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Credit Cards 101


When it comes to credit cards, it seems like everyone has a different one; at the same time, there also seems to be a few that are quite common and popular. While there may be lots of options in the credit card market, they all fit into one of two categories: cash back cards, or points/miles cards.

Cash back cards give you a percentage of your spending back as cash, letting you use it any way you please. Points/miles cards convert a dollar amount into points, allowing you to get extra value by redeeming them for travel. When trying to decide which type of card is best for you, there are a few factors to consider.

Cash Back Credit Cards

Pros Cons

No annual fee No travel perks

Simple rewards Smaller sign-up / redemption bonuses

Flexibility Earning caps

Points/Miles Credit Cards

Pros Cons

Travel perks Complicated rewards programs

Sign-up / Redemption bonus Annual fees

Transfer options Possible expiration of points

Here are some questions to help you decide on a card:

Is the ability to transfer points to airlines and hotels important?

Will you put in legwork to learn about the rewards program?

How much does the sign-up bonus on the card matter to you?

Would paying an annual fee be an issue?

Are you likely to use the travel benefits and perks?

At the end of the day, either option lets you earn something on the spending you make, and that’s always a good thing. Once you’ve made a decision on one or the other (or maybe both types), make sure to do your research on the specifics of each card you plan to use.

Still have questions? The best thing to do is talk to a financial professional who can sit with you, calculate the numbers for what you’ll need versus want, and figure out what’s best.


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