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Knowing How To Access Your Cash Back Rewards Saves Time And Money

by / 1 Comment / Mar 17, 2015

Once you’ve earned your cash back rewards, you quite naturally want access to it. The most common method is through a statement credit. However, several issuers offer other options as well.

  • Check
    Yourcard issuer can mail you a paper check.
  • Bank Deposit
    Some issuers will simply deposit your cash reward directly into your bank account and this can give you added perks with some cards. For example, BankAmericard Cash Rewards gives you a 10% bonus each time you redeem your cash back into your Bank of America savings or checking account.
  • Gift Cards
    You can use your cash back to purchase gift cards via your Issuer’s online shopping portal. Frequently, you can attain more purchasing power with this method.
  • Amazon.com
    Discover cards let you to shop at Amazon.com with the cash back you have earned by paying at check out with Cash back Bonus.
  • Statement Credits
    Apply your cash back rewards earnings to your credit card bill each month or as frequently as your card issuer allows.
  • Contributions to Charity
    Some cash back card issuers support the donation of your rewards to select charities. This is tax deductible when the donation is via cash back. This is not the case with points or miles.

With some cash back rewards credit card programs you are limited to only one or two methods of redeeming your cash. As an example, US Bank Cash+ Visaredeems your cash back rewards as either a deposit into your U.S. Bank savings, checking or money market account or as a statement credit. It does not impose a minimum threshold.

Cash Back Rewards Thresholds

To redeem your cash back, you may need to earn a minimum amount. Discover sets various limits ranging from $20 to $50 to purchase a partner gift card. Other cards place no such limits. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of several credit cards with cash back that set no minimum thresholds, and instead lets users redeem their cash back whenever they want

There may be caps on the amount of cash back you can earn. Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card caps your cash back at $300 per calendar year. This amount excludes their $100 introductory signing bonus.

Don’t Lose Your Rewards – Cash In Frequently

If you can cash in, you should – frequently. By holding onto these rewards or waiting to cash in until you’ve attained a large sum, you run the risk of losing your cash back earnings. There are a few ways this may occur.

  • Expiring Cash Back Rewards or Card Inactivity.
    Though rewards expiration are becoming less and less frequent, there are issuers that still implement a “use it or lose it” policy. Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card has some pretty detailed rules. You get 5 “Dividend Dollars” for every individual $1,500 balance transfer transaction. These typically do not expire unless you fail to make a qualifying purchase at least once a year.
  • Delinquency or Account Closure.
    If you fall behind on your account, many issuers impose a forfeiture of any rewards you have earned. If this is not the case, but your delinquency leads to the closure of your card account, your rewards will be gone too.
  • Business Closure.
    If your card issuer goes out of business, your rewards go with it.

Ease of Redemption

How hard is it to redeem your cash back rewards? Some cash back cards offer “automatic redemption” meaning you need do nothing more than earn the rewards and your card issuer automatically credits the cash back to your account. In other instances, you will need to request a rebate, enroll or sign up for special rotating purchasing categories or fulfill some other requirement to get your rewards.

Be sure to look at all of these features when you select your cash back rewards. How many ways can your cash be redeemed? Does the cash back rewards program set thresholds and/or incremental amounts in order to redeem your cash back? What happens to your rewards if you’re late on your payments or if your account closes? How easy is it to access your cash back rewards? Get the facts before you apply.

About the Author

Elizabeth Boyd is a financial writer and paralegal. She has written extensively for the financial and credit card market for several years and feels strongly about making consumers aware of their choices and rights.

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