By Mc Nelly Torres
RISMEDIA, January 14, 2009-(MCT)-Denise Soto has begin a way to save money every time she buys gasoline with her acclaim card. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., citizen uses her Costco accolade card, which gives her banknote aback on abundance purchases. And with her American Express card, she earns breadth that she uses to travel.
“Every year, Costco puts some items on sale, and they acquiesce you to use the banknote you becoming to buy them,” said Soto, who is an abettor for a bloom allowance company. “I got a little oven aftermost year and I paid $10.”
Consumers are attractive for means to absorb every dollar wisely as the bread-and-er recession deepens. A contempo analysis by Standard & Poor begin a growing cardinal of Americans are application acclaim cards to buy aliment such as gasoline and advantage while acid aback on affairs luxuries with acclaim cards. And the acclaim agenda industry is aggressively announcement accolade cards alms banknote aback for gasoline purchases and added rewards.
It’s alien if added Americans are application accolade cards than in years past. But a contempo analysis begin that as abounding as 70% of all acclaim agenda affairs accommodate accolade cards, said Brian Riley, analysis administrator for coffer cards at TowerGroup, a analysis close that advance customer acclaim agenda spending.
Experts in the acclaim agenda industry say accolade cards can be a acute advantage to advice amplitude your dollars, but alone if you are accurate about advantageous off your debt every month.
“I anticipate they are a abundant deal,” said Curtis Arnold architect of CardRatings.com, a acclaim agenda allegory site. “And we apperceive that gas prices will apparently be aback up.”
Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com, a website that posts and analyzes acclaim cards, said consumers should accede their affairs and spending habits afore allotment a card.
“The catechism is, which accolade agenda gives you bigger amount for anniversary dollar spent? That’s what you charge to determine,” Hardekopf said.
Howard Dvorkin, architect of Consolidated Acclaim Counseling Services Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, advises consumers to buy gasoline with banknote or debit cards because gas cards tend to accept college ante than acceptable coffer acclaim cards.
Reward or abatement cards, offered by banking institutions and petroleum companies, acquiesce cardholders to accrue credibility in barter for a allowance agenda or banknote back. Savings alter according to the blazon of acclaim card.
Consumer advocates say the best accepted gas abatement cards acquiesce users to administer their credibility to articles added than gasoline-such as groceries-to aerate their earnings.
Here’s a attending at how some of the best accepted cards compare:
– Hess Visa Platinum card: Has an anterior abatement advance that offers a 10% abatement on all Hess gasoline commodity and aliment purchases aural the aboriginal 90 days. But to get the rewards you charge buy gasoline at Hess, Hess Express and Wilco Hess.– Shell rewards card: Issued by MasterCard and Citi Bank, the agenda offers 5% rebates on Shell gasoline and Jiffy Lube purchases. But rebates expire if you don’t redeem them aural 12 months.– Costco TrueEarnings card: Issued by Costco and American Express, the agenda gives holders 3% banknote aback for ammunition purchases including a $25 annual acclaim with the aboriginal purchase. But you charge to be a Costco affiliate to buy gasoline.– Exxon/Mobil abatement card: Issued by MasterCard and Citi, the agenda allows holders to acquire 15 cents aback per gallon.
Doug Miller, a chief analyst at Corporate Insight, a bazaar analysis and consulting firm, said accepted accolade cards are addition advantage because they acquiesce consumers to acquirement gasoline at any gas station-and added items, as well-and acquire rewards. But the cards accept limits.
Discover Open Road offers 5% banknote aback on gasoline and auto aliment purchases and 1% for added purchases.
The Capital One No-Hassle Credibility Rewards allows holders to acquire 2 credibility per dollar spent at grocery stores, gas stations and biologic food and 1 point per dollar on all added purchases.
If you adjudge to get a gas or accolade card, apprehend the accomplished book to accomplish abiding you accept the agreement and altitude for the program. Also be acquainted that some cards crave an anniversary fee. You charge pay the antithesis every ages or, like any acclaim card, you can acquisition your debt overwhelms the benefits.
Make abiding you apperceive how to affirmation your rewards on some cards. Some drop rewards automatically in your account. Others accelerate a allowance card. And some cards crave that you alarm the coffer to redeem rewards. And be acquainted if an cessation date is attached.
Miller said abounding gas cast cards action acceptable deals but crave you to buy gas from baddest gas stations.
“It won’t accord you as abundant flexibility,” Miller said. “But it would accord you a bigger return.”
(Sun Sentinel agents researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.)
© 2009, Sun Sentinel.Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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