Happy Tuesday! Did anyone else watch the Emmys on Sunday? I was happy about all the love for Big Little Lies, but I also adored Feud, so was sad to see it shut out! (Also, would have appreciated some more love for The Crown.)
Talking about something a little different today — and only fashion related in the sense that you use credit cards to make purchases. I’m reviewing the cards I use, and sharing what I like about them, and what I don’t like. I have three, and I feel like each represents the “stage” of life I was in when I got them pretty well.
Nowadays, I use my credit cards for every single purchase I make, because I figure why not get cash back? But I want to preface this by saying that if you are going to get a credit card, you need to treat it like a debit card. Only buy what you can afford. If you’re not in a place to pay off your statement balances in full every month, don’t get a credit card. Missing credit card payments and accumulating interest can be catastrophic for your credit score and overall financial health.
For that reason, I won’t be talking about interest rates and APRs and such, because, to be frank, I don’t really understand them. When you pay off your card in full every month they aren’t a factor, so I can’t really speak to that aspect of the card. What I will speak to is what I know and what I like about each of these cards.
Discover Cashback Bonus
A lot of people’s first cards are Discover, because they’re easier to get when you’re young and haven’t built up much credit yet. My mom encouraged me to apply for this one during my sophomore year of college and just starting putting a meal or two on it every month in order to start building up some credit. It’s definitely a good starter card and an easy way to get into the credit card game. However, if you’re a little older you might you want head straight to a Visa or MasterCard.
As for cashback, they choose different categories every three months, but you get 5% back on each. Right now it’s restaurants, and starting in October, it’s Amazon and Target. They also usually have other various deals going on (10% cashback at Macy’s, etc.) but it can be confusing to keep track of all the deals and what you get the cashback on.
To be honest, I hardly use it anymore. I actually keep it in my nightstand drawer just in case I lose my wallet or get mugged, so I won’t be without a form of payment. I used to keep my Spotify on it, but now I get 50% cashback on that on my Capital One card, I don’t use it for that anymore, either! There’s no annual fee, however, so it’s no skin off my back.
Capital One Quicksilver
When I graduated from college, I wanted a card that wasn’t a Discover since they’re often not accepted abroad (and even some places in the states.) Also, since I frequently travel out of the country, I wanted a card that had no foreign transaction fees. And because I was a recent college graduate, I wanted a card without an annual fee.
The easy answer was the Capital One Quicksilver. All Capital One cards come without foreign transaction fees, so it was the first company I looked at. It also has a great cashback policy — 1.5% on everything — which is a pretty good percentage, and it’s nice that it’s universal, so you never have to think about where you’re using it.
I also like the Capital One tech features. They have a “wallet” app that sends you a notification every time you make a purchase, which I like for security purposes. You also can request credit line increases online, which is so easy compared to making a call or actually visiting a branch.
This was pretty much the only card I used my first 2.5 years in the city, and it’s a good one! I’d say it’s a great card to have for the everyday. You know you’ll at least be getting 1.5% cashback on each purchase, so you can always feel like your purchases are benefitting you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Earlier this year, I realized for the amount of travel I’m doing, I should really have a travel benefits-specific credit card. I was debating between the Capital One Venture card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and ultimately with the Chase card after reading several reviews about how great the signup bonus is.
The signup bonus is great. You get 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months, so I’d recommend opening the card before you know you have some big purchases coming your way. (I bought my flights for my trip to Asia later this year within a week of opening the card.) I’d also recommend covering dinners out with friends or show tickets and having your friends Venmo you. If you cover enough of those purchases, plus put everything you buy on it, you’ll get the bonus in no time.
This card uses “points” instead of cashback, which is a bit less clear-cut in terms of what you get back, but still great. The Sapphire Preferred really is a card for travelers, so your points are worth the most when you’re redeeming them for travel versus Amazon purchases or something else. I used mine for direct flights to London and back to NYC from Paris, which cost about 35,000 points, or $450. The one thing is you have to book your flights through the Chase travel rewards website, which I’ve found to have even better deals than Google Flights does. (There was no $450 direct flights on British Airways on Google!) Best of all, I still had nearly half my points left.
You get two points for each dollar spent on travel or dining, and one point for each dollar spent on everything else, so if you buy a lot of food, Ubers, and that sort of thing, you can accumulate points pretty quickly. There is also no foreign transaction fees, making it an even better choice for travelers.
Perks this good don’t come for free. The card does have a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. To me, it’s worth it, as I’ve already saved $500 on flights, which more than pays for the card. This was the first card I really researched before applying for.
A note on travel cards: I thought about getting an airline card, but honestly, I’m not at the place yet in my life where I can turn down the cheapest option, like Norwegian, to fly my airline if it’s a bit pricier. As such, a more general travel benefits card seemed to fit me better.
I hope this was helpful and informative if you’re in the market for a new card! What credit cards do you have? Should I add another one to my repertoire?