Need gas? Use plastic. Gas credit cards allow you to fill your tank all while putting a little bit of cash back into your pocket every fill up.
If you’ve been driving for more than 3 years now, you already know that gas isn’t as cheap as it used to be. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite: adding fuel to your vehicle is down right expensive. Depending on your vehicles gas consumption and your driving habits it’s not uncommon for some consumers to spend over $150 per week on fuel alone. A Minimum wage, full time job in the US will net you about $200 per week after taxes: so you do the math.
A gas credit card allows you to technically get paid, or paid back, simply for making a fuel purchase every time you fill your vehicle up. Some gas card companies offer instant rebates that add to your credit balance and some just send you a check in the mail on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or even if you’re living comfortably: putting that extra money in your pocket simply for filling your tank isn’t exactly a bad thing. Using a gas credit card will enable you to do just that. There are a multitude of choices in the gas credit card arena, though, and it would be wise to know what these differences are.
Your local filling station will likely offer their own branded gas credit cards. Companies like Shell, Chevron, Mobile, Conoco and 76 offer their own version of a gas card backed by some credit card company like Visa or Master Card. While in general these gas cards may offer you a good rebate at the local station; they might be worthless to you in terms of rebates on fuel when you’re traveling or even on the other side of town in desperate need of a fill up. Many recommend that you choose another option if possible.
Another option is to pickup a ‘regular’ credit card that specifically offers rebates or cash back on fuel purchases. These are generally accepted as the better deal in terms of gas credit cards: they offer discounts or rebates whether you’re refueling at Speedway/SuperAmerica, Quik-Trip or the local Marathon station. Doesn’t matter if you’re in California, New York, Texas or even Iowa: you’ll get the savings.
A word of caution: when using a gas credit card it is in almost every case imperative to pay off the balance of your gas card on a monthly basis to experience the savings that are associated with using the card. This is simply because of the interest. Gas credit cards usually have an interest rate of between 13% and 23% and if you are paying interest on your gas purchases, you’re likely eating up all of your savings and rebates in accrued interest. If you have a good credit rating you may be able to improve slightly on the offered interest rate, but in the end if you’re not paying off your balance on your gas credit card: the overall benefit is moot.
Pennies to dimes, dimes to quarters and quarters to many dollars saved; it all adds up. Over the course of a year it can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings for you. In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re using a Shell gas card or just a regular credit card that offers you a rebate or cash back on your fuel purchases: do your homework and choose the gas credit card that will work best for you and save you the most money. Gas credit cards really can be a fuel booster, if you use them right.