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Reward credit cards

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What are reward credit cards?

Rewards cards, as the name suggests, are credit cards that reward you for using them. The incentives vary and are usually points or cashback that you earn as you spend.

What credit card rewards can you get?

There are different types of credit card rewards, but the most common can be divided into three categories: shopping points, airmiles or cashback. 

Reward types

The best credit card rewards depend on your shopping habits and lifestyle. Some people choose an airmiles reward card, for example, because they collect frequent flier points through regular travel and want to give their points a boost.

Some people prefer to earn shopping points and exchange them for vouchers, whereas others prefer their reward in the form of cashback.

The rate that you can earn credit card rewards varies depending on where you shop. For example, you might earn one point for every £1 you spend in one store, but only one point for every £2 spent at another retailer.

The level of cashback you can earn may also fluctuate depending on the type of purchase or shop. 

UK Finance data for June 2017

The general rule is that the more you spend, the more you earn – but you should ensure you pay the card off in full every month if possible, otherwise the fees or interest may outstrip any rewards that you build up.

Clear your debt in full

The interest rates charged by rewards and points credit cards can be much higher than non-reard cards. That means they are only really suited to people who can afford to clear their balance in full every month.

If you allow debts to build up, you will almost certainly pay more in interest than you will get back in rewards.

How to find the best rewards credit cards for you

Finding the best credit cards for rewards is simple if you follow these easy steps:

  1. Decide on the type of reward you want to receive
  2. Calculate your likely spending on the card each year
  3. Compare the rewards you would earn on that amount for a range of cards, keeping an eye on any fees
  4. Check application criteria to ensure you are likely to be accepted.

You should look carefully at the terms and conditions of reward cards. After all, if you are not a frequent flyer, why bother collecting points towards flights? And if you aren’t a regular shopper in a given store, a points card might not be the best choice.

Does income influence card choices

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of December 2017

When comparing the rewards that credit cards offer, it’s also worth taking into account any promotions that could give your points or cashback a boost. Sometimes these bonuses, which are usually available once you’ve spent a certain amount, or for a set period of time, can help you amass rewards quickly.

It’s important to note that there is little to be gained by transferring a balance to a reward card as you normally only earn rewards when you spend on the card.

How to spend your credit card points

How you spend your credit card points depends largely on which scheme you have signed up to. Shopping points can usually be exchanged for vouchers that you can use at specific retailers, while frequent flier points can be redeemed with specific airlines.

Cashback cards tend to pay cashback monthly or annually, depending on their terms, while some cards allow you to convert the cashback into vouchers that you can spend in shops.

Multiple credit cards with rewards

It’s possible to take out multiple rewards cards to make full use of all the different types of reward – as long as you can keep track so that your debts are always under control. 

Popularity of credit cards

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of December 2017

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