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January 24, 2007


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I got a Sony card last month and got $150 card credit after the first charge and payment cycle. I was looking to see if they still offered it and found this $100 card credit offer.

Hope this helps you in your endeavors.
One thing I have never done is apply for a card in my name and than apply again in my husband's name, thus getting two cards and two rewards. I wonder if that would work or would they see what I was doing?

Great post. I'd add that when looking at rewards cards you need remember to watch out for annual fees. Some "rewards" programs try to sneak in annual fees.
I've noticed that a great place to get a cash incentive (#3 above) is in Parade Magazine (or another weekly magazine that comes in your Sunday paper). Chase almost always advertises a $50 incentive on a rewards card.

Note that the "One from American Express" card listed above with a $50 incentive has a $35 annual fee after the first year.

I've always wanted to do something like this but I wasn't sure what you do with the account after you've opened it and gotten the reward? Do you leave it open indefinitely? Do you close it right away? Are there usually any fees with closing an account? How long does it take to repair your credit score?

Omar --

Those are good questions. As I said, the credit score was never a big deal to me so I never paid attention to it -- you'll need to get some thoughts on that elsewhere.

As for how long to leave them open -- I usually closed mine in three months or so and never had a penalty of any kind. Some of them required a first purchase to get the reward and if you consider the timing needed to be awarded the card, get it, charge on it, get the first bill, then get the reward, three months is a reasonable length to get everything completed anyway.

I earned a little over $500 in 2006 with the Citi Diamond Rewards card. It's great for the first year because they pay 5% for gas, grocery and drug store purchases. But after the first year, I think it reverts to 1% for everything. I guess I'll be shopping for a new rewards card soon! :-)

How about this for earning extra cash.... I travel a ton with my job. I always travel on southwest airlines. I basically earn a free flight every 8 weeks, sometimes faster. I make it known to all of my friends that I keep flights in the bank and that if they are looking to save on airfare on last minute flights or on vacation flights that they should give me a call. I always charge less than the posted airfare and usually make it worth their while.

I earned over $2000 last year. I am using the oney to help pay off debt. That is even better than the credit card that pays you money back. I am thinking of getting a southwest credit card to earn even more.

Another way to earn a bit of cash by way of credit cards is via 0% balance transfers.

Most credit card companies will transfer the money to your personal bank account when you provide the account and rounting numbers. The best case scenerio is no transfer fees. This usually comes with new cards only. Right now I do not want to open new accounts so I use my current accounts and I have gotten 0% from cards I already have. I have even gotten .99% and 1.0% APR balance transfers from old accounts. Some have fees like 3% for the transfer fee. This is where you must be diligent. If there is a decent cap like $29, $75 or even $99 and the math works in your favor I say, "Go for it!" It all works out when the math is right.

Have the money deposited into a high yield interest rate account like Emigrant Direct (5.05%) or ING Direct (4.50%). The other thing you can do to take things a step further is to take most of the money, all that is not needed to pay the monthly minimum, and put that cash into a CD account. Timing is everything. You must be aware of when the 0% transfer rate ends and make sure your CD maturity date ends before that. Indymac has great CD rates. ING Direct now has interest bearing internet checking that offers free bill pay. I used it to pay the monthly credit card minimums in a timely, efficient manner. It's very easy. The interest rate is 4% to 5.30% depending on the balance.

All this money is taxable. I say if you have all that credit available to you, you may as well earn a bit of extra cash towards your goal if you are so inclined. I added over $700 net to my goal last year beginning in June and ending in December. I am doing it again this year and hope to add at least $950 net to the goal.

It may seem a bit complicated, but for those of you who like a bit of a challenge and like seeing the money come in rather effortlessly once things are set up, I say, "Welcome to the club and good luck."

I think some cards allowe you cash like $500 a month, can you use that money and put it in a Money Market for two weeks? Don't know if that is legal or not.

There's more ways than that. You can sometimes get credit for trying to cancel your card. This article (and comments) has a few things to say about that -

One idea I'm not sure is legal or not is creating a fictional bank, and using something like Google Checkout (with no transaction fees this year) to charge your own credit card for $100,000,000. Then getting 1% cashback would make you a millionaire :-)

Another one is charging less than $2 to your unused credit cards (see article to see if your bank has this "feature") and then your bank will credit it to you instead of sending you the statement.

As MJ said, I think balance transfers are the best way to make a profit with credit cards.

I ended up having about $150,000 in available credit that I was able to transfer interest free for a year. After that I just stuck it in a high interest bank and cleared about $7500 last year.

@ tylerparke Bah!! You're post is the first I've heard about this, and it's January 27th.

Too late.

Hi: Has anyone had luck charging money orders at a grocery store?

I've been following jp's advice since mid-2008 and it really works! Let me share with you one experience I had last November: I was running short of money in my personal bank account, when suddenly I received via regular mail an offer from my already existing FIA Card Services CC "1.99% APR for 1 year in balance transfers". Since my CC's credit line was of $22,900 and they allowed me to put that money in my bank account, I called FIA and asked them to put $22,000 in it. Of course, one thing that I had to keep an eye on was the fact that the transfer fee was 3% with no limit! For this transaction they were going to charge $660 which of course is a big number. I tried to negotiate that number and they gave me a $300 credit, therefore they only charged me $360 which now it was decent. Once they put the $22k in my bank account, my balance was now accruing a 3.25% APR interest (from 1.00% that was before). In a typical month I was paying aprox $34-$35 in finance charges, but my acct was earning aprox $55 in interests (good business, isn't it?). I continued in this way until it happened the unexpected 2 months ago: Since my credit score is excellent (700+) I received via mail a CC offer from another bank offering me a $27,600 credit line with a 0% APR for 1 year in balance transfers. However this one didn't allow to put money in your acct (it was interpreted as a cash advance). So, when they approved this new card, what I did was to transfer the $21,000+ from FIA to the new one (they only charged me $10 for the whole transfer) and now I am at a point in which I'm earning $80+ in interests with no finance charges at all!!! What I'm planning to do in a near future is to take again another $22,000 from FIA into my bank acct (and ask again for the $300 credit, of course) until October 2009. At that point I should expect to gain aprox. $155/month in interests, only paying aprox. $35 in finance charges. My two advises if you want to do this are the following: (1) To keep in mind that this affects your FICO score since your amount of debt will rise too high; (2) Since you'll be paying the minimum qty required every month, make sure you pay it completely once the offer is over!!

This is a very bad idea. Most every card requires you to pay an annual fee.

Cliff --

That is NOT TRUE. I've never paid an annual fee on any of the cash back credit cards I've used.

JC's strategy of cash advances is unlikely to work today, given near-zero bank and money market rates, minus the income taxes on the interest not mentioned, and the balance transfer fees are significant unless you are very, very lucky. Example: 3% BT fee, nontaxdeductible, earn 0.6% taxable and break even in about 7 years (plug in your own numbers.) Take on more risk, say munis or longer-term junk bonds, and you may seem to do better until the chickens come home to roost (as happened to the banks in 2008.)

Whoever wrote this article must've learned what hard pulls are after he applied like a maniac

My experience is that if you only apply for pre-approved cards, they don't do a hard pull at all. They do a soft pull before they send you the offer and then another soft pull to make sure nothing has changed when you apply. I don't know if that's always true, but my last several applications for pre-approved cards all resulted in soft pulls and no ding to my credit score.

Another strategy: If you get a great credit card offer, don't apply for it right away. Many credit card companies will send you the same offer every couple of weeks with a different unique application code each time. Save them all. Then start applying for them as their deadlines approach. This will allow you to get several of the same card, which is handy if they have sign-up bonuses.

What a stupid, stupid post....

You are not making money off of credit card rebates. You are getting a discount off your purchase price.

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