Sunday, June 16, 2024

I Earn at Least 3% Back on All My Online Shopping, Thanks to These 2 Cards

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Not to sound like a total hipster, but I’ve been an online shopper since before it was cool, in the early 2000s and the days of Web 1.0. In my more than 20 years of buying stuff on the internet, I’ve seen shopping cart interfaces evolve and I’ve gotten much better at hunting down coupon codes before making a purchase. I’ve also learned how to maximize the money I spend online, thanks to cash back credit cards.

Online shopping is a pretty common bonus category for credit cards, but the level of points or cash back you can earn varies. These days, I’m earning at least 3% on all my online purchases, thanks to two credit cards in particular.

1. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

I’m a long-time customer (for banking, loans, and credit cards) of Bank of America, and its credit cards are a big high point for me. I’ve had the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card for several years, and it’s one that stays in constant use, thanks to its unique slate of bonus categories. It’s a card that is always useful, no matter how your spending shakes out!

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The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers 2% cash rewards at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and a minimum of 1% on other purchases. But you get your choice of six different 3% bonus categories that you can change every month, if you want:

  1. Gas and EV charging stations
  2. Online shopping, including cable, internet, phone plans, and streaming
  3. Dining
  4. Travel
  5. Drugstores and pharmacies
  6. Home improvement and furnishings

I’ve had my bonus category set to that second category for a few years now, but in the past, I had it set to gas and EV charging (this is a money-saving long-distance relationship hack). And now that I’m preparing to take ownership of the home I’m buying, I’ll soon be switching to home improvement and furnishings (temporarily — 3% back on paint and furniture sounds pretty good to me). In short, this card is a superstar for online shoppers — but also, really any kind of shopper. Those bonus categories are broad enough that I think just about anyone can benefit from this Bank of America card, especially if you’re already a BofA banking customer.

2. Prime Visa

Spend enough time in the credit card space, and you’ll hear often that store credit cards aren’t worth your time. This is true in many cases — but there is always an exception to the rule. That exception in this case is the Prime Visa, which is really an Amazon shopper’s best friend.

The Prime Visa earns 5% cash rewards on Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, and Whole Foods purchases, as well as on travel booked through the Chase Travel portal (this is a Chase card, after all). You can earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, ride-hailing, and other transit costs. And the base rate for the card is 1%, so that’s the minimum you could earn on any purchase.

The Prime Visa is somewhat unique among cash back cards in that you don’t have to wait until the end of the statement period to cash in your rewards. Instead, they’re available to use as soon as the next day — for me, this means I’m basically saving money on every Amazon purchase, since this is the only card I use there and I can easily click the button at checkout to apply earned cash rewards to a purchase.

This isn’t to say these two cards are the right pick for everyone, but they are definitely strong contenders (and I’m not alone in making that declaration — both appear on The Motley Fool Ascent’s list of the best credit cards for online shopping). And since neither has an annual fee, I’m not paying extra to use them (the Prime Visa does require an Amazon Prime membership, but I had one of those for years before getting the credit card). Both have clear and straightforward rewards programs, too.

So if you’re in the market for a new card to maximize your online shopping, give these two a closer look.

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