December has arrived and Christmas is just around the corner. As shoppers are looking to celebrate on the cheap, four cash back credit cards would help alleviate the financial pains of gift purchases.In a little over three weeks, gifts will have to be bought and wrapped in time to be put under the Christmas tree. With the economy on unstable footing, everyone is taking a more diligent, cost-saving approach to picking gifts.
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, holiday shoppers will spend an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise.
Four cash back credit cards are currently putting a little more savings for gifting during this holiday season.
The Citi Dividend World MasterCard®, Chase Freedom®, and Discover More cards are popular cash back credit cards with rotating bonus categories that change every quarter. The categories stated below apply to October – December 2011 quarter.
Citi Dividend World MasterCard®
The Citi Dividend World MasterCard® is doling out 5% cash back at electronics stores, toy stores, clothing stores, and department stores.
That list covers the majority of the types of gifts that Americans are likely to purchase for family and friends.
Citi Dividend World MasterCard® cardmembers can earn a maximum of $300 in cash back per calendar year. Unless you plan on spending $6,000 on Christmas gifts, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach this limit.
Current cardmembers would have to keep an eye on how much cash back they’ve earned and redeemed through the year to see if you’ve reach the limit. At that point, it’ll be wiser to use another cash back credit card.
Chase Freedom® is offering 5% cash back on dining, department stores, movie theaters, and charitable organizations. If you’re a fan of Kohl’s, a popular department store, you can get an additional 5% cash back (for 10% total).
The department store category is the only appropriate category for Christmas shopping, but Chase Freedom® cardmembers who choose to give back to the community during this holiday season will be rewarded with a little cash back.
Cash back can be earned on up to the $1,500 spent in the bonus categories, which means the maximum bonus cash back for that quarter is $95.
The Discover More card, the first to introduce quarterly-changing categories, is rewarding 5% cash back at restaurants, department stores, and clothing stores.
Again, department stores and clothing stores would be the best targeted categories for holiday gift shoppers.
Discover More’s bonus cash back is limited to $300 in spending – equivalent to $15 is bonus cash back for the quarter.
Additionally, Discover is handing out 2% cash back on up to $250 spent at Amazon.com, where you can buy almost anything.
Blue Cash Preferred from American Express
If the supermarket is your favorite spending destination, then Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express would make a worthy accomplice at the price of a $95 annual fee.
The card pays 3% cash back on purchases at supermarkets on purchases up to $6,000 (1% thereafter). While you may not expect to be buying Christmas gifts at a supermarket, many major supermarket chains sell gift cards for popular retailers.
American consumers are becoming increasingly receptive to gift cards to their favorite stores as opposed to items that don’t necessarily garner a smile on Christmas morning.
Blue Cash Preferred cardmembers can earn unlimited cash back.
If you are worried about the $95 annual fee, you should consider your spending habits to see if that fee is worth paying.
|Cash Back Credit Card||Cash Back Limits||Cash Back Categories||Signup Offers (as of 12/1/11)|
|Citi Dividend World MasterCard®||$300 in total cash back per calendar year||$200|
|Chase Freedom®||Up to $1,500/quarter spent in bonus categories||$200|
|Discover More||$300 spent in purchases in bonus categories||$150|
|Blue Cash Preferred from American Express||Unlimited||$150|
If you are not in the market for a cash back credit card, there are other cards that may fit your needs.