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December 29, 2008


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Just a thought for when you review the Schwab card: keep an eye out for brokerage fees. I've heard Schwab's can be prohibitively high unless you have enough invested with them already.

Just a thought for when you review the Schwab card: keep an eye out for brokerage fees. I've heard Schwab's can be prohibitively high unless you have enough invested with them already.

I just opened a Schwab checking as a backup account so I may have to check this one out also.

We already have the chase card and are thinking of adding this one. We would use the Chase for only 3 categories to get 3% and then Schwab for the rest to earn 2% instead of 1%. We don't spend enough to benefit from the American Express.

Schwab's fees are not that high, and their minimum balances are lower than other brokerage houses. Another benefit is their checking account, which (used to) offer high interest rate with no fees and free checks.

I'm curious about the psychology of using rewards cards. Is there evidence that in the attempt to maximize rewards, people purchase more things with their credit card than they would if they were using cash, in a subconscious effort to increase their rewards?

I try to be vigilant about the psychology of personal money management. That's why I only use my current rewards card (still waiting for the Schwab card) for recurring expenses such as groceries and gas, along with purchases that I'm as close to 100% certain I would make anyway, such as repair bills.

Otherwise, I can't be completely sure the purchase I just made wasn't an impulse buy. And of course, my debit card can lead me to do the same thing.

I'm humble enough to recognize I'm vulnerable to these impulses, even if I tell myself I'm smarter than that.

I agree that cash cards are the way to go every time. They allow for more flexibility, more control, and with so many discount sites for airfare and purchases these days, why choose a rewards card? I'm a Chase Freedom guy. I look forward to FMF's AMEX vs. Chase show down!

Good point on the difference between rewards points and actually getting the points. The dollar equivalents on some things are simply ridiculous.

I am lucky to still get the 5% from Chase cash plus card which I heard a few people say that they have been cut back already to 3%
I use that for Gas,Grocery & Drugs.
I also use the Chase Freedom for 3 other categories to get 3% Telecommunications • Cable & Utilities All set to auto pay direct every month.
Also the best I have found for all other purchases is the FNBO card which gives 2% for the first year of the card.(must have savings with them)
All cash back rewards are the best option for me.

The only exception for me is Citi's Thank You points. 20,000 points can get me a $400 domestic flight ticket while only redeeming $200 in gift cards. Just do a personal analysis for yourself I say.

rwh - I only use the card for things I would purchase anyway, although I do use it instead of cash on some occasions. Also, if we are somewhere with friends and one person has to pay with the card and the other pays them back, I offer to be the one who pays to get the reward. But I wouldn't do this if I didn't have reliable friends, or as often without the card.

I have been trying to figure this out for our family...any advice would be great. We use our citibank american airlines CC for almost everything to get points since we fly to Australia every year. We fly American/Qantas and have managed to get 3 free flights over the last 4 or so years. Flights are worth about $1450 (or more) each. We usually spend between $1500-$2000 a month on our credit card (though I would like to reduce this) and we pay it off every month. The majority of our purchases are food (grocery and dining out), gas, diapers, toiletries/household items.

Is there a card out there that I could get more than what I am getting in airline rewards? If so, I would just take the cash back and put it in our 'travel savings' and have more flexibility on airlines...though I do love Qantas! Thanks for any advice!

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