Cash-back reward credit cards are very popular. But with so many cards out there and so many rules, you may not be getting as much money as you could.
Consumer Reports has a new online tool that makes it easy to find the best cash-back rewards cards.
After a lot of tedious research, Audrey Mosello found three cash-back rewards cards that she juggles to maximize benefits. One is primarily for gas. Another for groceries. The third gave her a generous sign-up bonus.
"It's great. I love it. You know when you're on a budget it always helps to be able to save wherever you can," Mosello said.
Consumer Reports' Mike Saccucci has analyzed more than 50 cash-back cards and said they can be a very good deal.
"It's like found money. Depending on your particular spending scenario, you could save hundreds of dollars each year, maybe even thousands," Saccucci said.
So what are the best cash-back credit cards for the average American household?
If you use the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card for three years, that is your best bet. It pays back six percent on groceries for the first $6,000 you spend a year, three percent on gas, 1 percent on all other purchases. Although it charges an annual fee, it could save the average household more than $1,300.
Two runners-up: Citi Double Cash Card and the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature. Each pay back 2 percent on all purchases and charge no annual fee. They'll save the average family around $1,200 in the first 3 years.
Mike created a free online tool to help you find the right card for your spending pattern, available at www.consumerreports.org/cashbackcards.
Just enter your monthly spending for gas, groceries, restaurants, travel and everything else. Then up pop your best cards.
But keep in mind, if you don't pay the card off in full every month, your cash-back rewards can be wiped out by interest charges. If you incur a late fee, you could lose your points for that month.
With any cash-back card, Consumer Reports said it's a good idea to check the card websites regularly to make sure the terms haven't changed.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2016. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
Consumer Reports: Best cash-back cards