what is commonly being offered on rewards points by other banks.

In addition to the rewards points, the card has a 0% introductory rate for the first six billing cycles. And that applies to both balance transfers and purchases (but not to cash advances). Once the introductory rate period expires, an APR of between 9.99% and 20.99%, depending upon your credit worthiness, will apply on your outstanding balance going forward.

What Makes Webster Bank Rewards Visa Worth Having

We’ve already discussed the $25 cash-back bonus that you get with your first purchase, as well as the 25% reward points bonus. We’ve also discussed that the reward point program in general is more generous than it is with most other cards in that it doesn’t require you to reach certain purchase targets. But  Webster Bank Rewards Visa offers other advantages as well.

There is no limit on the reward and bonus points you can earn. Many credit card rewards programs put a limit on how many points you can earn, or on the timeframe in which you can earn them. There are no such limits with Webster Bank Rewards Visa.

Bonus points can be redeemed as cash. This benefit is huge. Many, probably most, credit cards that offer bonus points allow them only for the purchase of the issuer’s own products or services, or require that they are redeemable for certain gifts that you may have no interest in whatsoever. Webster Bank Rewards Visa will allow you to redeem your bonus points as cash, which can be deposited into your checking or savings account.

You also have the option to use your bonus points to:

  • Apply them as a statement credit on your card account.
  • Redeem them as gift cards.
  • Purchase select merchandise.
  • Use for travel, including hotels, car rentals and air travel with no blackout dates.

That’s a lot of nice redemption options that you won’t get with most other cards.

There is no annual fee. There’s nothing worse than signing up for a credit card rewards program where you have to give back all or a large percentage of the rewards through an annual fee. That won’t happen with Webster Bank Rewards Visa.

Auto rental collision damage waiver. There was a time when this protection was practically standard issue with credit cards, but many card issuers have gotten away from it. But the protection is there with the Webster Bank Rewards Visa, and it will dramatically lower the cost of paying for a car rental, given the cost that the collision damage waiver is sometimes even more costly than the base car rental rate.

Zero fraud liability for unauthorized transactions. As long as you report a fraudulent transaction soon after it occurs, you won’t be held liable to pay for it.

Some Things to Be Aware of with the Webster Bank Rewards Visa Card

There is probably no such thing as a perfect rewards credit card, and that’s true of the Webster Bank Rewards Visa. I’m highlighting some of the conditions with the card that you may want to consider, though some of them are hardly deal breakers.

Balance transfer fees. Webster Bank charges a fee of 3% of the amount of the balance transfer, subject to a $5 minimum.

Short 0% period. The interest-free period on the card is six months. On many other cards with 0% offers, the interest-free period runs to 12 months, and a few will go as long as 18. (Though such card issuers will usually recover the more generous intro period with higher interest rates later on.)

The points expire after five years. The clock starts running on your points from the end of the quarter in which the points were earned. If you’re in the habit of redeeming your rewards points quickly, this is a complete non-issue. But if you like to save up the points for a major purchase – that will require saving points for more than five years – this may not be the best card offer for you.

Despite these limitations – and recognizing that all rewards cards offers also impose limitations – Webster Bank Rewards Visa has a solid package to offer. The combination of 25% bonus points, no annual fee, unlimited rewards points, and wide open redemption options on those points – as well as the auto rental collision damage waiver and zero fraud liability features – make this an offer well worth looking into.

If you like what you’ve read here, check out the Webster Bank Rewards Visa and give it a try.

 


Discover Bank Savings Account Review – February 2015

Discover Bank Online Savings AccountDiscover Bank offers one of the highest yields available on a savings account. It’s current 0.95% APY is significantly higher than the national average. This is an excellent rate for a savings account that only requires a $500 minimum deposit.

Discover Bank Online Savings Account Review

Well known for its cash back credit cards, Discover also has an online bank. The Discover Bank Online Savings Account is one of the highest yielding FDIC insured savings accounts available. There are no monthly fees to maintain an account, the website is easy to use, and funds can be transferred to other accounts.

Discover Bank Savings Account Details

  • Go to Discover Bank Offer
  • Fees: No monthly maintenance fees
  • Credit Pull: Soft Pull from ChexSystems
  • Minimum Deposit Requirement: There is no minimum balance requirement, although there is a $500 initial deposit requirement to open an account.
  • Availability: All 50 states
  • Routing (ABA) number: 031100649
  • Established: August 30, 1911
  • FDIC certificate: 5649

Apply Now

Discover Bank Savings Account Summary

  •  Earn over 5X the National Savings Average1
  • Low $500 minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees
  • Deposits are FDIC insured up to the maximum allowed by law
  • Fund your savings account online from an existing bank account
  • Manage your savings account online or with our mobile banking app
  • Fast and free online money transfers

Capital One 360 Checking Account Review

Capital One 360 checkingCapital One 360, formerly ING Direct, offers a no fee checking account with a competitive interest rate. The account is free to open, has no monthly maintenance fees, and offers interest on the checking account balance. It also offers more than 38,000 free ATMs.

Capital One 360 also has an excellent smartphone app that is easy to use. You can make a deposit by snapping a picture of a check, check balances, or transfer funds from one 360 account to another. I’ve used the smartphone app extensively and found it extremely easy to use.

Capital One 360 Checking Highlights

  • Fees: No hidden fees or minimums as you earn interest on your everyday money
  • ATMs:  38,000 fee-free Allpoint® ATMAutomatic Teller Machines and 2,000 Capital One® ATMs
  • Debit Card:  Free MasterCard® Debit Card for all purchases
  • Credit Pull: According to Capital One 360, they do a “soft” pull (won’t affect your credit score) when you apply for a checking account. However, they do a “hard” pull (may affect your credit score) if you apply for overdraft line of credit.
  • Direct Deposit: Yes
  • Minimum Deposit Requirement: There are no minimum balance requirements
  • Availability: All 50 states

Refer-a-Friend

Capital One 360 pays you when you refer a friend or family member. The current payout is $20 per referral, up to a total of $1,000. In addition, the friend you refer can get up to $50 in bonuses from CapOne360.

While they last, you can take advantage of the following refer-a-friend links to qualify for bonuses when you open an account with Capital One 360:

Capital One 360 Checking: Use this refer-a-friend link to get a $50 bonus on a new checking account, a $25 bonus on a new savings account, a $25 bonus on a kid’s savings account, or a $25 bonus on the Capital One 360 Money account.


A Review of the U.S. Bank Cash+ Credit Card

The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card could be an excellent option if you’re looking for an everyday use cash back card. It’s especially great if your spending doesn’t necessarily fit the traditional cash back categories. With this card, you can actually set your own bonus categories every quarter! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 of purchases in a quarter in two categories of your choice
  • Earn 2% cash back on one everyday spending category of your choice
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else
  • Get a $25 Cash+ Bonus when you redeem $100 or more in a single redemption, up to once per year
  • No limit on total cash back earned
  • No minimum redemption for cash back
  • Zero fraud liability for unauthorized purchases
  • Automatic bill pay that lets you earn rewards faster
  • Travel accident insurance of at least $1,000,000 when you purchase tickets with your U.S. Bank Cash+ Card
  • Free Experian credit score for online banking customers
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR for 6 months on balance transfers

Choosing Your Bonus Categories

The main pull of the U.S. Bank Cash+ card is that you get to choose your bonus categories – within certain limits. Other cash back cards tend to rotate their cash back categories based on seasonal norms. So, for instance, you might get a bonus in the spring at hardware and home decoration stores. But you don’t get to choose those categories.

U.S. Bank Cash Visa

With the Cash+, though, U.S. Bank gives you several categories to choose from each quarter, and you can choose two of them. You have to sign up for the card to get the full list of categories, but they include options like department stores, home improvement stores, hotels, airlines, charitable contributions, bill payments, restaurants, movie theaters, and more.

The Cash+ makes it easy for you to tailor your card’s best cash back bonuses to categories where you’re really going to spend that quarter. Of course, there are still limits, based on what each quarters possibilities are. But this is a good card to go with if other cash back cards’ rotating categories just don’t do it for you.

The Cons

Perhaps the biggest con with this card is that it requires excellent credit to get. It’s not the best cash back card to apply for if you don’t have a really great score. According to Credit Karma, only 18% of cardholders had a credit score of 651-700 when they applied. And a full 37% had a score of over 750 when they applied.

Also, keep in mind that the 5% cash back category is limited to $2,000 of spending on both your categories combined within that quarter. So if you choose home improvement stores and gas stations, for instance, and spend $1,500 at the first and $500 on the second in two months, you don’t get any more 5% bonuses that quarter – even if you keep swiping that card for gas and home improvement store purchases.

The Bottom Line

If you’re not a huge spender or the categories for other rotating-category cash back cards don’t fit you, the Cash+ is a great card to consider. An alternative to check out, though, would be the Chase Freedom®, which has an account opening bonus and a better 0% introductory APR offer.


Choosing YOUR Best Travel Rewards Credit Card

If your goal for your credit card rewards is to earn free travel, you may be wondering where to start. With so many excellent-looking travel rewards credit cards out there, which one is best?

Some cards definitely are better than others. They may offer more bonus rewards, or make it easy for you to cash in your rewards for airline tickets. But which card is best for you depends on factors like current sign-up bonuses, your spending patterns, and if you prefer a certain airline.

So when it comes to choosing a credit card for earning airline miles, do your research. Take a look at the top-rated airline miles credit cards out there, and then decide which card will work best for you. The internet is chock full of tools that can help you make this decision.

Online Calculators Make it Easy

The key to successful credit card use is to not rack up huge balances in order to get rewards. This will just land you with excessive interest charges, which will far outweigh any rewards you’ll gain. So instead of overspending to earn extra rewards, start with a credit card that suits your current spending patterns.

Credit Card Tune Up Find the best credit cards rewards for you 2014

For instance, if you spend next to nothing on office supplies, don’t choose a credit card with major bonuses in that category. If you spend an arm and a leg every month to feed your family of five, choose a card with great grocery rewards.

Luckily, credit card companies make it easy to find out exactly what spending habits they reward most. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for instance, offers 2 points per $1 spent on travel-related purchases. And the US Airways Premier World MasterCard offers 2 points per $1 spent with US Airlines. It’s great if you travel with US frequently.

But you don’t need to go research every single travel rewards credit card to choose one that will work for you. Instead, use an online calculator to help you decide. Calculators like Credit Card Tune-Up and MileCards stay up-to-date on the latest credit card rewards offerings. You just put in your typical monthly spending in various categories, and the calculator will tell you which credit cards fit your lifestyle.

Bonuses Aren’t the End-All, Be-All

When you’re choosing the best mileage credit card for your needs, the everyday, long-term rewards you’ll get from a card should usually outweigh the up-front bonus. Some of those 40,000 mile bonuses are really tempting! And they’re great – if they’re for a credit card that will work well for you on a daily basis.

But unless you’re planning to really pay attention and get good at the credit card churning game, you’ll benefit most from a card’s long-term benefits.

Some Cards to Check Out

Now that you know how to choose a good airline rewards credit card, here are a few options you might consider:

Chase Sapphire PreferredThis popular credit card offers up to 45,000 bonus points (which can be redeemed for miles), plus an automatic 7% Annual Points Dividend on all new points you earned that year – even if you redeemed them. The card offers 2 points per $1 spent on travel and restaurant dining, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, making it a flexible way to earn everyday rewards.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®If you have excellent credit and you’re looking for great overall rewards, this card is a good option. It offers 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases. It also offers a unique 5% miles back when you redeem your miles for travel, which makes each mile redeemed more valuable.

Priceline Rewards Visa: If you already travel a lot and use Priceline, this is a good travel card to have. It gives you 5 points per $1 spent on all Priceline purchases. It also offers 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.