This is a guest post by Simon Ward of Lovemoney.com
Credit cards can be a great financial tool, providing you use them in the right way. For example, if you can clear your balance in full each month, cashback credit cards can be a nice little earner.
As the demand for this type of card has grown, credit card companies have begun competing aggressively to offer the most cashback. This is great news, as it means we can take advantage!
Let’s take a look at the top cashback cards around at the moment.
Free cashback cards
The Creation Cashback MasterCard pays 1.5% cashback on petrol and supermarket spending and 0.5% on all purchases. You can earn up to a maximum of £200 a year. It has a representative APR (the annual rate of interest and charges if you don’t pay off your balance in full each month) of 18.9%.
Although it’s really designed for people with a less than perfect credit record, the Aqua Reward MasterCard pays 3% cashback on all your spending, up to an annual limit of £100. It also charges no fees on foreign spending, so it’s a good option for taking on your travels. As it’s aimed at poor credit borrowers, it has a high representative APR of 34.9%.
If you’re a Sainsbury’s shopper, the Sainsbury’s Bank Cashback MasterCard offers 5% cashback on your Sainsbury’s shopping for the first three months, although this is capped at £50 a month. You’ll also earn £5 a month when you spend at least £250 a month on Sainsbury’s shopping and at least £250 a month elsewhere. This card has a representative APR of 17.9%.
If you do your shopping at Asda, the Asda Money MasterCard pays 1% back on Asda supermarket and petrol purchases and 0.5% everywhere else. And there’s no cap on the amount of cashback you can earn. It has a representative APR of 14.9%.
Finally, if you’re an AA member, you’re eligible for the AA Members Rewards Visa. This pays up to 4% cashback on your fuel spending and up to 2% on your other spending if you use the points you earn to pay for AA products such as breakdown cover. If you take the money in cash, the rates are 1% on fuel and 0.5% on other spending. The representative APR is 16.9%.
Sadly, the cards paying the most cashback all now come with fees attached, although in some cases you can avoid paying them for up to a year.
If you’re a bigger spender, the Barclaycard Cashback Visa offers 6% cashback on your five biggest monthly purchases in the first three months after you get your card. This is capped at a maximum of £120 over that period. After that, you can earn 2% cashback on your top five monthly purchases, providing you spend on it at least 15 times in a month, and 0.5% cashback on everything else. This card has an annual fee of £24 and comes with a representative APR of 24.8%.
Santander’s 123 credit card, as its name suggests, pays different rates of cashback for different kinds of spending: 1% for supermarket shopping, 2% at major department stores and 3% at all major petrol stations, on national rail and Transport for London travel. The cashback on fuel and travel spending is only paid out on a maximum of £300 spending a month. If you already have a Santander 123 current account, or you open one, this credit card is free. Otherwise, it costs £24 a year. The representative APR is 22.8%.
Meanwhile, the American Express Platinum Cashback card pays 5% cashback on up to £2,000 of purchases in your first three months. That means you can earn up to £100 back. You’ll then earn 1.25% cashback on all spending. The card has an annual fee of £25 and a representative APR of 18.7%. It’s also worth pointing out that American Express still isn’t accepted everywhere.
Things to remember about cashback credit cards
You can’t earn cashback by withdrawing money from a cash machine using a cashback credit card. This is a really bad idea under any circumstances, as you’re usually charged interest from the moment the money’s in your hand.
Always pay off your balance in full. If you start to pay interest, you’ll end up wiping out any cashback you’ve earned and it could cost you money.
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net