I keep reading about maximizing cash back programs by using a rewards credit card. As a person who is just freshly out of credit card debt, getting another one of those suckers seems like an insane proposition. That experience has taught me loads about how to deal with them, though. And I am filled with an overwhelming desire not only to never pay one red cent more in interest to one of those companies, but to beat them at their own game. I am also tempted by the added protection a credit card offers compared to a check card. If anything fraudulent is charged on it, at least it’s not money that is GONE from my checking account, even if only temporarily.
After four plus years of paying off debt and not using a credit card at all, I am pretty comfortable with living far below my means. This is a lifestyle I will continue in order to fulfill my savings goals. Instead of paying off debt, I will be funneling money to my emergency fund at ING.
I am also firmly committed to keeping things simple, when it comes to my financial situation. If I were to get a credit card, I would only get one and use it for everything like I currently use my check card. I would track expenses in my register the same way, staying within my budget. The only added step would be paying the bill in full each month. This should only take a few seconds with online bill pay.
Unlike Free Money Finance who uses a combo method with American Express Blue Cash, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that extra layer of complexity. I would have to go with a single card and I would not consider getting anything other than a Visa or Mastercard. If I couldn’t use it for everything, I’d have to yank out the check card sometimes and cause some confusion. For that reason, I’m thinking about the Chase Freedom Cash Visa Card, which is the other card FMF uses and is also referenced in the Smart Spending article linked above. Both articles rank the Chase card second to the Amex in terms of possible rewards but point out that the Chase card can be more advantageous for those of us who do not spend as heavily.
I feel like for the effort of taking a few seconds to pay the bill each month, I could earn several hundred dollars a year and have an extra layer of protection on my purchases. However, I am in no rush to make this decision. It’s a big one for me and I’m just considering it at this point.
What do you think? Should I get the Chase Visa? Is getting one and using it to my own advantage a good idea or is it just tempting fate?