Best credit cards for streaming services

Catching your favorite show or movie via streaming service is commonplace in this day and age – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – and doing so using a smart device other than a standard computer has gained popularity in recent years.

In fact, 2020 data out of the Leichtman Research Group found that 80% of T.V.-owning households in the U.S. have at least one internet-connected T.V. device – from streaming devices like the Roku Streaming Stick to video game consoles like Nintendo Switch to standard smart T.V.s. And with the uptick in internet-connected T.V. devices, one can assume the popularity of streaming services (coupled with Americans’ ever-heightening presence online) may have something to do with it.

As the popularity of streaming services grows, U.S. households are increasingly cutting the cord with cable

Research published as recently as this year by the Leichtman Research Group indicates that “82% of U.S. households have at least one streaming video service” from 11 of the top direct-to-consumer and subscription-based video-on-demand services – a slight increase from its 2019 findings.

At the same time, numerical estimates from eMarketer forecast that an additional 6.6 million U.S. households will “cut the cord” with cable T.V. subscriptions in 2021, bringing the projected total number of U.S. cord-cutters to 31.2 million.

Overall, it can be inferred that the COVID-19 pandemic could have something to do with these numbers as Americans look for more ways to stay entertained while under stay-at-home orders.

Got streaming subscriptions? A rewards card can help

If you happen to be juggling streaming service subscriptions for personal use – or even to stream calming tunes at your small business or within your (virtual) second-grade classroom, for example – odds are you’re spending a decent amount on these services per month. And while financial tools like a rewards credit card can be helpful, streaming services probably aren’t the first bonus category you check for when scoping out the most “rewarding” card options.

Since these purchases likely make up less of your budget, it makes sense that they won’t be your first priority. Thankfully, though, many great rewards and cash back credit cards now include streaming service bonuses in addition to their ongoing rewards and perks. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorite cards that reward streaming.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card*: Best for earning rewards on streaming with no annual fee

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for earning rewards on streaming with an ongoing annual fee
  • Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating category enthusiasts
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for Amazon Prime loyalists
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card: Best for everyday spending
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card: Best for streaming credit
  • Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*: Best for dinner and a movie
  • Best for earning rewards on streaming (no annual fee): Wells Fargo Propel

    For cardholders who prefer a rewards card with no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card is a great option. It offers 3X points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services. Cardholders also earn 1X point per dollar on other purchases. Based on the average person’s spending habits, we estimate this card offers an average rewards rate of 1.78 points per dollar, one of the highest rates you can find on a card with no annual fee.

    Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card*

    Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

    Why should you get this card?

    The Wells Fargo Propel card is one of the best no-annual-fee travel cards on the market, thanks to its 3X point bonus.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 3X points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services; 1X point per dollar on other purchases
    • 20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
    • $0 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    If you were to spend $29 a month on streaming services, you’d earn 1,044 points annually with this card. That’s just over $10 a year in cash back from streaming purchases.

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards on Wells Fargo Propel

    This card’s video streaming service category includes a number of popular providers. Eligible partners include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Now and more. You can also earn rewards on eligible music streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify Premium and Pandora. With so many providers included, it’s easy to rack up points on your subscriptions.

    Other card perks to consider

    Beyond offering a good rate on streaming services, the Wells Fargo Propel comes with several other perks that make it a valuable option. New cardholders can enjoy a generous sign-up bonus of 20,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, the Propel card’s bonus categories are particularly valuable for frequent travelers, as they include gas stations, transit, travel and dining purchases.

    Best for earning rewards on streaming (with an ongoing annual fee): Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is a great choice for cardholders looking to earn cash back on streaming service purchases, and the card’s terrific ongoing rewards rate should make it easy to offset the $95 annual fee after the first year.

    You’ll earn 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (for up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% on transit and U.S. gas station purchases, and 1% on general purchases.

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Why should you get this card?

    The Blue Cash Preferred card helps take the sting out of long commutes by offering a generous point bonus on U.S. gas station spending, and it offers one of the highest cash back bonuses you can get when you use your card at U.S. supermarkets.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases and 1% cash back on other purchases
    • $150 statement credit if you spend $3,000 in first 6 months
    • 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in first 6 months, up to $200 back
    • Free ShopRunner membership
    • $95 annual fee is waived the first year
    • Terms apply

    The 6% cash back on streaming services is the most generous bonus on this category currently available among rewards cards – especially since there is no cap on how much you can earn. If, like the average person, you pay about $29 each month on various services, you can earn more than $20 a year in cash back on those purchases alone.

    Streaming services eligible for cash back on Blue Cash Preferred

    The Blue Cash Preferred card also boasts a robust list of eligible streaming services, including popular options like Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV, Spotify and Disney+, as well as HBO Max.

    Keep in mind, however, that according to Amex, “If your subscription is bundled with another product or service or billed by a third party (such as a digital platform, a cable, telecommunications, or internet provider or a car manufacturer), your purchase may not be eligible.”

    In other words, if you have an add-on subscription to a service like HBO included as part of your cable service, you won’t earn bonus rewards even if you pay that bill with the Blue Cash Preferred.

    Other card perks to consider

    On top of the highest rate of cash back currently available for streaming services, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a top-tier rate on U.S. supermarket purchases (6% on up to $6,000 in purchases a year, then 1%). If you spend a lot on groceries each month, this card is one of the most rewarding options available. Even with the $6,000 per year spend cap, you can rack up quite a bit of cash back.

    Best for rotating category enthusiasts: Discover it Cash Back

    If you enjoy tracking quarterly rotating categories for higher cash back rates, the Discover it Cash Back might be your card of choice. The Discover it Cash Back publishes its quarterly rotating categories ahead of time.

    In 2021, the Spring (April to June, activate starting March 1, 2021) categories include select streaming services. During the Spring quarter, if activated, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter in the bonus categories, then 1% after that. If you miss the Spring bonus quarter this year, keep an eye out to see if it’s offered again next year.

    Discover it® Cash Back

    Discover it® Cash Back

    Why should you get this card?

    The Discover it® Cash Back offers rotating quarterly rewards category, plus no annual fee.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
    • 1% cash back on general purchases
    • $0 annual fee

    Streaming services eligible for cash back on Discover it Cash Back

    The following streaming services are eligible in this category: Apple Music and Apple TV+, YouTube TV, Spotify, Disney+, HBO Max, AT&T TV Now, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling and Vudu.

    Note that if your subscription is bundled with another product or service billed by a third party, it may not be eligible in this category. The same goes for add-ons on select streaming services if they aren’t on the list of eligible services.

    Other card perks to consider

    The Discover it Cash Back card offers other great perks, including a sign-up bonus that matches your cash back at the end of your first year of card membership. In addition, it comes with a $0 annual fee and multiple easy options for how you can redeem your rewards.

    Best for Amazon Prime Video loyalists: Amazon Prime Rewards card

    The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is designed with Amazon fans in mind, making it one of the best options if your streaming service of choice is Amazon Prime Video. The card earns 5% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases (including your Amazon Prime membership), 2% cash back on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. In order to qualify for the card, an Amazon Prime membership is required – but the card’s 5% rewards rate can help offset the fee.

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

    Why should you get this card?

    The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card offers a great 5% rate on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases. and 1% back on other purchases
    • $70 Amazon gift card when you sign up
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Streaming services eligible for cash back on Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

    While Amazon Prime is technically the only streaming platform eligible for rewards, the Amazon Prime Rewards card should prove surprisingly flexible if you want to juggle multiple subscriptions. In addition to your Prime membership (which includes Prime Video and Amazon Music), you’ll earn 5% back on all Prime Video rentals and purchases, as well as on any subscriptions you add to your membership through Amazon Prime Video Channels.

    With Amazon Prime Video Channels, you can choose from more than 100 add-on video subscriptions, including premium channels like HBO and niche channels like PBS Masterpiece. Here is a brief selection of Prime Video Channels, all of which earn 5% back when added to your Prime Video account:

    • Acorn TV
    • BET+
    • BritBox
    • Cheddar
    • Cinemax
    • Epix
    • Hallmark Movies Now
    • HBO
    • Lifetime Movie Club
    • MLB.TV
    • NBA League Pass
    • Paramount+
    • PBS Masterpiece
    • PBS Kids
    • Showtime
    • Starz
    • Shudder
    • Sundance Now

    To earn rewards on these add-on subscriptions and any video rentals or purchases, be sure your Amazon Prime Rewards card is set as your default payment method for Prime Video. You can adjust this setting in the “Your Payments” section of your account, under “Settings” – or change your payment method for Prime Video Channels in the “Manage Your Prime Video Channels” section of your account.

    Other card perks to consider

    The Amazon Prime Visa also makes a great grocery card for users who live near a Whole Foods location. The 5% cash back you earn on these purchases is one of the best grocery rates available. Additionally, you’ll get a $70 Amazon gift card just for signing up. While this is not the highest sign-up bonus available among rewards cards, it doesn’t require you to meet any spend requirement, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the perk immediately.

    Best for everyday spending: U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

    If you want to earn rewards on an array of everyday expenses, including streaming services, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card is a terrific option without paying an annual fee. Along with the 4X points per dollar you’ll earn on takeout, dining and food delivery purchases, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations and streaming services, then 1X point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

    U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

    Why should you get this card?

    It charges no annual fee, offers an impressive rewards rate on a variety of everyday purchases and comes with the added perk of an annual streaming credit.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 4X points per dollar on dining, 2X points per dollar on grocery store, gas station and streaming service purchases, then 1X point per dollar on other purchases
    • 20,000-point bonus when you spend $1,000 in first 90 days
    • Includes an introductory APR on balance transfers and new purchases
    • No annual fee

    On top of its ongoing rewards on streaming service purchases, the card offers a unique annual streaming credit: When you make 11 consecutive calendar month eligible streaming service purchases, you’ll receive a $15 credit (automatic statement credit will be applied within two statement billing cycles following the eleventh month; you are eligible for this credit once per 12-month period).

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards and credit on U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

    While U.S. Bank does not offer a full list of eligible streaming services, it’s safe to assume based on how merchant category codes are typically assigned that services like Amazon Music, Apple Music, AT&T TV Now, Disney+, Google Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, Slacker Radio, Sling TV, Spotify, Tidal, Vudu, YouTube Music and YouTube TV are included.

    Other card perks to considerinstant card number on approval. As soon as you’re approved, you can load your card number into your favorite mobile wallet and start earning rewards instead of waiting for it in the mail. You can also use the card to pay off a transferred balance or finance new purchases – a major plus considering how difficult balance transfer offers can be to come by.

    students with a limited credit history can also enjoy streaming service perks with the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One. You can earn up to $60 in streaming service credits: $5 per month for 12 months on select subscriptions when you pay on time. Some exclusions apply, but popular services like Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix are included.

    Best for streaming credit: U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card

    The streaming service earning on the newly launched U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card is pay, but it makes up for it with a slightly higher credit of $30 for annual streaming service purchases. Plus, you can still rack up plenty of rewards with the card’s 4X rate on gas and travel, 2X on groceries (including grocery delivery), dining and streaming services and 1X on everything else.

    U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature®

    U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card

    Why should you get this card?

    The new U.S. Bank Altitude Connect offers a leading rewards rate on gas and travel, and its TSA Precheck/Global Entry application fee credit can help offset the annual fee.

    Other things to know:

    • 4 points per dollar on travel and at gas stations
    • 2 points per dollar at grocery stores and on grocery delivery, dining and streaming services
    • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
    • 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 120 days
    • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
    • $30 credit for annual streaming service purchases such as Netflix and Spotify
    • Receive up to $100 in statement credits for reimbursement toward your TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee once every four years.
    • No foreign transaction fees

    While the card does offer 2X ongoing rewards on streaming service purchases, the annual streaming credit offers the real value. Like with the Altitude Go Card, you just need to make 11 consecutive calendar month eligible streaming service purchases, and then you’ll receive a $30 statement credit.

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards and credit on U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Card

    There is not a full list of eligible streaming services publicly available, but services like Amazon Music, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube TV are said to qualify.

    Other card perks to consider

    In addition to its high earning rate on travel and gas purchases, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card comes with a statement credit of up to $100 to cover your TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee. Since the annual fee on this card is only $95 (waived in the first year), you can easily offset the cost on the years you use this credit. (Note, membership to these programs last five years.)

    Best for dinner and a movie: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has long been a favorite for foodies, thanks to its generous earning rate on both dining and grocery store purchases. But this fan-favorite recently got an upgrade – and with it a new, enhanced rate on streaming service purchases.

    Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Why should you get this card?

    The Capital One Savor card offers one of the best cash back rates on dining and entertainment purchases combined.

    Read full review

    Other things to know:

    • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
    • 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and streaming services
    • 3% cash back at grocery stores
    • 1% cash back on other purchases
    • $300 if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
    • $95 annual fee

    Streaming services eligible for bonus rewards and credit on Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    There is not a full list of eligible streaming services publicly available, but services like Hulu, Disney+ and Netflix are said to qualify.

    Other card perks to consider

    The Savor card also recently enhanced its earning rate on grocery store purchases, making it more valuable for those who prefer eating in to dining out. So whether you’d rather order takeout (earning 4% cash back) or stock up for cooking your own meal (3% cash back), the Savor will reward you for your next movie night.

    Final thoughts

    While streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV or Tidal might not make up the biggest part of your monthly budget, you can still bring in great rewards on your membership fees by choosing the right rewards card. Whether you prefer a dining, grocery or travel card, you can combine rewards on various purchases with a streaming bonus to maximize points or cash back.

    *All information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

    Source: creditcards.com

    4 Ways To Use Credit Card Rewards To Help Pay For A Wedding

    Your wedding can be one of your biggest life expenses, depending on what you include in your ceremony and reception. The average expense for a wedding has consistently risen over time, to a point that now the average wedding costs in the range of $30,000. If you’re looking to get married soon, Mint can actually help you create a separate wedding budget to help you manage those costs. 

    In this article, we’ll talk about how you can use credit card rewards to help pay for a wedding. And while you’re unlikely to be able to pay for your entire wedding with credit card rewards, every little bit saved helps.

    Planning a wedding

    If you have a wedding coming up, the first thing that you’ll want to do is create a budget. Just like with your regular expenses, having a budget is an important step in keeping your costs down. Without a written budget, your costs have a tendency to go up and up without end. 

    One important thing to keep in mind is that a budget can be as strict or as loose as you want it. Some people prefer to handle cost overruns by reducing the budget in other categories to compensate. Others choose to just increase the budget if costs are higher than expected. No matter how you decide to handle it, having a written budget means that you’ll make a conscious decision about it rather than just having expenses rise without you realizing it.

    Paying for your wedding with credit cards

    One way that you can help offset some of the costs of a wedding is via credit cards and credit card rewards. If you average a 2% return in credit card rewards on a $30,000 wedding, that’s $600 back. Of course, the easiest way to save money paying for your wedding is to have a smaller wedding, but that may not be an option for you, depending on your specific situation.

    There are a few things that you’ll want to consider if you are talking about paying for your wedding with credit cards. The first is that paying for everything with credit cards does make it much easier to lose control of your spending. Just like with anything else, you should only spend money on credit cards that you have in the bank. That way you can always make your credit card payment in full, each and every month.

    The other thing to consider when paying for a wedding with credit cards is that not every vendor might accept credit cards as a form of payment. This is especially true for individuals or smaller businesses. And those that do take credit cards may charge a processing fee. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to pay a 2.9% credit card processing fee to get 2% back in rewards. In those cases, it’s better to pay with cash, a check, or a payment service. You might also ask if there would be a discount for paying in cash — again, that could be more lucrative than any rewards you get from paying with a credit card.

    Getting signup bonuses with all that spending

    One option for making the most out of your credit card rewards that you might want to take advantage of is signing up for new credit cards that offer attractive welcome offers. Many credit cards offer signup bonuses for new applicants with a value of hundreds of dollars or more. These offers usually have a spending requirement associated with them, which isn’t a problem if you’ve got all those wedding expenses. Just remember to watch out for the many overpriced wedding items that you might want to avoid.

    Using credit card rewards to pay for your honeymoon

    Another way that you can use credit card rewards is to help pay for your honeymoon. Many credit cards offer rewards such as airline miles, hotel points or other types of travel rewards and benefits. Signing up for a few key credit cards can be a great way to splurge on a honeymoon to remember at a fraction of the cost. Flying in first class or staying in luxury resorts is something that may be much more in reach by using miles and points than if you were to try to pay for it with cash.

    The Bottom Line

    Smart usage of credit card rewards can be a great way to help pay for a wedding or, at the very least, get a rebate on all of the spending you’re doing. Make sure to set a budget to help stay out of wedding debt and use credit cards as part of your spending strategy. Following these simple steps can help you maximize your credit card rewards without hurting your overall credit score. Watch out for vendors that charge credit card processing fees and don’t use your credit card as an excuse to spend money that you don’t have.

    The post 4 Ways To Use Credit Card Rewards To Help Pay For A Wedding appeared first on MintLife Blog.

    Source: mint.intuit.com

    Americans Are Finally Paying Off Credit Card Debt — How to Join Them

    Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

    Now, with AmOne, you don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all.  Plus, AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
    Plus: No credit card payments for you this month!

    Source: thepennyhoarder.com
    It takes less than a minute and just 11 questions to see what loans you qualify for — you don’t even need to enter your Social Security number. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, banks expected delinquencies to surge, forcing borrowers to rely on their credit cards to make ends meet, The Wall Street Journal reported. But then the government stepped in with stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits. It allowed borrowers to pause payments on mortgages and student loans. So that surge of delinquencies never happened.
    Wouldn’t it be great to turn the tables on them? Well, now a lot of people are. More and more Americans are simply paying off their credit card balances, and that’s making credit card companies like Capital One, Citibank and Chase really, really nervous. That’s because their whole business model is based on gouging you.
    “Americans are paying down their credit card debt at levels not seen in years. That is good news for everyone but credit card issuers,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Many card issuers rely on growing card usage and balances for their revenue, and they are wondering if the pandemic trends will turn into a long-term shift.”

    They’re Getting Awfully Nervous

    Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little revenge and make your credit card companies sweat for a change? Now you can, and it’s easier than you think.
    A free website called Credit Sesame makes it easy to put your credit score on track to reach your goals. Within two minutes, it’ll give you access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
    The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have significantly lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster.
    Why is this happening?
    This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
    If you’ve got credit card debt, you know how painful it is. It’s the most expensive kind of debt you can have, and your credit card companies are just getting rich and fat while they gouge you with high interest rates.

    How to Beat Your Credit Card Company

    Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He paid off all his credit cards, and wow did it feel good.
    Credit cards charge you harsh interest rates that routinely rise north of 20% APR. But if you owe your credit card companies ,000 or less, a website called AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off all your balances.
    Overall, credit card balances are down nearly 15% compared to a year before, according to the credit reporting firm Equifax.
    Now, “it appears that many households are working to reduce their revolving debt balances, and this is happening across the board,” the Fed wrote.
    These days, credit card companies are sweating bullets because Americans’ credit card balances are falling. They shrunk by a whopping billion in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, according to data released last week by the New York Fed,
    Revenge is sweet.
    Stop shoveling money into high-interest credit card payments. Cackle along with the rest of us as credit card companies express deep concern in earnings calls, sweating over their plummeting profits.
    If you’re interested in getting a personal loan to wipe out your credit card balances, it helps to have a good credit score.
    For big credit card issuers like Capital One, Discover and Synchrony (the largest issuer of store credit cards), balances are down by 17%, 9% and 7% compared to a year ago, those companies reported.

    How To Get The Most Out Of Your Auto Insurance Coverage

    Recent data suggests that the average driver will spend close to $100,000 on car insurance over their lifetime. That’s a staggering sum of money, especially when you consider estimates that suggest Americans will pay over $500,000 in that time just to own, operate, and maintain a car.

    $100,000 is a lot of money to spend on something that you may never benefit from, something that you’re only buying because your state authorities told you too. But while car insurance policies are essential, the amount that the average consumer spends on them is not.

    In this guide, we’ll look at the ways you can save money on auto insurance premiums and get the most value out of this necessary expense.

    Build Your Credit Report

    Never underestimate the value of a high credit score and a clean credit report. Not only can it help when applying for a car loan, increasing the value of the car you can purchase and decreasing the interest rates you’re charged, but it will also reduce your car insurance rates.

    There is no easy and quick way to turn a bad credit report into a good credit report, but there are a few simple changes you can make that could increase your score enough to make a difference. These include:

    • Stop applying for new lines of credit.
    • Become an authorized user on a respectable user’s credit card.
    • Increase credit limits on your active credit cards.
    • Pay off as much debt as you can, focusing on credit cards and personal loans first.
    • Don’t close your credit card accounts after clearing them.

    If you don’t have any credit at all, which is true for many teen drivers getting behind the wheel for the first time, try the following options:

    • Credit builder loans
    • Secured credit cards
    • Lending circles

    Choose Your Car Carefully

    A new car is a great way to get a high-tech, customized vehicle, but it’s not ideal if you’re looking to save on insurance costs.

    New vehicles cost more to insure because they are a greater liability, with more expensive parts and greater overall value. If you want to save on your auto insurance coverage, look for a car that is at least a few years old, has a number of safety features and a high safety rating.

    The cheaper, the better, but only to a point. You want something that won’t leave you in complete financial ruin if it’s wrecked in a car accident and you don’t have the insurance to cover it, but something that won’t breakdown every few miles and leave you stranded and broke every other week.

    Drive Safely and Prove Your Worth

    Your driving record is just as important as your credit report, if not more so. The more at-fault accidents, traffic tickets, and insurance claims you have, the higher your car insurance rates will be.

    A single conviction won’t last forever and the impact will eventually dissipate, so even if you have a few blemishes on your record now, just keep driving safely and you’ll be able to reap the benefits before long.

    It takes time to prove your worth to insurance companies, but there are a few things you can do to expedite this process. The first is to take a defensive driving course. In some states and for some demographics (mostly seniors and young drivers), you’ll be offered a discount for completing one of these courses.

    The next step is to consider a usage-based program. These are offered by most major insurance companies and can track your driving habits to determine what kind of driver you are. If you’re driving safe and doing very low mileage, you could start seeing some noticeable changes in just a few months. The majority of providers will even give you a discount just for signing up.

    Pay Everything Upfront

    Most policyholders pay their premiums monthly and it may seem like that’s the best thing to do. $100 a month seems infinitely more manageable than $1,200 a year. 

    It is an attitude that many people have, and it’s one that often leads to debt and poor decisions.

    Millions of Americans have credit card debt because a $200 monthly payment seems more achievable than a $5,000 payoff, even though the former carries a phenomenal interest rate. It’s also why countless first-time buyers rush into getting mortgages with small down payments and high-interest rates, even though doing so could mean they are paying twice as much money over the term.

    Whenever you can benefit from making an upfront payment, do it. This is true for your loan debt and credit card debt, and it’s also true for your car insurance premiums.

    Many insurance providers offer you an upfront payment discount of up to 5%. It doesn’t sound like much, but every little helps. If you have a $3,000 car insurance policy, that 5% adds up to $150. Add a few more discounts and you can save even more money and make an even bigger dent in your insurance rates.

    Combine Policies and Vehicles

    Insurance companies that offer multiple types of insurance tend to offer discounts when you purchase several products from them.

    Known as multi-policy discounts or “bundling”, these offers are common with homeowners insurance and auto insurance, but they are also offered with renters insurance and life insurance.

    You can combine several vehicles onto the same auto insurance policy, as well, saving much more than if you were to purchase separate policies.

    These discounts are essential for multi-car households, but they are not limited to cars. Many insurers will also let you add boats, ATVs, motorcycles, and other vehicles onto the same policy.

    Shop Around

    Before you settle on a single policy, shop around, compare as many car insurance quotes as you can, try multiple different insurance options (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage) and make sure you’re getting the lowest rates for the best cover.

    Too many drivers make the mistake of going with the same provider their friends or parents have; the same provider they have used for a number of years. In doing so, they could be missing out on huge savings. 

    You could be forgiven for thinking that all providers offer similar rates and that the difference between them is minor. But regardless of your age, gender, and state, the difference between one provider and the next could be up to 200%!

    Check if You’re Covered Elsewhere

    Car insurance companies offer a number of add-ons and optional coverage options. These are enticing, as they cover you for numerous eventualities and some of them cost just a few dollars extra a month. But all of those dollars add up and could result in you paying much more than you need for cover you already have.

    Roadside assistance is a great example of this. It will help you if you are stranded by the side of the road, assisting with services such as tire changes, fuel delivery, towing, and more. But if you have a premium credit card or are a member of an automobile club, you may already have that cover.

    The same goes for rental car coverage, which is often purchased at the rental car counter. Although it has its uses, if you have an auto insurance policy, travel insurance, and a premium credit card, you’re probably already covered. In fact, many Visa credit cards offer this service completely free of charge when you use your Visa to pay the bill, but only if you reject the waivers sold by the rental car company.

    Bottom Line: Best Auto Insurance Companies

    ​Car insurance coverage varies from state to state and provider to provider. There is no “best” company, as even the ones with consistently affordable rates will not be the best option in all states or for all demographics.

    In our research, we found that GEICO was consistently one of the cheapest providers for good drivers, bad credit drivers, and even high risk drivers. GEICO also offers personal injury protection, collision insurance, medical payments, uninsured motorist coverage, and more, making them the most complete provider for the majority of drivers.

    However, in some states, local farm bureaus come out on top, offering very cheap bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage, and giving policyholders a level of care and attention that they might not find with the bigger, national providers. USAA, which offers cheap car insurance to members of the military, also leads the way in the majority of states, but only for those who meet the criteria.

    Simply put, there is no right insurance provider for you, just like there is no right coverage. That’s why it’s important to shop around, chop and change your coverage options, and don’t assume that any type of coverage or provider is right for you until you’ve looked at the numbers.

     

     

    How To Get The Most Out Of Your Auto Insurance Coverage is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

    Source: pocketyourdollars.com

    What is Credit Card Churning? Dangers and Benefits

    Credit card issuers have consumers right where they want them, lending money at high-interest rates and earning money from many different fees. Even reward cards benefit the issuers, because all the additional perks and rewards they provide are covered by the increased merchant fees, which essentially means the credit card company offers you extra money to incentivize you to spend, and then demands this money from the retailers.

    It’s a good gig, but some consumers believe they can beat the credit card companies and one of the ways they do this is via something known as credit card churning.

    What is Credit Card Churning?

    Many reward cards offer sign-up bonuses to entice consumers to apply. Not only can you get regular cash back, statement credit, and air miles, but you’ll often get a reward just for signing up. For instance, many rewards credit cards offer a lump sum payment to all consumers who spend a specific sum of money during the first three months.

    Credit card churning is about taking advantage of these bonuses, and getting maximum benefits with as little cost as possible.

    “Churners” will sign up for multiple different reward cards in a short space of time, collect as many of these bonuses as they can, clear the card balance, and then reap the rewards.

    Does Credit Card Churning Work?

    Credit card churning does work, to an extent. Reward credit cards typically don’t require you to spend that much money to receive the sign up bonus, with most bonuses activated for a spend of just $500 to $1,000 over those first three months. This is easily achievable for most credit card users, as the average spend for reward cards is over $800 a month.

    If you have good credit, it’s possible to sign up to multiple credit cards, collect bonus offers without increasing your usual spend, and get everything from hotel stays to free flights, cash back, gift cards, statement credit, and more.

    However, it’s something that many credit card companies are trying to stop, as they don’t benefit from users who collect sign-up bonuses, don’t accumulate debt, and then pay off their balance in full. As a result, you may face restrictions with regards to how many bonuses you can collect within a specified timeframe. 

    What’s more, there are several things that can go wrong when you’re playing with multiple new accounts like this, as all information is sent to the credit bureaus and could leave a significant mark on your credit report.

    Dangers of Churning

    Even if the credit card companies don’t prevent you from acquiring multiple new credit cards, there are several issues you could face, ones that will offset any benefits achieved from those generous sign-up bonuses, including:

    1. You Could be Hit with Hefty Fees

    Many reward credit cards have annual fees, and these average around $95 each, with some premium rewards cards going as high as $250 and even $500. At best, these fees will reduce the amount of money you receive, at worst they will completely offset all the benefits and leave you with a negative balance.

    Annual fees aren’t the only fees that will reduce your profits. You may also be charged fees every time you withdraw cash, gamble, make a foreign transaction or miss a payment,

    2. Your Credit Score Will Drop

    Every time you apply for a new credit card, you will receive a hard inquiry, which will show on your credit report and reduce your FICO score by anywhere from 2 to 5 points. Rate shopping, which bundles multiple inquiries into one, doesn’t apply to credit card applications, so credit card churners tend to receive many hard inquiries.

    A new account can also reduce your credit score. 15% of your score is based on the length of your accounts while 10% is based on how many new accounts you have. As soon as that credit card account opens, your average age will drop, you’ll have another new account, and your credit score will suffer as a result.

    The damage done by a new credit card isn’t as severe as you might think, but if you keep applying and adding those new accounts, the score reduction will be noticeable. You could go from Excellent Credit to Good Credit, or from Good to Fair, and that makes a massive difference if you have a home loan or auto loan application on the horizon.

    Your credit utilization ratio also plays a role here. This ratio is calculated by comparing your total debt to your available credit. If you have a debt of $3,000 spread across three credit cards with a total credit limit of $6,000, your credit utilization ratio is 50%. The higher this score is, the more of an impact it will have on your credit score, and this is key, as credit utilization accounts for a whopping 30% of your score.

    Your credit utilization ratio is actually one of the reasons your credit score doesn’t take that big of a hit when you open new cards, because you’re adding a new credit limit that has yet to accumulate debt, which means this ratio grows. However, if you max that card out, this ratio will take a hit, and if you then clear the debt and close it, all those initial benefits will disappear.

    You can keep the card active, of course, but this is not recommended if you’re churning.

    3. You’re at Risk of Accumulating Credit Card Debt

    Every new card you open and every time your credit limit grows, you run the risk of falling into a cycle of persistent debt. This is especially true where credit card rewards are concerned, as consumers spend much more on these cards than they do on non-reward credit cards.

    Very few consumers accumulate credit card debt out of choice. It’s not like a loan—it’s not something they acquire because they want to make a big purchase they can’t afford. In most cases, the debt creeps up steadily. They pay it off in full every month, only to hit a rough patch. Once that happens, they miss a month and promise themselves they’ll cover everything the next month, only for it to grow bigger and bigger.

    Before they realize it, they have a mass of credit card debt and are stuck paying little more than the minimum every month. 

    If you start using a credit card just to accumulate rewards and you have several on the go, it’s very easy to get stuck in this cycle, at which point you’ll start paying interest and it will likely cost you more than the rewards earn you.

    4. It’s Hard to Keep Track

    Opening one credit card after another isn’t too difficult, providing you clear the balances in full and then close the card. However, if you’re opening several cards at once then you may lose track, in which case you could forget about balances, fees, and interest charges, and miss your chance to collect airline miles cash back, and other rewards.

    How to Credit Churn Effectively

    To credit churn effectively, look for the best rewards and most generous credit card offers, making sure they:

    • Suit Your Needs: A travel rewards card is useless if you don’t travel; a store card is no good if you don’t shop at that store. Look for rewards programs that benefit you personally, as opposed to simply focusing on the ones with the highest rates of return.
    • Avoid Annual Fees: An annual fee can undo all your hard work and should, therefore, be avoided. Many cards have a $0 annual fee, others charge $95 but waive the fee for the first year. Both of these are good options for credit card churning.
    • Don’t Accumulate Fees: Understand how and why you might be charged cash advance fees and foreign transaction fees and avoid them at all costs. The fees are not as straightforward as you might think and are charged for multiple purchases.
    • Plan Ahead: Make a note of the bonus offer and terms, plan ahead, and make sure you meet these terms by the due dates and that you cover the balance in full before interest has a chance to accumulate.
    • Don’t Spend for the Sake of It: Finally, and most importantly, don’t spend money just to accumulate more rewards. As soon as you start increasing your spending just to earn a few extra bucks, you’ve lost. If you spend an average of $500 a month, don’t sign up for a card that requires you to spend $3,000 in the first three months, as it will encourage bad habits. 

    What Should You do if it Goes Wrong?

    There are many ways that credit card churning could go wrong, some more serious than others. Fortunately, there are solutions to all these problems, even for cardholders who are completely new to this technique:

    Spending Requirements Aren’t Met 

    If you fail to meet the requirements of the bonus, all is not lost. Your score has taken a minor hit, but providing you followed the guidelines above, you shouldn’t have lost any money.

    You now have two options: You can either clear the balance as normal and move onto your next card, taking what you have learned and trying again, or you can keep the card as a back-up or a long-term option. 

    Credit card churning requires you to cycle through multiple issuers and rewards programs, never sticking with a single card for more than a few months. But you need some stability as well, so if you don’t already have a credit card to use as a backup, and if that card doesn’t charge high fees or rates, keep it and use it for emergency purchases or general use.

    Creditor Refuses the Application

    Creditors can refuse an application for a number of reasons. If this isn’t your first experience of churning, there’s a chance they know what you’re doing and are concerned about how the card will be used. However, this is rare, and in most cases, you’ll be refused because your credit score is too low.

    Many reward credit cards have a minimum FICO score requirement of 670, others, including premium American Express cards, require scores above 700. You can find more details about credit score requirements in the fine print of all credit card offers.

    Your Credit Score Takes a Hit

    As discussed already, credit card churning can reduce your credit score by a handful of points and the higher your score is, the more points you are likely to lose. Fortunately, all of this is reversible.

    Firstly, try not to panic and focus on the bigger picture. While new accounts and credit length account for 25% of your total score, payment history and credit utilization account for 65%, so if you keep making payments on your accounts and don’t accumulate too much credit card debt, your score will stabilize.

    You Accumulate Too Much Debt

    Credit card debt is really the only lasting and serious issue that can result from credit card churning. You’ll still earn benefits on a rolling balance, but your interest charges and fees will typically cost you much more than the benefits provide, and this is true even for the best credit cards and the most generous reward programs.

    If this happens, it’s time to put credit card churning on the back-burner and focus on clearing your debts instead. Sign up for a balance transfer credit card and move your debt to a card that has a 0% APR for at least 15 months. This will give you time to assess your situation, take control of your credit history, and start chipping away at that debt.

    What is Credit Card Churning? Dangers and Benefits is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

    Source: pocketyourdollars.com

    [Update] Amex Benefits Workshop – Which Merchants Code For Streaming, Wireless, Shipping Credits? (Sortable Table)

    Update 2/3/21: There are two AmEx deals on the Wireless category, and the data points within this table should work for those offers as well:

    • American Express Adds Wireless Credit To Delta, Hilton & Marriott Business Cards ($10-$15 Monthly Credit)
    • Amex Offers (Business Platinum/Gold): Get 4x Bonus Membership Rewards On Wireless, Shipping, Advertising, Gas and Office Supply

    (Table last updated on 10/1/20 at 12:40pm ET. If the table isn’t displaying properly, try incognito or CTRL+Shift+R.)

    Introducing Benefits Workshop for the new American Express statement credit offers in the Streaming, Wireless, and Shipping categories. There are many merchants mentioned directly by Amex (which we’ve also included in the table below), yet most will have to be dealt with by trial-and-error to ensure that a given merchants is categorized properly to be eligible for the credit.

    All the data points below are from DoC comments and from the Reddit thread that deals with this. We figured it’s easier for people to find things in a consolidated place in table form with easy search.

    • American Express personal Platinum card (all versions) get a $20 monthly Streaming credit and a $20 monthly Wireless credit from May through December 2020.
    • American Express business Platinum card gets a $20 monthly Wireless credit and a $20 monthly Shipping credit from May through December 2020. (There’s also the $200 Dell credit, but that one is basically straight-forward and don’t really discuss that in the table below.)
    • American Express personal Green card gets a $10 monthly Wireless credit from May through December 2020. 
    • Also bear in mind that these credit can be used in multiple smaller transaction, e.g. a $8 charge and a $12 charge will both be credited.

    I hope to expand this table over time as more data points come in – please contribute successes and failures in the comments below! I’ll also add these data points to our Payments Workshop as well.

     

    Merchant Tag Workshop Last Updated Source
    Acorn TV (RLJ Entertainment) Streaming Does not credit automatically 2020-07-02 Source
    Amazon balance reload Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
    Amazon gift card Streaming Does not work (but you can buy Kindle gifting to get credit) 2020-05-31 Source
    Amazon HP Instant Ink eCode Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
    Amazon movie rental Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Amazon Music Unlimited Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Amazon Prime subscription (student) Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
    Amazon Prime Video (movie purchase) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Amazon Prime Video (tv show purchase) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Apple app subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Apple book purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-12 Source
    Apple iCloud storage Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Apple ID account load (via app store) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Apple ID load Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Apple Music Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Apple Music 3-month subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Apple TV+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    AT&T Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    AT&T business wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    AT&T home phone service Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    AT&T in-store purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
    AT&T internet UVERSE payment Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
    AT&T Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    AT&T payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    AT&T payment on app Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    AT&T Prepaid Wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    AT&T TV Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    AT&T U-verse Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
    AT&T U-Verse Wireless Works 2020-10-01 Source
    AT&T wireless & internet bundle Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
    AT&T wireless bundle with Directv/etc online payment without login Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
    AT&T wireless/internet bundle Wireless Does not work 2020-05-11
    Audible Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Audible audiobook purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Audible monthly subscription fee Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Boost Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    CBS All Access Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Consumer Cellular manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Cricket wireless bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Cricket wireless bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Criterion Channel subscription (annual) Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
    Crunchyroll premium Streaming Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
    Dell.com (xbox gc) Dell Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Disney plus bundle (Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Disney+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    eBay shipping Shipping Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
    ESPN+ Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    FandangoNow Video Rental Streaming Does not work 2020-07-02 Source
    FedEx Office store purchase Shipping Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
    FedEx shipping at FedEx Office Shipping Works 2020-05-17 Source
    FedEx store purchase Shipping Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
    Frontier Internet/Ziply Fiber bill Wireless Does not work 2020-05-24 Source
    Fubo TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Good2Go mobile Wireless Does not credit automatically 2020-07-02 Source
    Google domain renewal Streaming Works 2020-06-12 Source
    google domains Streaming Works 2020-10-01 Source
    Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Works as Streaming, does not work as Wireless 2020-05-08 Source
    Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Sometimes works as Streaming, sometimes works as Wireless 2020-05-24 Source
    Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Does not work for either category 2020-05-24 Source
    Google Fi Wireless Works (as wireless) 2020-05-27 Source
    Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Works as Wireless (YMMV) 2020-06-12 Source
    Google Fi Streaming, Wireless Depends on how they code it 2020-07-02 Source
    Google Fiber bill Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Google Fiber monthly bill Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
    Google Fiber reload Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    Google music-album purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
    Google nest subscription Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Google Play in-app purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Google Play Music Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Google play reload Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Google Play Store – app purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Google Storage Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Google storage Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
    Google Voice load Streaming Works 2020-07-02 Source
    Google Voice number unblock fee Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
    Google Voice recharge Streaming Works 2020-05-24 Source
    H2O Wireless reload (pay as you go) Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
    HBO Max Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    HBO Now Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Hulu Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    iCloud storage fee (99c) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    iHeartRadio Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Kindle Book purchases (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Kindle eBook gifting purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
    Kindle subscription auto-renewal (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Kindle Unlimited (Amazon) Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Kindle Unlimited gift membership Streaming Works 2020-05-31 Source
    Luminary Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Metro by T-Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-12 Source
    Mint Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Mint Mobile Wireless Stopped working 2020-08-14 Source
    Mint Mobile Wireless Working again 2020-10-01 Source
    Mint mobile load Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Mint Mobile Uproam reload Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    MLB.TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    NBA League Pass Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Netflix Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Netflix DVD Plan Streaming Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Netflix paid in foreign currency Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
    netflix physical dvd plan Streaming ? 2020-05-08 Source
    NHL.TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    NordVPN subscription Wireless Does not work 2020-08-14 Source
    OnStar Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Optimum Online Wireless Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
    PackageBoss Shipping Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    Pandora Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Pandora Plus Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Philo subscription Streaming Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
    PhotoStamps.com Shipping Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
    pirateship Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Pitney Bowes postage meter Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Postal Annex Shipping Did not post automatically 2020-10-01 Source
    Pottery Barn Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
    Prime Video Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Pure Talk USA Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Red Pocket Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Republic Wireless bill payment Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
    sappclub.com Shipping Works 2020-10-01 Source
    Shipping label purchased via PayPal Shipping Does not work 2020-05-11 Source
    Showtime Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Shudder Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
    Siriusxm Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    SiriusXM gift card purchase Streaming Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
    SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Sling TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Sling TV Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Soundcloud Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    Spectrum internet Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
    Spectrum Mobile bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Spotify Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Spotify (edu subscription) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Spotify Family Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Spotify Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Sprint Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Sprint auto-pay Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Sprint bill auto-pay Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Sprint bill manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
    Stitcher Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Straight Talk Cell Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Subscription via Apple Pay Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    T-mobile (direct, postpaid) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile Apple Pay (T-Mobile Payments) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile autopay Wireless Works 2020-05-12 Source
    T-Mobile bill payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile equipment payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-mobile magenta Wireless Works 2020-08-14 Source
    T-Mobile manual payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile paid via Apple Pay Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile Prepaid Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    T-Mobile store purchase (accessories) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Tello.com Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
    Teltik Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
    Tidal Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
    Ting Wireless Conflicting data points if it works 2020-06-02 Source
    Ting autopay Wireless Works 2020-07-02 Source
    Total wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Tracfone Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Tracfone airtime purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Twigby Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
    Twitch Streaming Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
    Ua mobile family plan Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
    UaMobile load Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    UPS MyChoice Shipping Works 2020-05-08 Source
    UPS Store Shipping Works 2020-06-12 Source
    UPS Store notary service Shipping Works 2020-08-14 Source
    UPS Store shipping cost in-store Shipping Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    ups.com shipping purchase Shipping Works 2020-07-02 Source
    US Mobile Wireless Does not work 2020-05-13 Source
    USPS Change of Address fee Shipping Works 2020-07-02 Source
    USPS Gift shop Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
    USPS in-store stamps purchase Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
    USPS Passport acceptance fee Shipping Works 2020-08-14 Source
    USPS PO Box renewal Shipping Works 2020-05-13 Source
    USPS self-service kiosk Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
    USPS shipping label purchase Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
    USPS stamps purchased online Shipping Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Verizon Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Verizon accessory purchase online Wireless Works 2020-10-01 Source
    Verizon airpods pro purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Verizon cell phone purchase Wireless Works 2020-05-24 Source
    Verizon Fios Wireless Does not work 2020-05-08 Source
    Verizon Fios Wireless Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Verizon Fios Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Verizon fios (manual payment) Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Verizon in-Store physical gift card purchased Wireless Works 2020-05-31 Source
    Verizon monthly bill Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Verizon online (accessory purchase) Wireless Works 2020-05-17 Source
    Verizon online accessories Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
    Verizon Online Accessory Purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    Verizon Online Accessory Purchase Wireless Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works (YMMV) 2020-05-11 Source
    Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Does not work (YMMV) 2020-05-13 Source
    Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Does not work (YMMV) 2020-05-17 Source
    Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works when checking out as guest (maybe?) 2020-05-19 Source
    Verizon physical gift card purchased online Wireless Works 2020-05-30 Source
    Verizon shop purchase Wireless split purchase between cards via chat 2020-05-24 Source
    Verizon Wireless partial bill payment Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
    Viki.com via Apple Pay Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Vimeo Streaming Does not work 2020-06-12 Source
    Visible Apple Pay payment Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Visible Wireless Wireless Works 2020-05-13 Source
    VRV subscription (direct payment) Streaming Works 2020-05-11 Source
    VRV subscription (direct payment) Streaming Does not work 2020-07-02 Source
    Vudu purchase Streaming Does not work 2020-05-17 Source
    Xfinity Mobile Wireless Works 2020-05-11 Source
    Xfinity Mobile fractional payment by calling in Wireless Works 2020-06-12 Source
    YouTube Music Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    YouTube Premium Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    YouTube TV Streaming Works 2020-05-08 Source
    Youtube TV show purchase Streaming Works 2020-05-17 Source

     

    You can sort this in various ways:

    • Search a given merchant, e.g. usps or t-mobile.
    • Get a list of all Streaming or Wireless or Shipping data points by searching for that key word, e.g. streaming.
    • Toggle the date to find newly added data points.
    • Default setting sorts in alphabetical order.
    • You can update how many items you want to show at the top-left of the table. By default it shows 10.

    Source: doctorofcredit.com

    Prepare for Holiday Shopping with These Timely Credit Tips

    According to a YouGov Parent Survey in 2019, a quarter of parents entered the 2019 holiday shopping seasonstill paying down debt related to 2018 holiday spending. Deloitte numbers put holidayretail salesgrowth in 2019 at 4.1% year-over-year. In 2020, Deloitte predicts growth of between 1% and 1.5% year-over-year for the holiday season.

    It might be that some people no longer want to pay for holiday gifts, decorations and food a year down the road. But it’s also true that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit consumerwallets and some people might be cutting back this year.

    That doesn’t mean that people aren’t shopping. Google and other thought leaders note that changes to shopping habits and the need for social distancing and other measures will likely spread the holiday shopping season out longer. Shoppers are also likely to turn to online shopping.

    With a ton of shopping opportunities, a longer holiday shopping season and pent-up pandemic energy, it might be easy to overspend and create debt you’ll deal with into the future. Follow these tips to prepare for holiday shopping so you can protect your financial standing, save money and make the most of the resources you have this season.

    1. Check your credit scores

    Begin by checking your credit scores and reports. They tell you where you stand if you want to apply for credit. They also give you a baseline of where you are so you know if your score goes up or down later with no explanation.

    An unexplained drop in your credit score can be a sign your financial information is compromised. Unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for many scammers. Using a service, such as ExtraCredit’s Track It feature to keep tabs on 28 of your FICO scores, helps you know when you need to act to protect your credit.

    2. Ask for a credit limit increase

    If you have existing credit cards and you’re a cardholder in good standing, the months prior to the holidays can be a good time to ask for a credit limit increase. You’re not asking so you can spend more-it’s typically advisable to keep spending in line with your budget no matter how much credit you have.

    You’re asking for a higher limit so you can spend what you already planned to without hurting your credit utilization. Credit utilization is the second-most important factor in determining your credit score-second only to payment history. It’s the ratio between your credit limit and how much of that credit you have used.

    If you have a card with a limit of $1,000 and you spend $300, that’s a utilization rate of 30%. But if you get approved for a credit limit of $2,000 and you spend $300, that’s a utilization rate of only 15%, which is better for your score.

    3. Apply for a credit cardwith a 0% APR introductory offer

    Those with good or excellent credit might want to consider applying for a card with a 0% APR introductory offer. If you qualify for such a card, you typically have one or two years to pay off purchases made during the introductory period without accruing any interest.

    This can be a way to finance your entire holiday without paying anything more for the privilege of doing so. However, it’s still important to maintain your budget and not overspend just because you won’t be paying the balance off until later. Otherwise, you make this season’s holiday festivities next season’s problem.

    4. Pay down debt before-and after-the holidays

    Speaking of last season’s debt: If you can pay it down before you start spending this season, that’s a great accomplishment. It also frees up your credit and your budget so you can better enjoy the current holiday season. If you’re paying $100 a month on your debt, that’s $100 a month that might go toward gifts or celebrations that you don’t have to put on a card this year.

    If you do use credit to pay for the 2020 holidays, have a plan for paying it down as soon as possible. That’s especially true with 0% interest cards. The longer you wait, the greater the chance you’ll miss the introductory period and potentially be on the hook for a lot of interest expense.

    5. Create a holiday spending budget

    Whether you’re using cash or credit-or a mix of both-enter the 2020 holiday shopping season with a plan. Take an honest look at your personal budget. If you don’t have a budget, create one before you move forward. Then decide how much you can realistically spend during the holidays.

    Consider which gifts you want to buy and which events you want to host or attend. You might not be able to do everything, and that’s OK. Be honest with yourself, your family and your friends about what you can afford to do with your time and money this year.

    Then make a list and assign each item a monetary budget. That can include:

    • Gifts as a total
    • Gift extras, such as wrapping and tags
    • Shipping, both for receiving items you buy and for shipping gifts to others
    • Food and drinks
    • Travel
    • Decor
    • General festivities, such as tickets to holiday events

    Once you assign a dollar amount to a category, stick to it. That’s a good idea even if you’re spending with credit.

    6. Align budgeted spendingwith credit cardrewards

    Once you know how much you want to spend, decide how best to spend it. If you’re using credit cards for the holidays, check your accounts to see if any offer cash back or rewards points. If they do, double-check which categories or stores you can shop in to earn the most points with each card.

    For example, some travel rewards cards offer 6x points when you shop at supermarkets. You could use such a card to cover the food-and-drink portion of your holiday budget and reap the biggest rewards possible from that spending. You might also be able to maximize rewards when purchasing gift cards.

    7. Guard your financial information and identity

    As you enjoy holiday shopping, be on guard. Don’t use debit card PIN numbers unless you have to, and shield the keypad when you enter your information. Keep a close eye on your wallet or purse, and check your credit card statements regularly to ensure all charges are yours. You can also use ExtraCredit’s Guard It feature to help keep your identity and account information safe during and beyond the season.

    Sign up for ExtraCredit today!

    The post Prepare for Holiday Shopping with These Timely Credit Tips appeared first on Credit.com.

    Source: credit.com