I just got the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card in the mail and I’m pretty excited—it’s like a mini raise.
This card gives me 1.5% cash back on all of my purchases. Considering that I make all purchases aside from rent and student loan payments (which can only be paid with a checking account) with credit cards in order to maximize rewards and build credit, it can add up to a tidy sum. If I spend $400 a month on groceries, utilities, clothing, etc., that’s an extra $72 a year.
Aside from unlimited 1.5% cash back, when you spend $500 within the first three months of getting the card, you’ll receive a $150 bonus! Plus, if you add someone as an authorized user (you’ll be responsible for their purchases) and that person makes any purchase within the first three months, you’ll also earn an additional $25.
For the first 15 months, there’s 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. You should be paying off your previous statement’s balance off in full by that statement’s minimum payment due date every single month in order to avoid having to pay a cent of interest. However, it can provide some peace of mind to know that you won’t have to worry about paying back an emergency purchase for a few months since you won’t be racking up high interest.
Note that applying for new cards too frequently may lower your credit score. With the FICO Score, new credit makes up 10% of your credit score.
Don’t be daunted by the $500 minimum spend; it’s easy to attain even if you don’t need to make any major purchases or cover any large bills soon. Once simple solution is to buy gift cards from stores you shop at regularly. You could even buy them and immediately resell them on eBay (I’ve actually seen many gift cards sell in eBay auctions for even more than their face value!). Or, cover your partner’s purchases and have them repay you through Venmo.
If you choose to go the gift card route, just keep in mind that when you buy one, you lose the ability to get cash back when you begin your shopping trip from an online cash back portal such as Ebates, as well as additional discounts available when you use a retailer card like Target’s Red Card (5% back), or Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card (5% back).