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November 10, 2010


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I've been using my Chase Freedom a lot more since they upped the cash back to 5% on certain types of shopping. It's not as flexible as it once was but it's still a good back-up card to keep handy. E.g., this quarter is 5% back on all grocery and department store purchases up to a max of $1,500. I easily spend that much at those types of stores in three months so I just use that card whenever I buy groceries.

I also noticed that they're offering 10%-30% cashback on products bought online during the "Black Friday" time period. Not a bad deal if you (like me) can't stand going out to the stores.

My wife and I each have a Costco/AMEX card that gives 3% cash back on Gas and Restaurants, 2% back on travel, and 1% on everything else.
We also have the Fidelity/AMEX card that gives 2% cash back on everything.
For merchants that don't take AMEX we have a Fidelity/MasterCard that gives 1.5% back on everything.
Our combined credit limit is $59,200 but we never use anywhere near that and use our Credit Union, free Bill Pay & Checking, to pay our cards off completely every month the day before payment is due.
I have almost no need for cash these days, the only bills I have that don't give me any reward are from our natural gas company, State Farm insurance, and of course all of our taxes (with the exception of car registration fees). I also seldom need to mail anything these days so a book of stamps lasts me months. I also have a 'totally free' checking account at BofA, with no minimum balance, that I only keep because our nearest supermarket has a free ATM and my wife still likes to use cash, or to deposit the very occasional check.

I have the "Schwab" Credit Card and can verify that I received the full 2% cash back in my checking account earlier this month. Hope they keep the 2%.

Limey - you can pay state farm online with a credit card to get the card rewards. That's a big chunk of money. I absolutely put it on the card every time!

I'm based in South Africa and use the Discovery card. It's linked to the same company's life insurance and medical insurance. By going to the gym and generally leading a healthy life, I get a 10% discount on most of my spend on the card. I get a 25% discount on all designated healthy foods at the country's leading supermarket and up to 40% of internatioal flights. It's a pretty awesome concept that rewards you big time for being healthy

Thanks for the information about paying my State Farm policies. I just registered with them online and your tip will save me $28/year because I can now pay with MasterCard. They don't accept AMEX. I have my Homeowner's policy, a Condo policy, an Umbrella policy, and two auto policies with them. Every little bit helps!

Fidelity has a 2% cash back on everything, no mins no maxes. That is my primary card. It sounds like it is similar to the Schwab card everyone is talking about, except you have to deposit the money in a Fidelity account. I also use Discover when spending in their 5% categories. Every quarter they have different categories, but you have to remember to sign up for them, and there is usually a max. Finally, I have a USAA Mastercard which gives me 3% back on gas.

I really like Chase Freedom credit card. I highly recommend anyone looking for a new credit card especially since they are giving $100 free. I also recently signed up for Discover to get free $100. I think it is great time to sign up for these credit cards to reap the benefits. Just be careful as to not increase your credit card debt.

Can someone clarify the type of account the Fidelity card must have as it's rewards recipient? Is it a basic investment account, a 529, an IRA, something else, or do they offer it with many different account types?

FMF: quotes --> "" parentheses--> ()

I have all the 'best' ones--except the Fidelity. Comments:

Blue Cash--Don't use it too much anymore since you have to spend the $6000 to start getting the better tiers, and since the former-Schwab is my main card it's hard to hit $6000. But I like the Amex Wishlist thing, it's fun trying for stuff esp. around Christmastime.

Chase Freedom--I actually had an old rewards card that got upgraded to the Chase Freedom. I don't like the categories because I never feel real sure I know if the merchant falls under the category. Case in point: When the category was airlines/hotels, I booked a hotel/airline package through a hotel website and since they called themselves a 'travel agency' when charging me, I didn't get the big rewards. That's really irritating. When gas is one of the categories, I don't know if they count Sam's Club gas as a real gas station, and that's pretty much the only place I go. Etc., etc.

Schwab/FIA--I hesitate crowing about it because if you don't have it, you can't get it anyway, but I still will. It's simply the greatest. 2% on everything, no maximums, no categories, deposits monthly, and NO foreign transaction fees (typical cards charge 2-3%--insane). I love it, and due to my pessimistic nature I'm certain they are going to pull it at some point. Another great addition since the switch to FIA is they offer the one-time pseudo-account number feature for making purchases online more secure (you tell the credit card the amount, they issue you a one time number and you use that instead of your real number on-line--it's a nice security blanket).

Mike B --

Guess I need a punctuation lesson...

Scwab and Discover have been the best day to day cards. However, I will say that the best card changes based on the ongoing promotion at the time. Just recently I opened a CITI American Airlines card, got my 75,000 miles and will soon close the account. Similarly, one can get around the block (providing appetite for temporary FICO deterioration) and rake in the equivalent of some serious monetary value.

My ABNB credit union ATM card is pretty good. If you use it for 12 transactions per month, the credit union pays me a dividend of 3.25% for my balance up to a $20,000 balance. It's nice getting $50+ dollars per month deposited in my bank account. I only use the ATM for small transactions. For larger transactions, I usually use my Chase Freedom or Citi Professional Card (3% on restaurants, office supply stores).

One that I don't see mentioned as often as I think it should be is the PenFed Visa rewards card, which I recently applied for for cases when AmEx isn't accepted. It seemed a better alternative to the chase freedom card for my spending habits. 5% on gas, 2% supermarket, 1% everthing else. No annual fee, no cap on rewards, and balance is credited to the account each cycle. If outside of military or government, you can get associated membership for a one time $15-20 fee. My initial interest was a pretty good 2.99% used car finance rate, though I have yet to take them up on it.

I was told by Fidelity that the account that receives the cash back from the credit card could not be a Trust account or obviously an IRA account so I opened a joint account in both of our names with just a $2K investment to start, and then when I get some cash in it I just move it into the Trust account where we keep all of our taxable investments. Fidelity's website or Active Trader Pro software allow you to move money instantly between accounts that have the same owners on record.

Amazon has a rewards card through Chase - 3% back on amazon purchases, 2% back on several other categories, 1% back on everything else, $40 sign-up bonus.

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