Credit Card Industry Report

2018 Consumer Credit Card Industry Study

Over the course of a generation, credit cards have become America’s most popular payment method. The average American has six in her wallet. We spend trillions of dollars and take on billions of dollars of debt a year using hundreds of millions of credit cards. Credit card debt has increased almost one-hundred fold since the Federal Reserve began tracking the trend. In fact, last year credit card debt grew by over $92 billion. That’s the biggest credit card debt growth in a single year since the Great Recession and the fifth largest in over 30 years.

Some analysts view this appetite for debt as a financial bubble: a harbinger of the next recession.

Others feel there are good reasons for optimism. Sure. Credit card debt is at a record high, but so is the gross domestic product and unemployment is low. You could make the case that the growth of revolving credit debt — although not great news for the individuals carrying the debt — is indicative of a healthy economy. Delinquency rates are at close-to-historical lows, which is why lenders are not worried and are more than happy to increase the credit lines of cardholders. Naysayers could say that a growth in credit card delinquency followed the last four years credit card debt grew so quickly.

So what is the future for credit cards and what does it say about the economy as a whole. This report will take an in-depth look at the current state of the consumer credit market so you can make your own mind.

A brief history of credit cards

Sumerian credit card

The concept of consumer credit is not a new one. Scholars believe that the first consumer loans were issued in 3,500 B.C. in Sumer. As Dr. Stephen Bertman explains in Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, they even had their own “credit cards.” Except they were cylinder seals and were worn around the neck. The cylinder seals served as a personal guarantee during business deals. If a Sumerian lost his cylinder seal he would record the date and time with an official to prove that transactions made with it after the loss were no longer valid.

But credit cards didn’t come along until the 1920s when department stores and oil companies began offering metal charge plates to their customers to allow them to charge their purchases instead of paying for them upfront.

The modern credit card

In 1950, Frank McNamara took the next step toward the modern credit card when he started Diners Club. With his new company, he introduced the first credit card that was accepted by more than one merchant.

In 1958, well-known companies joined the fray, including American Express, Bank of America, and Carte Blanche. Bank of America marketed its competitor card, BankAmericard, in a publicity stunt called “The Fresno Drop,” where it mailed 60,000 activated credit cards to its Fresno, California-based customers.

The result, as you can imagine, was a flurry of fraudulent transactions and delinquencies. But the bank and its competitors learned from that mistake and continued to develop the industry.

Over the ensuing decades, the credit card industry made leaps and bounds. BankAmericard spun off of Bank of America and became Visa in the 1960s. Around that same time, a group of California-based banks started the Interbank Card Association, which later became Mastercard.

In 1986, Sears introduced the first Discover card, which became the first rewards credit card by offering cardholders a small rebate on purchases. Consumers and the competition caught on and, as we now know, the industry exploded.

Now, several credit cards offer several hundreds of dollars to consumers to entice them to apply. Most recently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve launched in late 2016 offering an impressive $1,500 worth of rewards to new cardholders as a sign-up bonus, setting a new standard.

These incentive programs, along with their general convenience, have catapulted credit cards into the most popular form of payment and credit.

Debit cards are the most popular method of payment

According to a study by TSYS, in 2016 credit cards surpassed debit cards as the most preferred method of payment (source). In 2017 debit cards regained their position as the overall most-popular payment method. Debit cards are preferred for small everyday purchases, while credit cards remain more popular for larger purchases.

Consumers with incomes higher than $75k prefer credit cards

Debit cards are the most popular form of payment for people with annual incomes under $75k. The tide switches with high-income consumers.

Credit cards are also the most popular source of credit

Based on a 2016 report that looked at the types of credit respondents applied for in the last 12 months, credit cards were the most sought-after type of credit.

The average household has six cards and $8,733 in credit card debt

Based on the Federal Reserve data and information from the Census Bureau, American households have an average of $8,733 in credit card debt. This is close to what Experian found in its 2017 State of Credit report, which shows an average balance of $8,195 for conventional credit cards and store cards combined.

Experian also found that consumers have an average of 3.1 credit cards and 2.5 retail cards in their wallet, making it easier to get into debt.

New Jersey is the state with the most credit cards per household

Alaska has the highest average credit card debt

Experian’s report also shows where consumers have the most and least credit card debt. For example, Alaska outpaces the rest of the country with consumers carrying an average balance of $8,515 on credit cards alone (retail cards not included). In contrast, Iowa residents carry $5,155 on average in credit card debt.

The APR on credit card accounts is rising

Credit card interest rates hit a new high of 14.99% in November 2017 (Source). That said, interest rates can vary wildly depending on which type of credit card you have, and it’s possible that this average doesn’t include the type of credit card that typically charges the highest interest rates: store cards. These cards often charge interest rates closer to 25%.

Many credit card issuers offer promotions to appeal to new customers. Specifically, customers can get a 0% APR promotion on either new purchases, balance transfers, or both.

However, consumers should be wary of the fine print. There are two types of 0% APR promotions:

  • Pure 0% APR: With this promotion, you’ll get a period of no interest, after which the interest rate increases. If you have a remaining balance, interest is assessed on the amount that remains from the original purchase or balance transfer. This type is more common with major credit cards that offer balance transfer promotions.
  • Deferred interest: Store cards that offer 0% APR financing often offer this kind of promotion. While there’s a period of no interest, there’s also a set interest rate the card charges if you don’t pay off the purchase in time. The difference is that you’ll be on the hook for interest based on the original purchase amount, not the amount that’s leftover.

The credit card market is bigger than ever

The credit card market is one of the largest consumer financial markets in the United States and it continues to grow a higher rate than the overall economy. Credit card debt is now at pre-recession levels but purchasing volume with credit cards has skyrocketed past previous highs and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Consumers seem to be getting smarter about how they use their credit cards

Credit card purchase volume is increasing dramatically but credit card debt remains stable.

This would indicate that more people are being smart about how they use their credit cards. In other words, more credit card users are paying with credit cards for the rewards and protections, but repaying their balances before incurring interest. However, that doesn’t mean credit card debt is low.

Revolving credit card debt hits an all-time high… but so does GDP

According to the Federal Reserve, Americans have a record amount of credit card debt. In December 2017, that number hit $1.028 trillion. That’s a 5.8% increase from the previous year.

Another source of debt that is growing is tax debt. Read this report for the latest statistics and insights in the tax debt relief industry.

Credit card debt growth is in lockstep with GDP

Some experts consider the new record a warning of things to come, considering the number hit $1.02 trillion in June 2008 as the financial crisis was taking hold. As America tightened its belt, total outstanding debt reached as low as $832.5 billion in April 2011 but has continued a steady rise since then.

However, today’s credit card debt total is about 5% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2008, that number was 6.5%, thus imposing a greater threat to the economy.

Credit card debt is not good for individual consumers long-term financial health. However, you need to look a bit deeper into these statistics to see how concerning it is for the economy as a whole. Total debt in absolute numbers typically grows with the economy, inflation, and population growth. Credit scores are currently very high, and a lower percentage of credit card users carry a balance than they did before the last recession, so the situation is not as concerning as the last time we were at this level of credit card debt.

Delinquency and charge-off rates are at record lows

As mentioned in the introduction, delinquency rates are low. Unusually so. In the final quarter of 2017, only 2.48% of credit card accounts were past due 30 days or more.This is fueling lenders appetite to further increase the credit line of cardholders. On the other hand, although delinquency rates are low they are increasing from the all-time low in 2015, which is concerning when you consider the growth in credit card debt.

Credit card banks are becoming less profitable

Credit card banks have seen a drop in their noninterest income — i.e. fees — and are now required to set aside more provisions for loan losses. This has caused a drop in profitability for major credit card issuers.

Consolidating credit card debt is the top reason borrowers qualify for a loan

SuperMoney generates tens of thousands of personal loan applications per month. The most popular loan reason among borrowers who get a pre-approved loan offer is debt consolidation. Credit card debt consolidation specifically makes up the large majority of debt consolidation loan applications.

Read this in-depth report of the consumer lending industry for the latest statistics and insights on the personal loans market.

The demographics of credit card debt

Let’s provide some context to these household averages by breaking down credit card debt and usage into more meaningful categories.

Families are now more likely to carry a balance on their credit cards but the amounts are smaller

The percentage of families who were carrying a balance on their credit cards came down significantly during and after the financial crisis. This is likely due to high rates of default, a reduction in the supply of credit, and a general sense of caution towards credit products that occurred in this period. However, in recent years we’ve seen that trend start to shoot back up.

The story here is nuanced. The percentage of families that carry credit card debt grew from a minimum of 38% in 2013 to 44% in 2016, but the median value of credit card debt dropped. It seems that more families are carrying a balance on their cards but for smaller amounts.

Couples with children are the most likely to carry a balance but couples without children are the biggest borrowers

Not surprisingly, couples with children are the most likely to carry a balance on their credit cards. However, they have they have the same median value credit card debt as couples without children.

College graduates have the largest credit card debts

Household heads with some college education are the most likely to carry a balance but those with a college degree owe nearly twice as much in credit card debt. A similar pattern appears when you look at the occupation of the family head.

Consumers working technical, sales or service jobs are more likely to carry a balance but managers and professionals owe $1.5k more

When looking at the data broken down by occupation, when the family head is in a managerial profession they are less likely to carry a credit card balance. But the balances they carry tend to be almost twice as high someone in a technical, sales, or service occupation.

Wealthier consumers are less likely to carry a balance but when they do the amounts are much larger

Income seems to be driving force behind this pattern, as the following graphs continue to show. Middle-class consumers are more likely to carry a balance than the 90+ percentile earners (53% vs. 20%) but the credit card debt balance is also $1.3k less, on average.

Self-employed workers are the biggest borrowers but they’re less likely to carry a balance than employees

Access to credit is another important factor. Lower-income consumers, especially the unemployed, are less likely to get approved and when they do the credit lines are typically low. Which explains why low income and unemployed consumers are the less likely to carry a balance. The issue of access to credit is also illustrated by the data on self-employed versus employees. All things being equal, self-employed workers are less likely to qualify for a credit card. Employees are more likely to have a balance on their credit card (50% vs. 46%) but their average debt amounts are lower.

Homeowners have larger credit card debt amounts and are more likely to carry a balance

Your credit score is a key predictor of access to credit. This is well illustrated by the differences between renters and homeowners. Renters are more likely to be younger consumers with lower incomes (source) and lower credit scores. They are also more likely to carry a balance (46% vs. 40%) and for larger amounts ($3k vs $1.3k).

Hispanics and African Americans are more likely to carry a balance on their credit cards but White cardholders are the biggest borrowers

Sadly, race is still a predictor of income and credit score disparities (source). This is also reflected in credit card usage and debt data. Hispanics and African Americans are more likely to have a balance on their credit card than White non-Hispanic consumers but the average credit card debt of White consumers with a balance is much higher ($2.7k vs. $1.7k and $1.4k).

Country folk and city slickers share their love for credit card debt and are equally likely to carry a balance

Credit card usage and debt do not vary much between urban and rural consumers, but it wasn’t always like that.

Millennials wisely trail behind their seniors in credit card debt

Generation X has the most credit card debt, according to the Experian report, followed by baby boomers and the silent generation. As irresponsible as Millennials are sometimes described, they come in fourth followed by generation Z, which doesn’t yet have good access to credit.

Here’s a breakdown of the average credit card debt for each generation:

Millennials prefer debit over credit cards

Millennials tend to prefer debit over credit, according to several polls taken over the past few years. For example, Chime Bank found that of 70% of Millennials would rather use a debit card for their purchases.

Part of this can be attributed to the world that Millennials grew up in. In 2008, when the financial crisis hit, consumer debt hit a staggering 127% of disposable income. So, while it’s easy to blame the big banks for causing the Great Recession, Millennials know that their parents also had a hand in the crisis.

Another reason for this is the student loan crisis that seems to continue to get worse. According to the Pew Research Center, the median student debt burden for bachelor’s degree holders is $25,000. And postgraduate degree holders are on the hook for $45,000.

With such a high student loan balance at graduation, it’s no wonder Millennials are afraid to add to it.

The majority of Americans have great credit

Credit limits are determined by your credit score but there is some wriggle room

If you’re applying for a new credit card, there’s no guarantee what your credit limit will be. Unlike with other loan types, credit card companies don’t share this information upfront. But according to the American Bankers Association (ABA), you might be able to estimate how much you qualify for based on your credit score.

Based on data gathered from the credit card industry, the ABA found the following average credit limits on new accounts based on VantageScore ranges:

  • Super prime (781 to 850 credit score): $10,396
  • Prime (661 to 780 credit score): $5,692
  • Subprime (500 to 600 credit score): $2,566

Keep in mind that some lenders are willing to give higher credit lines than others. If you don’t get the credit limit you need, consider calling and requesting a credit line increase. Some issuers, like Capital One, even offer automatic credit limit increases on their cards targeted to people with bad or average credit.

There’s a new set of credit card priorities. Forget balance transfer options. Show me the rewards.

The rewards offered by credit cards are increasingly important to users. Balance transfer options and card brand, on the other hand, are becoming less important to consumers.

While some personal finance experts, including money guru Dave Ramsey, consider credit cards to be a one-way ticket to debt town, data shows that the majority of credit card holders don’t carry a balance.

According to the ABA’s Credit Card Market Monitor, just 43.7% of credit card holders are considered “revolvers,” meaning they carry a balance from month to month. The Federal Reserve found similar data in a 2016 report when it reported that 46% of adults with a credit card reported that they were carrying a balance.

In contrast, the ABA states that 29.1% of credit card holders are “transactors,” meaning they pay off their balances in full each month, and 27.2% are “dormants” who didn’t use their credit cards at all in the previous quarter.

Prepaid debit cards compete with credit cards, particularly among Millennials

Because Millennials continue to shy away from credit cards, prepaid debit cards have emerged as an alternative payment method. In 2006, prepaid cards accounted for 3.3 billion transactions. In 2015, that number was 10.6 billion.

Some prepaid debit cards have even started to offer credit card-like perks, to entice consumers to make the switch. For example, the American Express Serve Cash Back offers 1% cash back on every purchase you make. Others have started to offer benefits like purchase and price protection, perks that previously were reserved only for credit card holders.

Debit and prepaid cards are a simple way to avoid debt, which explains their popularity among those who grew up during the Great Recession and credit crisis. However, if you can keep your impulse spending in check and you’re responsible with your finances, consider credit cards, if only as a way to build their credit and qualify for a future home or auto loans.

What does this all mean for the future of credit cards and credit card debt?

It’s impossible to know for sure how the credit card industry will change in the future. There are, however, some indicators worth considering.

In the short term, credit card usage and debt will continue to grow

Credit cards are the most popular source of credit and payment method. We are currently in a golden age for credit card users with prime credit scores. Credit card issuers want to maximize on low delinquent rates and the growth of credit card purchasing volume and are aggressively courting power users with generous signup bonuses, rewards, and perks.

Growth may become unsustainable if interest rates and credit card debt continue to rise

Interest rates are rising which could put pressure on consumers who carry a balance. The credit card debt growth and the recent uptick in delinquency rates may be partially due to this.

Credit card usage may plateau as Millennials grow older

Millennials are not as enamored with credit cards as previous generations. If this attitude continues, credit cards may lose ground to debit cards and mobile payment options as Millennials gain a more dominant position in the market.

For now, credit cards remain the best option for consumers with prime credit scores who are good at managing their finances and can resist the urge to overspend. It’s hard to compete with a payment method that offers generous rewards and large signup bonus for simply buying the stuff you regularly purchase.

Click here to learn about the best deals currently available in the credit card market and compare offers side-by-side.

If you’re applying for a new credit card, you typically won’t be able to start using it immediately upon approval. And depending on your application and the issuer, you may not even get approved right away.

But if you’re planning to make a big purchase or you want to score a big sign-up bonus for an upcoming vacation, you’ll want to know how long you can expect to wait before you get your card and if there’s anything you can do to speed up the process.

Let’s take a look.

How long does it usually take to get approved for a credit card?

“Issuers who have automated the process can provide you an answer to your application almost instantaneously,” says Aaron Aggerwal, assistant vice president of credit card products at Navy Federal Credit Union.

For smaller banks and credit unions, however, Aggerwal notes that the process can take anywhere between five and 10 days at most. Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a “yes” or “no” immediately.

“If your application has flags, such as fraud incidents or if your credit score needs a closer look,” says Aggerwal, “it could go to pending and will likely need to be reviewed manually.”

If this happens, it could take anywhere between 10 and 30 days to find out what’s going on. One way around this is to call the credit card issuer directly through their application status line.

In many cases, you can speak with a credit analyst who can either give you a decision over the phone or let you know what the issuer needs to complete your application.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

“Once you’ve been approved, it could take anywhere from seven to ten business days to receive your new credit card,” says Aggerwal. “If you have an urgent need, some issuers offer the option for express delivery.”

To help you get a better idea of what to expect, we’ve put together a list of the seven top credit card issuers and how long you’ll have to wait to before getting your new credit card from them.

We also checked for replacement card shipping times in case you lose yours or it gets stolen.

1) American Express

Platinum and Delta-branded cards receive rush delivery (two to three business days) for new cards. But all other American Express cards take at least seven to 10 business days for delivery.

For some cards, American Express offers to give you a temporary account number when you get approved if you apply online. This makes it possible for you to use the card for online purchases immediately. American Express will expedite replacement cards if you ask.

Check out the 5 best American Express credit cards

2) Bank of America

Bank of America doesn’t expedite new cards, so you’ll have to wait for seven to 10 business days to get your card in the mail. You can, however, request rush delivery on replacement cards and get your card in just a few days.

Here are the 6 best Bank of America credit cards

3) Barclaycard

You can get overnight delivery, but the issuer will charge you a fee for the convenience of up to $30. If you don’t opt for overnight delivery, expect to wait as long as two to three weeks to get your card.

Barclaycard will expedite a replacement card if it finds fraud on your account. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the overnight delivery fee to get it sooner than seven to 10 business days.

4) Capital One

Capital One doesn’t expedite new cards. Instead, you’ll get your card within seven to 10 business days. It does offer rush delivery on replacement cards, but you have to pay a $16 fee to get it. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait four to six business days.

Discover the best Capital One credit cards

5) Chase

The issuer will expedite your new card if you ask, unless extra verification is required. They’re not clear on what this means, though, so you might not have much control over it. If you can’t get your card expedited, you’ll receive it within seven to 10 business days. Chase will expedite replacement cards upon request.

Check out the 5 best Chase credit cards

6) Citibank

Citi doesn’t offer rush delivery, but its regular shipping method is slightly faster than most of the major issuers. You’ll get new cards in five to seven business days. The issuer may expedite a replacement card if you ask.

Here are the best Citi credit cards

7) Discover

Discover breaks with other major credit card issuers by sending all its new cards via priority mail, so you’ll get it in three to five days. The issuer also always expedites replacement cards, and you can expect to get yours within 24 to 48 hours.

Learn more about the best Discover credit cards 

Keep in mind that these are all guidelines and there may be situations where you can get an exception. So, if you’re in a bind, it never hurts to call the issuer directly and ask. Feel free to explain your situation to solidify your case, and consider asking to speak with a supervisor if you need to. As is the case any time you call customer service, you’re more likely to get a positive result when you’re polite and respectful.

Which is the fastest credit card issuer?

Discover is the fastest major credit card issuer. It sends all cards in three to five days. Replacement credit cards arrive in one or two days.

Give yourself enough time

If you have a large purchase coming up and want to finance it with a 0% APR promotion, or you’re planning a vacation and want to earn a sign-up bonus to help you pay for it, start making a plan in advance.

Take a look at your timeline and consider how long it might take for you to get approved and get the card in the mail.

And if you need your card faster, consider getting one from a lender that offers faster shipping times so you’re not waiting by the mailbox for too long. Also, remember that “business days” always excludes holidays and weekends.

As you shop around for a credit card, keep all of these things in mind to make sure that you get the right card at the right time.

What is a credit card CVV

Unless you work in the credit card industry, chances are you don’t know a lot about the plastic you carry around every day in your wallet. But understanding how credit cards work can help you better manage your spending, protect your sensitive information, and take advantage of credit card perks.

To help you get started on the right foot, here are answers to the top 10 credit card questions you’re too embarrassed to ask.

1. What is a credit card CVV?What is a cvv or a cid

One way that credit card issuers protect your card’s security is through the CVV code.

“These three- and four-digit codes provide extra security when authenticating transactions when the credit card isn’t present, such as phone or internet purchases,” says Jason Steele, a credit card expert and journalist.

There are actually two different CVV codes:

  • CVV1: This code is embedded into the card’s magnetic stripe.
  • CVV2: This code is printed on the card, and you’ll typically get asked for it when paying for something over the phone or online.

Since the CVV2 code is printed on the card, an identity thief can’t make those kinds of purchases if they just steal the information from your magnetic strip.

American Express cards also have a 4-digit security code on the front of the card.

2. How does my credit card know which rewards to give me?

If you have a rewards credit card that offers bonus categories, you may be wondering how the credit card issuer knows when you’ve made bonus purchases.

This is done through merchant category codes (MCCs). Each merchant has an MCC based on their primary business when their code is established.

MCCs are then grouped into different categories, such as groceries, travel, or gas. So, when you use your credit at a Kroger, HEB, or Trader Joes, your card issuer knows that you made a purchase at a grocery store. It then posts your rewards accordingly.

3. How many credit cards should you have?

There’s no right answer to this question. Rather, it’s based on your ability to manage your credit.

“I think that it’s important to have at least two or three credit cards to build your credit history and take advantage of the benefits offered by different cards,” says Steele.

“However, you should never have more than you can responsibly manage. Those who can’t pay their bills on-time and control their debt should use other forms of payment.”

Yes, that means that, for some people, having no credit cards at all is the best choice.

4. Do I need to carry a balance to build credit?

The answer to this question is a resounding no. Your payment history, which is the most important factor in your FICO and VantageScore credit scores, is based on whether or not you make your monthly payments on time.

The credit bureaus don’t register how much you paid and whether it was a full or partial payment. As a result, the only one who benefits from you carrying a balance each month is the credit card issuer.

Do yourself a favor and pay your balance on time and in full each month.

5. How does a secured credit card work?

“A secured card works much like any other credit card, except you must submit a refundable security deposit before your account can be opened,” says Steele. “But after your account is open, your card will work just like any other credit card.”

With most secured cards, your credit limit is equal to your initial security deposit and you can usually add more deposits to increase your limit.

The credit card issuer uses the security deposit as collateral in case you default on your payments, and you’ll typically get it back when you close the account in good standing.

6. How do I close my credit card?

It depends on the issuer, but you can usually cancel your credit card simply by calling the number on the back of the card.

You may want to do this if you’ve just paid it off and don’t want the temptation, or the card charges an annual fee and it’s not worth keeping.

Keep in mind, however, that there are some situations when canceling a credit card is a bad idea. Make sure you understand the negative impact of canceling your card so you don’t hurt your credit.

7. How do cash advances work?

Most credit cards allow you to convert some of your available credit to cash through an ATM or at a bank teller counter. For the most part, however, this is a bad idea.

“Most cash advances incur a higher interest rate and have no grace period, so you can’t avoid interest by paying your statement balance in full,” says Steele. “Also, you can be charged a cash advance fee, which may be $10 or 5%, whichever is higher.”

Consider other options for quick cash before you opt for a cash advance.

8. How do I avoid overspending with my credit card?

Popular personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey recommend avoiding credit cards at all costs. But for most people, credit cards aren’t the problem; lack of spending discipline is.

If you want to avoid overspending with your credit card, it’s important to create and maintain a monthly budget. Set spending goals and keep track of your spending so you don’t exceed them.

As you do this, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding credit card debt now and in the future.

9. Can you use a credit card to buy a money order?

“You can only purchase a money order with cash, and sometimes with a debit or prepaid card,” says Steele.

In some situations, you may be able to buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card with your credit card, then use that gift card to buy a money order. But doing so is against your credit card agreement, so it’s not advisable.

10. What’s with the chip on my credit card?

The magnetic strip on the back of your credit card contains static information about your credit card. As a result, it’s vulnerable to fraudsters.

The chip on the front of your card, which is called an EMV chip, helps secure your card information. Its data is dynamic in that, every time you use the card, it gives a unique token to process the payment.

If an identity thief stole that token information, it would no longer work because it’s for one use only. Of course, it’s not foolproof, but it can help protect you from becoming a victim of fraud.

Conclusion

The more you know about your credit card, the better. That’s why we’ve created an easier and quicker way to find the right information so that you can be confident you’re making the right decision.

If you’re considering getting a new credit card, take a look at SuperMoney’s credit card review page to see which cards are best for your needs. You’ll be able to read reviews and quickly compare rates side-by-side.

The more time you spend understanding each available option, the easier it will be to get the most out of your card.

Can you buy a car with a credit card?

Can You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?

Can you buy a car with a credit card? Yes, but you have to know how to do it right or it could cost you. This guide will explain how to buy a vehicle with a credit card without getting burned.

If you’re like me, you’ll do anything to rack up credit card rewards. Whether it’s cash back or travel, there’s nothing like getting money from your credit card company for your everyday spending.

So, if you’ve ever bought a car, you may have wondered, “Can you use a credit card to buy a car?” The short answer is: sort of. But just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.

To illustrate, here are a couple of stories of doing it right and then doing it wrong.

How to earn credit card rewards with your car down payment

When my wife and I bought our new family car in 2016, we had a few thousand dollars saved up for a down payment. But when we talked with the salesperson about making that payment, I had to ask: Can we buy this car with a credit card?

It turns out, the dealership allowed credit card payments up to $3,000, which is exactly how much we’d saved for our down payment. So, I put the down payment on the card, earned $60 in rewards, then paid off the card the next day with the cash we had saved.

And that’s the thing: Car dealerships typically don’t allow you to pay for the whole car with a credit card. The main reason is that the dealership is on the hook for the merchant fee, which eats into their profits. For example, if you buy a $20,000 car and the merchant fee is 2%, the dealer loses $400 in profits on the transaction.

But some dealerships may be willing to accept a credit card for a portion of your payment, so be sure to ask what you can do, and only use your credit card for an amount that you can afford to pay off immediately.

How not to earn credit card rewards with your car down payment

Tyler Philbrook, a 27-year-old personal finance blogger from Clearwater, Florida, had the same experience, but with a slight twist.

“My experience with using a credit card was also my first experience financing a car,” he says. The dealership he used accepted his credit card for a $1,000 down payment, and he had enough cash to pay it off.

“I had originally planned on just paying the card off with the cash,” says Philbrook, “but young foolishness led me to instead use the cash for other things.”

What’s worse, Philbrook ended up making just the minimum payment on his card and kept using it until it was maxed out. With a 23% interest rate, he paid far more than he ever earned in interest from his purchases, especially the car down payment.

“To pay that off took me about a year,” says Philbrook. “If I could go back, I would either pay the credit card off the same second I ran it at the dealership, or just use the cash in the first place. If I were to give advice, it would be to do that– either pay it off the same day or use the cash in the first place.”

Don’t let credit card rewards blind you

Earning credit card rewards is an exciting venture. But if you let it cloud your judgment, you’ll end up worse off in the end.

As a result, you should only buy a car with a credit card when:

  1. You have enough cash on hand to pay off the balance, and you have the discipline to do so.
  2. The dealership allows credit card payments.
  3. The dealership doesn’t charge a fee to make a credit card payment (this is uncommon but still ask).

If you’ve got these three things covered, you’re in good shape. In fact, you may even want to apply for a new credit card to use the payment to get a big sign-up bonus.

Apply for the card far enough in advance that you’ll receive it before you head to the car dealership.

If you do it right, you’ll get your new car and a big fat sign-up bonus to help you pay for your next vacation or whatever else you want (if it’s cash back).

Shop around and compare top credit cards to find your best rate today.

Goodyear Credit Card

It seems that every retailer has its own credit card, and the Goodyear credit card is no exception. But if you’re like most people, you don’t shop for tires very often, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to apply for a credit card for such a rare purchase.

However, if you frequently buy tires from Goodyear as part of a business or for some other reason, the card’s benefits might be worth it.

Goodyear credit card benefits

The Goodyear credit card doesn’t offer any rewards, but it does offer other special benefits to cardholders, including:

  • Get tire and installation savings available to cardholders only
  • Receive special financing on purchases of $250 or more — that’s six months or longer with no interest
  • Get extra savings when you buy tires online
  • Get $5 off every time you use your card to pay for an oil change at Goodyear
  • Receive free tire rotation
  • Receive special rebate offers in the mail
  • Pay no annual fee

I can buy a lot more tires when I have time to pay them off interest-free. It means I can have more tires in stock and get the customers in and out faster.”

For most people, these benefits aren’t very appealing, especially if you can qualify for a traditional rewards credit card. But for Jack Wyatt, who owns an auto repair shop in Pennsylvania, the card gives his business time to float his tire purchases.

“I can buy a lot more tires when I have time to pay them off interest-free,” says Wyatt. “It means I can have more tires in stock and get the customers in and out faster.”

Things to watch out for

The biggest benefit of this card is the special financing offer, especially if you regularly spend a lot on tires. The trick, however, is that the offer is a deferred interest promotion rather than a true 0% APR offer.

This means that, if you don’t pay off the purchase in full before your promotional period ends, you’ll end up paying interest from the date of the original purchase rather than on the amount that remains.

If you make a mistake or something unexpected happens and you can’t pay off the balance, the added interest could hurt your wallet.

Also, Goodyear touts on its website that you can use your card to get cash at an ATM. But if you read the fine print, you’ll notice that there’s a cash advance fee of 5% or $10, whichever is greater.

What’s more, there’s no grace period on cash advances like there is with regular purchases. This means that interest will begin accruing immediately.

In other words, a cash advance isn’t a great idea regardless of which credit card you use.

Is the Goodyear credit card right for you?

The Goodyear credit card can be easy to get if your credit isn’t stellar. “My credit was in bad shape when I got the Goodyear card,” says Wyatt. “I don’t think anyone else would’ve given me a second look, so I was happy to get approved.”

But there are plenty of other good credit cards for bad credit that offer rewards on all of your purchases. And if your credit is good or excellent, you’ll have a good chance of getting approved for one of the top rewards credit cards.

Not only can you get cash back or travel with these cards, but also extra benefits like purchase protection, extended warranties, rental car insurance, and more.

If you’re like Jack Wyatt, however, and spend a lot of money on tires, the card’s promotional financing might just be worth the card’s drawbacks. Just make sure you pay off your purchases before the promotional period ends. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a big interest charge.

To find out more and apply for the Goodyear credit card, check out SuperMoney’s review page of the card. Also, check out other personal credit cards and business credit cards to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card

If you’re trying to think of different ways you can rack up credit card rewards, you may have wondered how to pay your mortgage with a credit card. After all, that’s probably your biggest monthly expense, and you’re going to have it for years to come.

While it’s possible to pay your mortgage with a credit card, it can get a little complicated and expensive, and it’s not always advisable.

Read on to learn what options you have and how to know if it’s worth it.

How to pay your mortgage with a credit card

“It’s not common for lenders to allow you to make your mortgage payment with a credit card,” says Patti Geroulis, a credit card rewards expert at The Travel Sisters. “Most do not offer that option.”

There are, however, ways to get around that fact, including third-party services and what Geroulis calls “manufactured spending.”

Third-party services

“There’s at least one third-party service that allows you to pay your mortgage with a credit card,” says Geroulis. “And that’s Plastiq.”

Plastiq is a service that allows you pay your mortgage and other bills with a credit card. The caveat is that there’s a flat fee of 2.5% for each transaction.

What’s more, the service only accepts Mastercard and Discover for mortgage payments, so you’re out of luck if you have a Visa or American Express card.

Depending on the card you have, though, it could be worth it. For example, the Discover it® Miles card offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent but doubles your miles for the first year.

So, you’re essentially getting 3% back and paying 2.5%, giving you a profit of 0.5%. That’s not a lot — $7.50 for a $1,500 mortgage payment — so it may not be worth the effort. But a profit is a profit.

But if your credit card earns less than 2.5%, you’d be paying more than you’d get back in rewards, so it’s never worth it to use Plastiq in this case unless you’re working on meeting the minimum spending requirement for a sign-up bonus.

“Another pitfall is the length of time that it takes for the lender to receive your payment,” says Geroulis.  “Depending on the payee, sometimes Plastiq sends payments electronically and sometimes by check which takes longer.

If paying your mortgage with Plastiq, you need to schedule your payment early enough that the bank receives it by the due date.”

Manufactured spending

Manufactured spending is essentially the process of turning credit card spending into cash, which you can turn around and use to pay off the credit card. The most popular way to do this is to use your credit card to buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card.

Here’s how that works:

  • Buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card with your credit card, usually with a fee around $5 or $6 per card.
  • Use that card as a debit card to buy a money order at a retailer or the post office, usually with a fee of $1 or less.
  • Deposit the money order in the bank or take it to the bank to pay your mortgage.
  • Pay off the credit card before the due date to avoid interest.

The problem with this method is that it can be tricky. For example, some retailers don’t allow you to buy money orders with a gift card, and some may limit how much you can buy.

Also, while this process isn’t illegal, it can raise red flags at the bank if you do it frequently. For example, one credit card rewards expert was detained by the police for high-volume manufactured spending.

It’s also important to note that doing this is against the terms of your credit card agreement. Your credit card company could technically close down your account if it senses what you’re doing.

So, only do this if you feel comfortable understanding the pitfalls.

Other monthly payments

Your mortgage isn’t the only monthly payment you may want to pay with a credit card. Here are a few others you might be wondering about.

Can I use a credit card to pay my student loans?

There are no student loan servicers that we know of that take credit cards for your monthly payment. You can use Geroulis’ idea about buying gift cards and converting them to money orders.

But that strategy typically isn’t as beneficial with small amounts, so it might not be worth it for your student loan payment.

Can you pay your utility bill with a credit card?

Most utility companies allow you to use a credit card to make your monthly payment. But some, especially smaller companies, may charge you a fee.

If this is the case, the fee is normally more than you’d earn in rewards from making the payment. So, it’s likely not worth it. But check with each of your utility companies to see if you can make fee-free credit card payments.

Can you use a credit card to pay your rent?

It depends on your landlord and which service they use to take payments. Some may take credit cards for a fee, and you may even be able to drive down that fee percentage by paying more than one month at a time.

You can also use a third-party company like Plastiq to make your payments, but those fees are a flat percentage and more than you’d get in rewards.

If you’re lucky, your landlord will use a property management company that allows you to make credit card payments for free. But this is a rare occurrence.

The bottom line

“Overall, using a credit card to earn points for paying your mortgage is only worth it if the rewards earned outweigh the fee,” says Geroulis. So, it’s important to take a moment to do the math before jumping on an opportunity.

For example, if you’re working on a $500 sign-up bonus with your travel credit card, paying 2.5% on a $1,500 mortgage payment ($37.50) isn’t a big deal. But if you’re not working on a sign-up bonus and your rewards rate is 2%, you’re paying $37.50 to get $30 back, which doesn’t work in your favor.

If you’re interested in trying it out, check out some of the top credit cards to see if you can score enough rewards to make it worth the cost.

credit card dumps

Identity fraud hit an all-time high in 2017, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, with a total of 16.7 million victims. Credit cards remain the top target for identity thieves because they’re easy to use.

Number of identity fraud victims in 2017 (source: Javelin Strategy)

One way hackers can access your credit card information is through credit card dumps, which is the fraudulent copy of information from the magnetic strip of a credit card.

If you want to protect yourself from credit card dumps, it’s important to understand how they work and steps you can do to limit your exposure.

What are credit card dumps?

As mentioned previously, credit card dumps happen when an identity thief steals information from your credit card’s magnetic strip.

This information includes your credit card number and expiration date, and fraudsters can use the data to create a fake credit card that they can use just like you use yours.

Credit card companies have been trying to combat this type of fraud through the EMV chip. This chip creates a unique token every time you use your card, so if hackers steal the token, it’s already been used.

But as you’ve probably experienced at the grocery store or another retailer, if the card reader isn’t reading your chip properly or your card doesn’t have a chip, you can still swipe like you used to.

And many retailers, especially small businesses, haven’t even transitioned their card readers to accept an EMV chip.

How hackers get your card information

According to Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert at Hotspot Shield, there are a few different ways identity thieves can create credit card dumps, including:

  • Placing a fake credit card reader over a legitimate one to skim the data from your card. This frequently happens at gas stations and ATMs.
  • Infecting a point-of-sale card reader with malware that copies the data from each credit card that gets swiped.
  • Hacking a retailer’s network to access card information they have stored.
  • Taking it through an unsecured internet connection.

In most cases, there’s no way for you to know that your card information has been stolen until the criminal has used it or the retailer informs you of a security breach.

Preventing card fraud is almost impossible”

It’s important to stay vigilant so that you’re ready to take action as soon as you notice something off.

5 ways to protect yourself from credit card dumps

“Preventing card fraud is almost impossible,” says Siciliano. But there are some things you can do to limit your losses.

1) Check for skimming devices

Anytime you use an ATM or pump gas, take a look at the card reader.

In many cases, there should be a tamper-proof seal the owner placed on there to show that no one has placed a fake reader over the legitimate one. If you notice that the seal looks like it’s been removed at any point, use a different ATM or gas pump.

Also, if the material on the card reader looks different from the surrounding material, or it looks off in any other way, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Use a different one and report it to the bank or gas station.

2) Shop securely online

Whenever you shop online, it’s important to make sure that the website you’re using it secured.

It’s always important to look for HTTPS in the address bar when placing an order, which would mean the website itself is secured”

“It’s always important to look for HTTPS in the address bar when placing an order, which would mean the website itself is secured,” says Siciliano. “Only do business with those in person or online that you know, like, and trust.”

So, if you get an offer from a website you’ve never heard of, do some research first. Check for the HTTPS in the address bar first, then do a quick internet search to make sure it’s not a scam.

3) Check your accounts often

As we mentioned previously, you may not know that someone has stolen your information until they’ve used it. Credit card companies do their best to spot fraud when it happens, so you may get a notification from yours.

But they don’t always catch fraudulent purchases when they happen, so it’s crucial that you check your online accounts often to catch the fraud before it gets worse.

An easy way to do this is to sign up for an online money management tool like Mint or Personal Capital. These platforms can import transactions from all of your accounts into one place, so you don’t have to log in to each account separately.

When you do spot fraud, don’t hesitate to take action.

“Often the best course of action is to call the toll-free number on the back of your card and get in touch with the fraud department,” says Siciliano. “They will immediately check into potential fraud and, in some cases, mail you another card overnight.”

4) Make sure your card has fraud protection

All credit cards these days offer fraud protection, but some are better than others at detecting fraud and getting your money back to you.

Check out SuperMoney’s credit card reviews page to compare top credit cards and reach out to each one to determine how they handle fraud.

5) Use a credit monitoring service

Credit card fraud in any form can harm your credit, so it’s critical that you have a credit monitoring service to help you stay on top of things.

Some of the top credit monitoring services include:

If you find that you already have fraudulent activity on your credit report, make sure also to check out some credit repair companies that can help you get them removed.

The bottom line

“Consumers have no control over how their credit or debit cards or misused,” says Siciliano.

But the more diligent you are about keeping an eye on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover if you fall victim to credit card dumps.

5 Best Chase Credit Cards of 2018

JPMorgan Chase & Co., which does business as Chase Bank, is one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States. Chase operates in more than 60 countries and has $2.6 trillion in assets. One of Chase’s signature products is the company’s line of credit cards, including a wide range of both personal and business credit card options.

You can choose from several credit card types such as cash back, rewards, travel, and dining. Many Chase cards feature a signup bonus and 0% introductory rate for 15 months.

According to credit card travel journalist Jason Steele, “Chase offers some of the leading credit cards on the market. They’re especially strong in the area of travel rewards. They have co-branded cards with airlines and hotels.”

The best Chase card for you will depend on your lifestyle and spending habits. To help narrow down your choice, here are the top five Chase credit cards.

2018 Best Chase Credit Cards Reviews

1. Best Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is designed for people who travel frequently. The perks include a large signup bonus and generous points for all travel and dining expenses.

Highlights:
  • Earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 0% APR promotional annual fee for the first year; it’s $95 after that
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No limit on points earned
  • Points don’t expire while card is open

If you’re a traveler, you can benefit from:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision coverage
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services

2. Best Chase Card for Cash Back in Purchase Categories: Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers a generous signup bonus and one of the best cash-back savings programs when you buy in certain purchase categories throughout the year.

Highlights:
  • $150 bonus when you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months
  • $25 bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the same 3-month period
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in quarterly bonus categories
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Points don’t expire while card is open
  • No annual fee

3. Best Chase Card for Straightforward Cash Back: Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited gets the unlimited designation from the fact that you get 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There are no categories to remember. This makes this card one of the best Chase rewards cards.

Highlights:
  • $150 bonus when you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months
  • $25 bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the same 3-month period
  • 5% cash back on every purchase
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Points don’t expire while card is open
  • No annual fee

4. Best Chase Card for Balance Transfers: Chase Slate

The Chase Slate card has a rare, money-saving combination of an introductory 0% APR and a low 1% introductory balance transfer fee within the first 60 days.

Highlights:
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • 1% introductory balance transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Points don’t expire while card is open
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR (Paying late won’t raise your interest rate)
  • Free monthly updated FICO score

5. Best Chase Card for Small Businesses: Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred offers generous bonus points for signing up. You also earn points on purchases in categories where businesses spend the most.

Highlights:
  • 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on certain select categories, up to $150,000 combined purchases annually
  • Earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Points don’t expire while card is open
  • No foreign transaction fees

If you travel for business, you can benefit from:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Roadside emergency assistance
  • Auto rental collision coverage

Whether you’re traveling or not, you also get:

  • Cellphone protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection

Find the best Chase credit cards for you

Did you find a Chase card that seems to fit your lifestyle and budget needs? Before you sign up for a Chase card, think about comparing other top credit cards to see which option is right for you.

Chase credit card holders tend to have good to excellent credit. If you find that you have a lower credit score than is accepted by Chase, check into credit cards for people with bad credit.

To compare the best Chase credit cards against many others, check out SuperMoney’s Personal Credit Card Review page. 

Best credit cards no balance transfer fee

Americans have $8,195 in credit card debt, according to the latest report from Experian. With that much money on a high-interest credit card, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in interest by the time you pay it off, especially if you pay only the minimum required each month.

Some credit card issuers offer balance transfer credit cards to help you pay down your debt faster. These cards usually come with a 0% APR promotion that gives you time — some up to almost two full years — to pay down your balance interest-free.

But many of these cards charge a fee, usually between 3% and 5% of the amount you transfer, to get started. With a balance of $8,195, that’s an upfront charge of between $246 and $410.

The good news is that there are a handful of credit cards on the market that offer no balance transfer fee. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve put together a list of the top four.

The 4 best credit cards with no balance transfer fee

For the most part, these get-out-of-debt-free cards are one-trick ponies. So take a careful look at all of their features to know which one is best for you.

1) Chase Slate

With this card, you can transfer up to $15,000 or the amount of your credit limit, whichever is less. The card offers a 0% APR promotion for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers and waives the balance transfer fee for the first 60 days. After that, you’ll pay a 5% balance transfer fee.

The card has no annual fee and also doesn’t charge a penalty APR if you accidentally make a late payment. Keep in mind, however, that you should still avoid late payments at all costs.

“Not only do missed payments negatively affect your credit score,” says Matt Freeman, head of credit card products at Navy Federal Credit Union, “but you could risk losing the low introductory rate as well. Losing your intro period could mean missing your goal of becoming debt free.”

You’ll also get free access to your FICO score. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to improve your credit score. By monitoring your score, you can see how certain actions impact your score.

The biggest drawback to the Chase Slate is that it doesn’t offer rewards. As a result, the card doesn’t have as much value once the initial 0% APR promotion is over.

2) BankAmericard Credit Card

For the most part, the BankAmericard Credit Card matches up well with the Chase Slate. It offers a 0% APR promotion for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, and also has no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days.

You’ll also get no annual fee, no penalty APR, and free access to your FICO score.

So, why choose this one over the Chase Slate? For starters, the card’s balance transfer fee goes to just 3% after the initial 60-day period. It also doesn’t have a $15,000 limit as the Chase Slate does. So, if you have at least that much credit card debt and get a high enough credit limit, this might be a better option.

That said, this card has the same disadvantage as the Chase Slate: There’s no rewards program to speak of.

3) Barclaycard Ring

If you’re looking for a 0% APR promotion, the Barclaycard Ring isn’t right for you. But if you want a credit card with a low ongoing interest rate, it may be worth your while.

The card has no balance transfer fee and a low APR. All the other cards raise interest rates once your promotion is over. So, this might be a better option if you have a low balance and just want a card with a lower rate.

The card also has no annual fee and foreign transaction fees, so you can take it overseas without getting charged extra. You’ll also get free access to your FICO score.

4) Amex Everyday Credit Card

The Amex Everyday Credit Card has long been a decent rewards credit card. But it recently paired that rewards program with a solid balance transfer offer: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers and no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days.

Here’s how the card’s rewards structure works:

  • Get 15,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, plus 2 points per dollar spent on AmexTravel.com.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else.
  • Get 20% more points when you make at least 20 purchases with your card per month.

When compared side by side with the other cards we’ve discussed, this one might sound like a no-brainer. One thing to consider, however, is whether you plan to use your new credit card overseas. American Express isn’t widely accepted abroad, so consider it only if you have a backup Visa or Mastercard.

Which card should you choose?

The first step to determining which of these cards is best for you is to note which bank issued your current credit card. For example, if you have a balance on a Chase credit card, you can’t transfer it to the Chase Slate. Credit card issuers offer these benefits to gain new customers, so it doesn’t make sense for your bank to offer you a break on interest if it’s already making money off you.

Second, consider your other needs and preferences. If you want a card you can hold onto for a long time, the Amex Everyday Credit Card is a clear winner. But if you have debt on an American Express card or simply want better acceptance, go with one of the other three.

The important thing is that you do your due diligence by comparing these cards and also shopping around for other credit cards that could provide you with the benefits you’re looking for.

As you do your research, you’re more likely to get the card that suits your needs, both now and in the future.

Best Amex credit card

American Express announced a new valuable feature for its Amex Everyday Credit Card on Thursday. One of the credit card issuers now offers a $0 balance transfer fee for transfers new cardholders make in the first 60 days after opening their account.

This isn’t the first balance transfer credit card to offer no upfront fees on balance transfers. The Chase Slate, BankAmericard Credit Card, and Barclaycard Ring also offer the feature.

That said, the Amex Everyday Credit Card is the first major credit to offer this feature on a rewards credit card.

“American Express believes customers should not have to compromise between getting rewarded for everyday purchases and saving on interest,” said Kunal Madhok, vice president of product and acquisitions at American Express, in a statement.

About the Amex Everyday Credit Card

The Amex Everyday Credit Card’s rewards structure works as follows:

  • Get 10,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year, and on AmexTravel.com.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 20% more points when you use your card at least 20 times in a billing period.

You can use your points to get gift cards and cash back. You can also use your points to pay for travel or transfer them to one of American Express’ many hotel and airline partners.

The card’s 0% APR promotion also matches the other cards that offer no balance transfer fee. You’ll get a 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, giving you plenty of time to move your debt from another card and pay it off.

Should you apply for this card?

If you’ve been considering getting a balance transfer credit card, seriously consider applying for this card. Not only is it essentially a get-out-of-debt-free card with no balance transfer fee and a 0% APR promotion, but the card’s rewards program also gives it long-term value, which you won’t get with the other no-balance-transfer-fee cards.

So, once you pay off your debt, you can keep using the card and enjoy the benefits rather than having to apply for a new card that offers rewards.

What’s more, the card has no annual fee, making this balance transfer credit card one of great value. To learn more about this and other balance transfer cards, check out SuperMoney’s credit card review page.