If you drive a car, you would be a fool not to get a gasoline credit card to earn rebates whenever you fill up your tank. Aside from gas credit cards, there are also gas cards. There are significant difference between the two. In this post, we hope to educate you on how to choose them, why folks choose them and whether they are actually right for you.
Gasoline Credit Cards
Gas credit cards are used by savvy motorist to save money on their gasoline. Aside from saving at gas stations, they can also use their card at other places and earn cash rebates. If you are in the market for a gasoline credit card, there are a couple of nuance that you need to know before you choose the right card. Here’s what you have to be aware of.
- Gas stations have their own cards – which means that you can only use them at their stations. So if you have a Shell credit card, you can only use them at Shell stations to get your 5% rebates. For other stuff that you put on your card, you can only earn 1% rebates
- Some cards let you earn 3% to 5% rebates at ANY station – If you are the sort that use different gas stations, then getting a credit card that let’s you earn rebates at any gas station is a must
- Caps on rebates – While credit card companies offer rebates on gas cards as a means of acquiring new customers and gain loyalty, some card holders have been very savvy and charge huge amounts of their gasoline expenses to their card. This has led most cards to put a cap on how much gas spending you can put on a card. If you exceed that amount, you will earn a much lesser rebate. For example, the Discover OpenRoad Gas card limits you to $100 in monthly gasoline spending
- How you are paid? – Most gas cards simply take the rebates that you earn and credit them to your next statement. Some will pay you at the end of the year and and some will let you redeem your rebates once you have made a certain amount.
Gas cards are different from credit cards in the sense that you can only use them at the gas station. They are not Visas or Mastercard. And because gas cards are issued by individual gas stations, you can only use them at that particular station. So a BP Gas Card for example can only be used at BP stations. So you have to make sure that you only use one “brand” of gas stations to make it worthwhile. That remains the problem of a gas card (not credit card), which is you can only use it at that gas station. That will present a real inconvenience if that is your “only card” in your wallet. Sometimes you would wonder why would folks choose a gas card over a gas credit card (with a Visa or Mastercard). The reason is that gas cards also serve another purpose to consumers. And that is folks with poor credit or even no credit tend to apply for them because it used to be that even if you had really bad credit, you could be approved for a gas card.
There are alternatives to getting a gas card if you have poor credit or even no credit. There are many so called “no credit credit cards” available. You could apply for a store credit card like from Sears or Target. But you essentially run into the same problem with a gas card in that you can only use them at that particular chain of stores.
Another option instead of a gas card is to explore secured credit card offers instead. With these cards, you can use them anywhere as most of them are either Visas or Mastercards. These cards are also ideal for those who are new to the country and have no credit history. The downside is that you have to put a deposit with the credit card issuer that acts as a collateral and becomes your credit limit.
If you are a student, then you have the perfect option of getting student credit cards. These cards usually have no annual fee and being a student is the only time you can ever get a credit card without any credit history. Because they are either Visa or Mastercard, unlike a gas card, you can use them anywhere.
The only issue with these alternatives is that you do not get as high a rebates with the gas cards when you are buy gasoline at the gas stations. But they give you the convenience of using them elsewhere aside from gas stations. If you use a lot of gasoline because you drive a lot, a gas card may make sense if you have poor credit. However, if you do not go to the pump often, then it is better to consider other types of cards instead. If you consume a lot of gasoline and have good credit, then obviously a gas credit card is a no brainer.