Are you one of those people who routinely chances an empty tank to avoid heading back to the gas station? Would you rather see the gas light on the dash illuminate and the miles till empty fall dangerously close to zero than watch idly as the numbers on the pump rise higher and higher? Well then you probably aren’t thrilled with the news that gas prices are once again set to top $4 a gallon. Many of us love driving our cars but hate being held financially hostage by the whims of the oil and gas markets. However, aside from driving less or buying a more efficient car, there isn’t much we can do to avoid high prices. Still, you can lower your financial burden by simply changing how you pay to fill up.
Though an under-utilized segment of the rewards payment genre, gas rewards credit cards have the potential to confer significant financial benefit upon their users. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Card Hub calculated that such rewards stand to help consumers save as much as $250 annually.
As is the case with any credit card, however, you need to find a gas rewards credit card that fits your specific needs in order to evoke its true potential.
There are basically two types of gas rewards credit cards: those that are affiliated with particular gas station chains—which provide relatively lucrative rewards on gas purchased at these stations—and those that are not, which confer less-lucrative rewards but allow users to earn them at any station across the country.
The particular card you select must essentially represent an appropriate balance between savings and convenience. If you only patron one gas station chain, opting for greater savings should be a no- brainer and you should open the card tied to that particular chain. If you typically make use of various gas stations’ services, you must determine the level of savings needed to limit your usage. If doing so is impossible, you ought to settle on flexibility.
No matter the type on which you settle, you will be met with myriad outstanding choices. Station-affiliated cards such as the Exxon Mobil Credit Card and Shell Credit Card provide significant gas rebates as well as rewards on non-gas purchases made wherever Visa and MasterCard is accepted.
In addition, the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express, the Blue Cash® from American Express, and the Capital One® No Hassle Cash Rewards Credit Card are all cash back credit cards that provide particularly lucrative rewards on gas purchases made at any station in the United States as well as high cash back rates in categories such as restaurant spending and travel expenses.
Whether rewards for non-gas purchases will actually provide any savings depends on how you plan to use your gas rewards credit card. If you will use your card just for gas, then they should obviously not be factored into card selection. You simply must not allow irrelevant “perks” to distract you from your true goal: lowering your gas costs. It is in this same vein that you should ignore a gas credit card’s APR. Since carrying a balance on a gas credit card negates its benefit and must therefore never be done, its APR becomes inconsequential.
Ultimately, finding the right gas credit card is about doing your homework before applying. So study up and get yourself one of these credit cards before rising gas prices make a dent in your pocket. Think about it, doing so is like making the numbers on the pump rise just a little bit slower.
This article was written by Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO and Founder of CardHub.com, a website that helps consumers compare credit cards and buy discounted gift cards.