credit cards

6 ways to spoil your cash-back rewards

Picking the wrong credit card
Picking the wrong credit card © Temych/Shutterstock.com

If you earn cash back for traveling, you'd better not be a homebody. Or, if you use your credit card in all types of stores, don't sign up for a credit card that gives extra earnings for specific purchases only.

In both cases, you're not getting the most from your spending. There might be a card that better fits your habits.

"Understand how you spend, and then select a rewards card," says Bill McCracken, CEO of Synergistics Research, a financial services market research firm in Atlanta.

Some cards offer the same rewards potential for every purchase, while others offer accelerated earnings for certain categories.

The most common accelerated cash-back category is gas, followed by supermarkets/groceries and dining/restaurants, according to Bankrate's 2013 Credit Card Cash-Back Rewards Survey. But there are other, less common categories that may be better suited for your spending habits, such as utilities, parking and drugstores.

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Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.76% --0.00 15.76%
Cash Back Cards 16.44%  0.01 16.43%
Low Interest Cards 11.04%  0.03 11.01%
 
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