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Dec 122013
 
 December 12, 2013  Posted by  Features, Hot Deals, Money, Services
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This post was written by Beverly Harzog.

Beverly Harzog

Beverly Harzog

The holidays can be pretty stressful if you’re worried about paying your bills. One of the things I really like about cash-back credit cards is that they put a little dough back in your wallet.

The key to making a profit from a cash-back credit card is to promise yourself you’ll never carry a balance. That’s a good rule for every type of card, but especially for rewards credit cards. Why? The interest rates on rewards cards tend to be higher. If you carry a balance, you’ll wipe out any cash back you’ve earned.

Most of these cards have 0% introductory APR offers on purchases. But be very careful if you take advantage of them. Once the introductory rate period is over, you’ll pay a lot of interest if you’re carrying a balance.

Here are three cards that have great benefits.

Chase Freedom Credit Card

You know what folks love about this card? Currently, it comes with a $200 sign-up bonus. You can earn the bonus by making $500 in purchases within your first three months of opening your account. That shouldn’t be too difficult to do during the holidays!

People also like the rotating categories this card offers. Every quarter, you get a new set of categories that offer 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases. Right now, you get 5% cash back on Amazon and select department stores through Dec. 31, 2013. Note: You must sign up online to be eligible for the rewards.

You also get 1% cash back on all other purchases. And when you reach the cap on the 5% bonus category, you still get 1% on purchases in that category.

  • APR: You get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months. After that, you get a variable rate between 13.99% and 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Annual fee: None.

The Discover It Card

This card also offers rotating categories that change every three months. Right now, you get 5% cash back (up to $1,500 in purchases) on online shopping through Dec. 31, 2013.

Perfect for holiday purchases, right? Like the Chase Freedom card, you do have to sign up online to be eligible for the rewards. You get 1% cash back on everything else and when you reach the cap on the 5% bonus category, you still get 1 percent on those purchases.

  • APR: You get a 0% intro APR for 14 months. After that, you get a variable rate of 10.99% to 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Annual fee: None.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

This credit card’s a little different from the other two. Instead of rotating categories, you get extra cash back rewards on groceries, gas and merchandise purchased at department stores.

You get 3% on groceries (up to $6,000; then the reward rate drops to 1%), 2% on gas and at department stores, and 1% on everything else you buy. If you’re hosting guests over the holidays, the savings on groceries could be pretty significant.

You also get a decent sign-up bonus, though not as eye-popping as the one for the Chase Freedom card. You can earn 50 Reward Dollars if you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account. This can be redeemed for a $50 statement credit.

  • APR: You get a 0% intro APR for 15 months. After that, you get a variable rate between 12.99% and 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Annual fee: None.

Confessions of a Credit Card Junkie High Res OriginalBeverly Harzog is a nationally recognized credit card expert, consumer advocate and the author of Confessions of a Credit Junkie: Everything You Need to Know to Avoid the Mistakes I Made. She runs a popular credit card blog on her website, BeverlyHarzog.com. Beverly has appeared on Fox News, ABC News Now, CNN Newsource, and is a frequent guest on syndicated radio shows across the country, including ABC News Radio. Her advice can also be found in The Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, The New York Times, USA Today, Real Simple, Bankrate and more.

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