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Thread: Americans: Rewards credit card recommendations?

  1. #1

    Default Americans: Rewards credit card recommendations?

    Hey all,

    So much to my chagrin, my two main credit cards have recently eviscerated their rewards programs: I had a PenFed Visa, which yields 5% on gas, (used to) yield 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else (and some nice other features, since it's a signature card) - they recently switched over to a points based system that won't give cash rewards and has one of those annoyingly opaque compensation structures. For an even longer time I've had a BP Visa, which yields 5% cash on gas, 2% on travel and dining (VERY useful given the amount of travel my wife and I do) and 1% on everything else. Now it's replaced by some nonsense gas rebate system with a MUCH lower rewards rate - the math is a bit complex, but just trust me.

    So I'm in the market for a new credit card, and I was wondering what other Americans use. General requirements:
    1) I don't like annual fees unless the rewards are REALLY worth it. So maybe the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, but not much else.
    2) I find the 'rotating category' cards useless for the most part: by far I charge the most money to groceries, travel/hotels, gas, and restaurants, so nothing else is really worth it, and getting only 1% on my biggest purchases most of the time is not worth it.
    3) I strongly prefer cash rewards to gift cards, miles, points, or whatever else. Redemption schemes are annoying and unclear, and cash is fungible.
    4) There's no point in me being tied to a specific company (e.g. one airline or whatever), since I'm much more sensitive to price than brand loyalty.
    5) Interest rates are irrelevant - I only charge about $30k a year and pay it off in full every month.
    6) Nice but not required would be no foreign transaction fees - international travel really bites into rewards when you're paying a 3% fee.

    So... suggestions? The best I've seen so far is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, which has a high enough grocery rebate to make the annual fee palatable (I ran the numbers; I break even each year within a couple months). Only problem is some places don't accept Amex, and it doesn't give a particularly good deal for travel/hotel or restaurants. There's others that theoretically provide 2% cash back on everything else (a Fidelity card and a Sallie Mae Visa), but they have various strings attached I'm not a big fan of.

    I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts. I'm particularly interesting anything that can give better than 1% on airfare and hotels, since we must blow $10k or so a year on that (most of it, fortunately, reimbursed from our respective employers). Restaurants and gas are far less important, and Amex looks unbeatable for groceries.

  2. #2
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Hi, wiggin. My suggestion would be to forget credit cards that "reward" you for using *credit*, and try to find places that "reward" you for using cash. That means finding grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants that give you a direct "cash discount". You might be surprised how many will do that just for the asking, but can't contractually disclose that in their advertising (because they participate with banks issuing credit).

    I'm particularly interesting anything that can give better than 1% on airfare and hotels, since we must blow $10k or so a year on that (most of it, fortunately, reimbursed from our respective employers)
    If you're lucky enough to have a corporate "sponsor" for your airfare and hotels, then just make sure to keep those costs isolated from your personal accounts and tax records. Or pay a CPA who can mix business and pleasure in order to find your tax credits, using the law without breaking the law.
    Last edited by GGT; 01-17-2012 at 02:56 AM.

  3. #3
    Okay, how about some useful advice? Some gas stations do so but that's about it around here (and the discount for cash at gas stations is rarely more than the cash rewards from the CC company).

  4. #4
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    I thought that was useful advice, wiggin. We don't live too far from each other, I know how MD/PA/VA (and even Delaware) consumerism works.

    But if you're looking for banks that issue cards without fees...then look for a bank that doesn't charge an annual account fee, has free checking, and lets you use debit purchases without a surcharge (like credit charges), and has free on-line bill pay options. Those things are ultimately more cost effective than credit cards that offer cash-back rewards.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    I thought that was useful advice, wiggin. We don't live too far from each other, I know how MD/PA/VA (and even Delaware) consumerism works.
    I don't live in any of those areas, and regardless I shop at major chains that do not provide discounts for paying in cash.

    But if you're looking for banks that issue cards without fees...then look for a bank that doesn't charge an annual account fee, has free checking, and lets you use debit purchases without a surcharge (like credit charges), and has free on-line bill pay options. Those things are ultimately more cost effective than credit cards that offer cash-back rewards.
    Why can't I have both? I already have a bank account where I pay no fees and have free debit and bill pay (actually, I have two banks; one is an online bank for most of my savings that yields a far better return than any bricks and mortar establishment). What does this have to do with a credit card? I can make $500-1000 off of credit card rewards every year; why shouldn't I pursue this diligently.


    Look, I do NOT want a discussion of the merits of credit cards vs. debit cards, an in depth dissection of my shopping or spending or banking habits, or a polemic about American finances or dependence on credit. I just want helpful suggestions for rewards credit cards. If you don't have one, please don't respond.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    ....
    Why can't I have both?.....

    Look, I do NOT want a discussion of the merits of credit cards vs. debit cards, an in depth dissection of my shopping or spending or banking habits, or a polemic about American finances or dependence on credit. I just want helpful suggestions for rewards credit cards. If you don't have one, please don't respond.
    Uhm, seems to me you answered your own question, which is also why you started this thread. Reward-credit means you've already decided that they have some merit or value, even though they really don't.

    If you really want "helpful" suggestions regarding credit cards with "rewards".....then ask an investment bank to bundle your assets, and issue you a credit card with all sorts of benefits. Those cash back offers won't seem like such a great deal, if you can get a card with no annual fee, and using it for purchases gets you an automatic discount.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    If you really want "helpful" suggestions regarding credit cards with "rewards".....then ask an investment bank to bundle your assets, and issue you a credit card with all sorts of benefits. Those cash back offers won't seem like such a great deal, if you can get a card with no annual fee, and using it for purchases gets you an automatic discount.
    Er, what? Most cash rewards cards I've looked at don't have an annual fee, so I've already got that. And how is an automatic discount any different from cash back? Do you have any actual examples of cards that are competitive in this realm?

  8. #8
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Yes, I have a Morgan Stanley / Smith Barney MasterCard. They've already figured "cash-back rewards" from retailers, and use some algorithm that benefits me. I'm not computer savvy, but I've used that card to purchase identical items as my sister, and she ended up being charged slightly more (in exchange for "cash back points"). There's no such thing as a free lunch, ya know.

  9. #9
    Is it one of those cards where you have to shop through their portal online? I hate those for two reasons: first, it's very cumbersome and annoying (I had a bank debit card that I tried using that way for a while but it wasn't worth the hassle). Second, most of my big-ticket purchases can't be done through those portals - e.g. groceries. I rarely buy things like clothing or electronics that are best bought through those portals.

    Regardless, I can't really do that right now since most of my investible assets are tied up in 401(k)s.


    I know there are no free lunches - my cards rewards are paid by higher than usual interchange fees and higher than usual interest rates. The interest rates are completely irrelevant to me (I never carry a balance), and the interchange fees are a hidden cost amortized over the entire store, so I'd be a sucker not to take the deal.

  10. #10
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    You're a very smart and savvy consumer/borrower, wiggin. When folks like you start threads in TWF, looking for advice, I see that as a condemnation of our whole system. It really IS so confounding and confusing, that even the smartest among us (like you) can't figure it out.

    Makes the financial consumer protection agency proposed by Obama's administration even more necessary. Sorry if that's a tangent...

  11. #11
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    You're a very smart and savvy consumer/borrower, wiggin. When folks like you start threads in TWF, looking for advice, I see that as a condemnation of our whole system. It really IS so confounding and confusing, that even the smartest among us (like you) can't figure it out.

    Makes the financial consumer protection agency proposed by Obama's administration even more necessary. Sorry if that's a tangent...
    ... this is in fact not very different from me asking what slap bracelets are called or what graphics card to buy. It's an attempt to leverage the collective experience/knowledge of the community in order to eg. find a recommendation for the best choice in a specific product category. The advantage is that you don't have to waste time, money and energy on doing all of the research.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  12. #12
    Uncolonizable Wraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    You're a very smart and savvy consumer/borrower, wiggin. When folks like you start threads in TWF, looking for advice, I see that as a condemnation of our whole system. It really IS so confounding and confusing, that even the smartest among us (like you) can't figure it out.
    He seems to have it figured out pretty well. He's just crowdsourcing a search for the best deal for his situation.

    Sorry I can't help on topic, wiggin! I'm deathly allergic to annual fees. My card has a points program, but it's decent points, and I can get good-as-cash gift cards from it for places I'd have spent money at anyways, so I've never ended up searching around for better. Mostly just laziness, really.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Catgrrl's Avatar
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    We have a Mastercard Platinum through Citi, and no annual fees. We also pay it off every month. By the end of the year we usually have enough points to get a few $25 Best Buy Gift Cards. If they offered Lowe's instead of Home Depot ones then we'd get those instead. I'd have to ask Hubby what the % interest is, but I don't recall it being very high. We prefer to get the gift cards as rewards since we aren't traveling often at the moment. We also only use the card for gas and online purchases so we don't rack up as many points as you might.

    I do have a Debit/Credit card backed by Visa through my Credit Union but it doesn't come with any rewards. We use that for all other purchases.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    Sorry I can't help on topic, wiggin! I'm deathly allergic to annual fees. My card has a points program, but it's decent points, and I can get good-as-cash gift cards from it for places I'd have spent money at anyways, so I've never ended up searching around for better. Mostly just laziness, really.
    Do you mind me asking which points program it is? I know some are better than others, but the structure and ease of use from outside the program is very opaque. Some of them allow buying 'cash'-like preloaded cards which can be used for anything, which is almost as good as actual cash... I might consider that (Penfed's new points program allows this). The gift card thing is something I don't really like, though - I suppose I could use the occasional Amazon gift card, but that's about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catgrrl View Post
    We have a Mastercard Platinum through Citi, and no annual fees. We also pay it off every month. By the end of the year we usually have enough points to get a few $25 Best Buy Gift Cards. If they offered Lowe's instead of Home Depot ones then we'd get those instead. I'd have to ask Hubby what the % interest is, but I don't recall it being very high. We prefer to get the gift cards as rewards since we aren't traveling often at the moment. We also only use the card for gas and online purchases so we don't rack up as many points as you might.
    Are you talking about the Citi Dividend Platinum Select card? It's good enough, but I don't like the rotating category thing (ditto with Chase Freedom, etc.). There is something intriguing I saw with 'Extra Cash', some Citi program for one of their mastercards; do you use that or know anything about it? Their website is rather unhelpful, but I don't *think* it ends up being a very good deal. Not sure, though.

    Your card is probably fine for casual use, but I charge everything except rent and a few bank transfers, and I want to optimize. It's the engineer in my that feels like I'm leaving money on the table if I don't choose correctly.


    On a secondary note: There are all of these people on credit card forums (yeah, weird that people are members of credit card forums, no?) who do this optimization, but they end up using half a dozen cards - card A for travel, B for gas, C, D, and E for rotating categories, and F for everything else. Or whatever. I think it's ridiculous to go that far - all the effort you spend optimizing things and carrying around all that plastic neutralizes the marginal improvement in return. What I really want is one or two cards total that will give me a decent return.

    What puzzles me about these people, though, is that they change cards and get new cards pretty frequently. It seems to me that this isn't the best thing to do for your credit score, yes? Frequently applying for new credit is a ding to your score, of course, but closing old accounts is pretty bad as well. Do any of you know about the relative cost/benefit of closing an old account vs. charging something on it every few months to keep it active? Outside of credit cards and student loans, I'm afraid I have a very thin credit history, and I'll probably want to buy a house one of these days...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Catgrrl's Avatar
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    I apologize wiggin, apparently we don't have Platinum. I remember Hubby and I discussing it months ago but I just looked and we have the ThankYou Preferred.
    Hubby handles the credit card stuff and I only use it But ya, it looks like that wouldn't be right for your type of usage. I have no idea about the cash back programs.

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    They've probably programmed software that can't do it for them given a few general criteria. I agree with you though, it's not worth the hassle of optimizing to this degree. Maybe for them it is, but I would not care that much, once you're used to it, i'm sure they function pretty well managing all 7 of their cards.

    If I come by anything special, I'll let you know, so you can check it out.

  17. #17
    Uncolonizable Wraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Do you mind me asking which points program it is? I know some are better than others, but the structure and ease of use from outside the program is very opaque. Some of them allow buying 'cash'-like preloaded cards which can be used for anything, which is almost as good as actual cash... I might consider that (Penfed's new points program allows this). The gift card thing is something I don't really like, though - I suppose I could use the occasional Amazon gift card, but that's about it.
    Never thought to check before, but apparently it does allow the cash-like preloaded cards, good wherever Visa is accepted. It's a flat 2% reward, but this avenue won't do you any good - it's a restricted membership. Unless you're looking for a radical career change, you can't get it.


    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    What puzzles me about these people, though, is that they change cards and get new cards pretty frequently. It seems to me that this isn't the best thing to do for your credit score, yes? Frequently applying for new credit is a ding to your score, of course, but closing old accounts is pretty bad as well.
    From what I understand, if you don't do it too often, it doesn't hurt your score at all. I don't remember exactly what counts as 'too often' - I've seen the numbers before, but can't recall them. Three times in a given six month period, or something? Whatever it was seemed fairly generous to me at the time. Don't quote me on this.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    Never thought to check before, but apparently it does allow the cash-like preloaded cards, good wherever Visa is accepted. It's a flat 2% reward, but this avenue won't do you any good - it's a restricted membership. Unless you're looking for a radical career change, you can't get it.
    Ah, oh well. I'm afraid that most medical device companies don't tend to have their own finance divisions or dabble in the credit card industry.

    From what I understand, if you don't do it too often, it doesn't hurt your score at all. I don't remember exactly what counts as 'too often' - I've seen the numbers before, but can't recall them. Three times in a given six month period, or something? Whatever it was seemed fairly generous to me at the time. Don't quote me on this.
    Hmm, I'll have to do more research. I definitely want to dump the old Chase BP Visa; it's now completely useless, I'm afraid.

  19. #19
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    Oh hell, I think I forgot to cancel a credit card I should have cancelled in december

    Funny to read this topic; in Holland you'd be hard pressed to find a credit card with any kind of loyalty program. The best you can expect is no fee for the first year.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  20. #20
    Why, Hazir? I'm very curious about this - I find it mind-boggling to have to pay for a credit card unless (a) you have very poor credit, (b) it gives fantastic rewards/points, or (c) it has a very low APR and you carry a balance. Since the CC companies make money off of the interchange fees, I really don't see why I should pay them for the privilege when there are other free alternatives (e.g. debit cards). Weird.

  21. #21
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    I have two cards with a 1% reward program (I use them to buy all my video games), but that's not really better than what you have now. From the little I've read about this, anything above 1% is exceptional and very hard to obtain (without an annual fee).
    Hope is the denial of reality

  22. #22
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    I sort of agree with GGT, to a certain extent. Most credit card rewards programs have negligible real value. As people with airline rewards have seen, the value can really shift over time.

    Even the good offers (1% cash back, etc) are primarily designed to exert subtle psychological pressure to spend more. And it really does seem to work — after all, the credit card companies wouldn't give you money back if they didn't have reasonably hard evidence that these programs were leading to a net profit for them.

    These programs don't steal from you, but they do work as sort of a loss leader for the companies and it's partially subsidized by that subtle push to spend a bit more.

    I don't have a credit card, I just use debit. With credit transactions processed by Visa (whose shares I bought when they had their IPO, which has turned out really well so far).

    Nonetheless, GGT is right that there are some purchases where you can use cash to get a better deal. EG all my auto repair and garage fees are paid with cash, and I save anywhere between 4-10% on those transactions. Not to mention I paid for my car with literally a bag of cash. Now, we all know why I'm getting that discount. But putting the time and negotiating power behind those cash transactions has probably yielded a lot, and certainly took less mental back-and-forth than A) Thinking about what card to get with rewards and B) Thinking about those rewards every time I bought something.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    I sort of agree with GGT, to a certain extent. Most credit card rewards programs have negligible real value. As people with airline rewards have seen, the value can really shift over time.
    That's why I hate points programs. I prefer cold, hard cash.

    Even the good offers (1% cash back, etc) are primarily designed to exert subtle psychological pressure to spend more. And it really does seem to work — after all, the credit card companies wouldn't give you money back if they didn't have reasonably hard evidence that these programs were leading to a net profit for them.
    We've had this discussion before, and we'll just have to agree to disagree. I think it may work that way for some people, but I really don't buy very much I don't need.

    These programs don't steal from you, but they do work as sort of a loss leader for the companies and it's partially subsidized by that subtle push to spend a bit more.
    I think they don't really work by making people spend more. I think they work by (a) higher APR than normal and (b) higher interchange fees than normal. Neither of those directly affect me or any savvy customer. I frankly couldn't care less if someone who's less careful with their money takes this card over a card with a lower APR (but no rewards) and ends up carrying a balance. Not my problem, but that's almost certainly how the companies make a profit. They break even, or come close, through the interchange fees (for people with my kind of behavior) and make the real money from people who carry a balance.

    I don't have a credit card, I just use debit. With credit transactions processed by Visa (whose shares I bought when they had their IPO, which has turned out really well so far).
    I know you have a mortgage already so don't need to worry about it, but I need a credit card to improve my credit score - longer history, a mix of loan types (otherwise I'd just have student loans and some car loan history), larger credit lines, lower utilization, etc. If I buy in my current area I'm likely going to need a mortgage of $500k or larger, and banks don't just hand those out to people in their 20s even with a 20% downpayment. Having a credit card and using it at least a little is absolutely necessary for me; while I'm at it, I pick up a little extra cash on the side at little cost or inconvenience.

    Nonetheless, GGT is right that there are some purchases where you can use cash to get a better deal. EG all my auto repair and garage fees are paid with cash, and I save anywhere between 4-10% on those transactions. Not to mention I paid for my car with literally a bag of cash. Now, we all know why I'm getting that discount. But putting the time and negotiating power behind those cash transactions has probably yielded a lot, and certainly took less mental back-and-forth than A) Thinking about what card to get with rewards and B) Thinking about those rewards every time I bought something.
    I've found that small businesses may give you a break (may), and that others that deal with large purchases (cars, jewelery, etc.) will tack on a finance charge for using a credit card. But since the vast majority of my purchases fall into groceries and air travel/hotels, it's largely irrelevant to my spending patterns. Obviously if there's large savings to be had with cash or check (my wife's engagement ring, for example, or the downpayment on my car), I don't use credit. No-brainer, really.

    I think you overestimate how much effort I put into this. When my card rewards programs change (so far, it happens about every 3 years), I reassess and figure out if I should change any behavior. Otherwise, I use one or two cards following very simply rules, no hassle at all. Negotiating a cash discount every time I want to buy something is definitely more work, and won't help me for the majority of my purchases.


    Regardless, I'll say the same thing I said to GGT: I'm not interested in having this debate. I personally see it as leaving free money on the table, and all I'm interested in is finding an optimum combination of return balanced by effort.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Why, Hazir? I'm very curious about this - I find it mind-boggling to have to pay for a credit card unless (a) you have very poor credit, (b) it gives fantastic rewards/points, or (c) it has a very low APR and you carry a balance. Since the CC companies make money off of the interchange fees, I really don't see why I should pay them for the privilege when there are other free alternatives (e.g. debit cards). Weird.
    Why? Don't really know, but it's probably because the market is very different. Credit cards never really made it in Holland so that we've got a situation where many places don't accept them at all (try buy food with them and you'll have to eat your card to be less hungry) or have a high minimum on the amount that can be charged. A lot of people I know don't have a credit card and don't want one. The ones that do have a credit card (having more than one is considered being silly) have one for internet purchases and for travel abroad.

    It's debit cards all the way overhere.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  25. #25
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Not that I think this is a big moral issue, but you guys do realize that the reason you guys get discounts when using cash is because the store in question isn't going to pay taxes on your purchases, right? If enough people did that (which you seem to want to happen), we'll end up like Greece.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  26. #26
    I use a vanilla Discover card for my online purchases and gas. Its usually around 5%, but if I'm looking for something specific I can go through the discover site and the cashback can go up to 20%, not bad when it teams up with already nicely priced online stores and places like walmart. You can cash out at $50.

    Everything else I need, I use my Target card at the Target store. 5% off at the register.

    I could go for better cards at this point, I don't carry a balance on anything so its easy enough to track purchases, but my credit score right now is over 800, and I don't want to fuck with it until after I buy a house.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  27. #27
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Why, Hazir? I'm very curious about this - I find it mind-boggling to have to pay for a credit card unless (a) you have very poor credit, (b) it gives fantastic rewards/points, or (c) it has a very low APR and you carry a balance. Since the CC companies make money off of the interchange fees, I really don't see why I should pay them for the privilege when there are other free alternatives (e.g. debit cards). Weird.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Why? Don't really know, but it's probably because the market is very different. Credit cards never really made it in Holland so that we've got a situation where many places don't accept them at all (try buy food with them and you'll have to eat your card to be less hungry) or have a high minimum on the amount that can be charged. A lot of people I know don't have a credit card and don't want one. The ones that do have a credit card (having more than one is considered being silly) have one for internet purchases and for travel abroad.

    It's debit cards all the way overhere.
    I think it's mostly because only people who really need a credit card for something have one, so there's no need for the banks to make pretty deals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Not that I think this is a big moral issue, but you guys do realize that the reason you guys get discounts when using cash is because the store in question isn't going to pay taxes on your purchases, right? If enough people did that (which you seem to want to happen), we'll end up like Greece.
    The opposite would make more sense, for a lot of stores cash is more expensive and risky for them (robbery, cashiers who keep money, and it costs money to deposit cash or to get change, and more difficult administration). The only thing that can go wrong with a credit card is that the buyer claims the money back, I think? So unless the transaction fees are that high, a discount for using a card would make more sense.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Not that I think this is a big moral issue, but you guys do realize that the reason you guys get discounts when using cash is because the store in question isn't going to pay taxes on your purchases, right? If enough people did that (which you seem to want to happen), we'll end up like Greece.
    I was told that it cost a ecological foodstore in LA $3.00 per transaction every time somebody paid with a credit card. To me that seems like a good incentive to get people to pay cash.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  29. #29
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Not American but after only banking with Barclays/Barclaycard for 12 years now, yesterday I signed up for a new Credit Card to get better rewards - partially inspired by this thread.

    Gone for a Tesco clubcard CC. Clubcard is a rewards program by Tesco's whenever you shop there (given its my local supermarket, that's every week). This'll give points for all expenditures, but more with them (I shop there anyway) and even more for fuel there (I fill up there as its the cheapest and already get some points).

    I'd prefer cash back, but that doesn't seem to exist in the UK without paying a fee and this seems the next best thing.

    Edit: $3 per transaction!? No way!

  30. #30
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    I was told that it cost a ecological foodstore in LA $3.00 per transaction every time somebody paid with a credit card. To me that seems like a good incentive to get people to pay cash.
    I'm not sure that it would be $3, but it surely costs something. Probably the reason why some stores over here only accept payment by card (be that direct debit or credit card) if you're shopping beyond 10€.
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

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