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Tips For Choosing A Gas Credit Card

Oct 9, 2007
With gas prices hovering at record highs - and with no telling when they'll drop or even shoot up higher - most people would be hard pressed to find themselves rejecting a little bit of help on paying the price at the pumps. In an effort to help consumers manage the prices, plenty of banks and gas companies have banded together to offer gas credit cards. At first glance, these cards seem like a huge blessing - after all, who wouldn't want to save a few cents? However, the amount of fine print that comes along with the cards, as well as the various benefits from each, can throw a bit of a wrench into deciding which gas credit card to apply for.

1 - Station Cards

Station-specific gas credit cards are essentially tailored to one specific brand of gas station. In some cases, station cards can offer the consumer between 3-5% cash return on their gas purchase, which tends to be touted as an immediate benefit of saving at the gas pump - that's cash back in your pocket after each gasoline purchase at their brand of station. It promotes brand loyalty, and it works! In some cases, you'll also be offered a 1% cash back or rebate on purchases from other vendors.

Typically, you can either choose to have this money sent to you as a literal cash back, or you may choose to have it automatically credited to your next bill - helping to take the edge off your final total each month. The highest rebate percentage you're going to find for any station card is 5%, and in some cases, these are the cards you're going to end up paying an annual fee for. Again, it's worth reading the fine print - you don't want that cash back to become a moot point if it's only going to pay an annual card fee.

2 - Flexible Cards

These flexible gas credit cards are generally the brainchild of a bank that realizes that some consumers want to have the option of giving their business to whichever gas company provides the best price, or is the most convenient wherever they happen to travel. Flexible gas cards are, again, cash rebate cards that tend to pay out anywhere between 2% and 5% on all gasoline purchases - however, you have the option of buying your gas from more than just one company. You'll get credited for them all.

There is a catch, however - for cards with 5% rebates, you may find that there is a cap on the amount of gasoline spending that the card can pay out for. This is often over $1,000, though in some cases, not by much. For people who travel a lot, although it would be nice to have the flexibility of using any station, the flexible gas card rebate cap would probably hit fairly quickly.

Although there are no perfect gas credit cards, the best course of action is to take a look at your spending habits, and choose a card that best suits your lifestyle and needs.
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