Should I get whichever gas card has the highest rewards rate?
No. It’s natural for consumers to simply look for the card offering the best rewards, but in reality, whether you’re looking for a gas rewards credit card, an airline credit card, a hotel credit card, etc., the card with the highest on-paper rewards won’t necessarily be the most lucrative for you. For example, a card affiliated with a specific gas-station chain might offer the highest cash-back rate, but if it’s inconvenient for you to fill up there, the extra rewards won’t do you much good.
Keep that in mind as you consider the following gas credit cards, which are among our editors’ favorites:
2017’s Best Gas Credit Cards – Editors’ Picks
For the full list of what our editors consider to be the most rewarding gas cards on the market right now, check out our Best Gas Credit Cards page
Do I need to drive a certain amount for gas rewards credit cards to be worth it?
Yes. According to the Island Approach, you should get rewards credit cards that have benefits that match your top 2-3 spending categories. This way you can maximize your rewards without ending up with a million different credit cards in your wallet. Besides, if you only spend a relatively small amount on gas each month, a gas rewards credit card really wouldn’t do much for you. Say, for example, you only spend $50 a month on gas. Even if you get a gas rebate credit card offering 5% cash back, you’d only be saving $24 per year relative to a standard cash back credit card offering 1% across all purchases. That’s probably not worth the hassle (definitely not if an annual fee is involved). Ultimately, as a good rule of thumb, you need to spend more than $200/mo. for a gas card to be worthwhile.
Can I get a gas credit card with bad credit?
Most rewards credit cards
of any real value--gas cards included--require at least good credit for approval. Still, if you want the convenience of paying at the pump (especially important when it’s cold out or you’re in a hurry), you can simply open a secured credit card
. Secured credit cards boast essentially guaranteed approval, given that you are required to place a security deposit in opening one. The security deposit is fully refundable and acts as your credit line. As a result, not only will it be difficult to spend beyond your means, but you also benefit from the flexibility that comes with being able to increase your available credit at any time by simply adding to your deposit.
Things to know before using your gas credit card
Have you ever noticed that when you use a credit card to buy gas, the transaction gets approved or denied before you actually start filling up your car? If not, it’s definitely something to consider, especially for people with low credit limits and those who have opted-in for the ability to go over their credit limit. Credit card companies, unsure about how much your gas purchase will cost, preemptively block off a certain amount of available credit. While each issuer has its own policy when it comes to these “blocks” (also known as holds), you’d have to assume that most credit card companies would block off enough money to cover the cost of filling up the tank of an average-sized car with regular gas. Depending on the price of gas, you should therefore make sure to have at least $50 - $60 in available credit or your purchase might get declined. Similarly, you might end up buying more gas than the amount of the hold, which could bring you over your credit line and result in over limit fees if you are using a business credit card or have opted-in for the ability to go over limit on a general-use credit card. Finally, be aware of the fact that even if you only purchase a small amount of gas, the difference between this amount and the amount of available credit initially blocked off might not get released for use for up to three days. This could certainly disrupt your ability to make purchases following your trip to the pump.
On another note, some gas stations may charge different prices depending on whether customers pay with cash, credit or debit. This could easily wipe out any savings garnered from your gas credit card, so keep an eye out.
Are there ways to complement my gas credit card rewards?
Using a gas credit card is merely one of the ways that you can save on fuel consumption. In addition to this, you can use a website like GasBuddy, which identifies the lowest gas prices in your area. Many supermarkets also have loyalty programs that allow you to earn gas rebates based on your spending. Opening the gas reward credit card tied to the same gas station as your supermarket loyalty program therefore also represents a great way to save extra.