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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 are reward credit cards?

A rewards card is a credit card that gives you rewards in return for your spending. Incentives can come in the form of points or cashback and vary depending on the card, so it’s sensible to pick one that offers rewards that fit in with your lifestyle or shopping tastes.

What credit card rewards can you get?

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

The rewards card you choose should depend on your shopping habits and lifestyle. If you’re a jet-setter or someone who travels a lot for work, an airmiles rewards card could be the right choice for you.

Keen shoppers might prefer to choose a card that offers rewards in the form of vouchers for their favourite shop or supermarket, or they might prefer their rewards in the form of cashback.

Your rewards rate will depend on the card you choose. 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.

The general rule tends to be: the more you spend, the more you earn. But the important thing to keep in mind is to pay the card off in full every month, and don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back. If your spending creeps up, the fees or interest may outstrip any rewards that you build up.

Interest rates on rewards credit cards

The interest rates charged by rewards and cashback cards can be much higher than standard credit 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, which will defeat the purpose of having the card.

Find the best rewards credit cards for you

If you’re in the market for a rewards credit card, it’s sensible to check what’s out there before you sign up to anything. Comparing types of rewards, shops and retailers, and choosing a card that best suits your lifestyle and shopping habits will help you to get the most out of the card.

It’s also worth comparing interest rates and associated fees.

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 make sure you are likely to be accepted.

See how income affects the types of credit card people choose

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of December 2017

Things to think about when choosing a rewards card

When comparing the rewards that credit cards offer, it’s 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 also important to note that a rewards card is unlikely to useful when transferring a balance. Typically, you can only earn rewards when you spend on the card, so it’s best to choose a separate card should you want to transfer a balance – ideally one that is designed for balance transfers.

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 flyer 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 is possible to take out multiple rewards cards to make full use of all the different types of reward – but organisation is key. You would need to keep track of what you’re spending and where, while making sure all your costings were under control.

Compare reward and points credit cards

MoneySuperMarket’s Eligibility Checker makes it quick and easy to compare reward credit cards and find the best deal. We have details of all the top offers to help you reach an informed decision and make the most of any rewards.  

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MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker – this means we’ll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a fee by the lenders – though the size of that payment doesn’t affect how we show products to customers.