Gas Rebate Credit Cards Help take the sting out of high gas prices

Dec 13, 2009

Using a credit card to save money really is possible, with wise use of gasoline rebate cards. When you pay your balance in full each month and avoid interest charges, it’s like free money – as long as you aren’t paying an annual fee.

Here’s what to look for when you compare gas cards:

The annual fee, of course. If you travel extensively and the rebate is high, it might be worth choosing a card with a fee. But do the math before you choose.

Next, the amount of the rebate. Cards vary from 1% up to 5% for some station-specific credit cards. And that makes a huge difference! Say you spend $300 per month on gas – which is not at all unusual with today’s prices. A 1% rebate would earn you only $3, but a 5% rebate would bring back $15! Over a year’s time, the difference really adds up.

When choosing your credit card, check to see if rebates apply only to gasoline, or if other expenses will also earn you rebates. Some cards offer 3% on gasoline and 1% on other purchases.

Since brand-specific cards generally pay a higher rebate than others, check to make sure you choose a card that is good at stations where you regularly stop. If the locations are off your beaten path, or if you have to drive a few extra miles to get there, your savings aren’t worth much.

If you do a good deal of cross-country travel for business, you’re probably better off choosing a credit card that will give you a rebate at any gas station – rather than trying to find the right brand in unfamiliar locations.

Next check to see how and when you’ll get your rebates. Will the amount be credited back to your card, or will you get a check in the mail? Can you get your reward any time you choose, or when your rebate reaches a set amount? Or, does the card issuer give all rebates at a certain time each year?

Even though you may intend to pay your balance in full each month, check to see the interest rate you’ll be paying if you have to carry a balance at any time. If the interest rate is high, your rebate for the year could be wiped out in just one month.

If you’re planning a trip that entails extensive car travel, find a gas credit card that offers a greater rebate for the first few months. Some go as high as 10% as an introductory rate, and then drop to the standard 3 to 5 percent. Just be sure to apply in time to get the card before you leave home!

Are you ready to choose? Compare cards today!

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