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|Credit Card Savings Accounts
Credit Cards for Saving Money
Some rewards cards want to help you beef up your savings accounts and retirement, but if you aren't careful they might cost you more than you save.
Many financial institutions now offer rewards cards to help you save by automatically contributing to your savings account, retirement plan, college fund or even your mortgage.
Two particular rewards cards are being marketed as an answer to our nation's poor personal savings rate. Each of these cards, however, has pitfalls to avoid which could undo most or all of the savings benefits. As always, carefully read the fine print of each offer, note how rewards are accrued and refrain from carrying balances. Otherwise any benefit gained from the savings reward program may be eliminated by interest costs.
Also, there's no one particular 'best credit card' for everyone. The right rewards program depends on how much you spend and other details of your financial lifestyle.
One thing is clear; though, even at their best no credit card can take the place of a disciplined savings and investing strategy. You still need to save on your own for retirement, college and emergencies; these cards can, at best, add a few bucks a year to those efforts.
Here are cards to consider (visit website for current rates, rewards, limits, terms and conditions):
Bank of America's Keep the Change - With this card, your purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and the excess amount; from 1 cent to 99 cents, is debited from your checking account and deposited into your savings account. BofA provides a 100% match for the first three months on these transfers and a 5% match thereafter.
American Express One Card's Savings Accelerator - American Express deposits 1% of your purchases into an FDIC insured high yield savings account run by its affiliated bank.
Fidelity Investment Rewards MasterCard - Fidelity deposits 1.5% of your purchases into a Fidelity brokerage or retirement account.
Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards Card - Fidelity deposits 2% of your purchases into your Fidelity-run 529 account.
Citi UPromise Platinum Select MasterCard - Citibank deposits at least 1% of your purchases into the 529 plan of your choice. The reward rate for gas purchases is 2% and the rate for certain grocery and drug store items is up to 10%. The credit card and applicable retailer-issued loyalty cards must be registered at UPromise.
Stockback Visa Credit Card from MBNA - The tiered rebate schedule depends on your monthly spending: 0.5% for the first $1,500 spent, 1% for the next $1,499, 1.5% for the next $2,000 and 2% for amounts over $5,000; no rewards for spending over $6,000 a month. Stockback deposits rewards in an investment account of your choice.
NestEggz Platinum Plus MasterCard from MBNA - NestEggz offers 1% rewards on purchases to be deposited in the retirement account of your choice.
Citi Home Rebate Platinum Select MasterCard - Citibank applies 1% of purchases toward the mortgage of your choice.