2017 Blue Cash Everyday Review – WalletHub Editors
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The Verdict: If you’re a relatively light spender with excellent credit, you don’t want to blow cash on a card that charges fixed fees. With no annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (American Express is a WalletHub partner) helps you avoid such costs and save even more money, as it offers both the rewards and financing benefits required to satisfy your most pressing daily needs. You will earn a $100 initial bonus for spending $1,000 in the first three months your account is open, as well as 3% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets each year (1% thereafter); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; and 1% cash back on everything else. You will also avoid interest for the first 12 months, thanks to 0% introductory rates applicable to both new purchases and balance transfers.
Blue Cash Everyday® isn’t all helpful, however, as it complicates the balance-transfer math with a 3% transfer fee and a regular APR that ranges from 13.99% to 24.99% (both above the market averages for excellent and fair credit, respectively). All financing efforts undertaken with this card should therefore be done in close consultation with a credit card calculator. It’s also important to make sure that supermarkets, gas stations and department stores account for a significant amount of your everyday spending, as the 1% earning rate on “all other purchases” is merely the market average for a rewards card.
$100 Initial Bonus: Charging at least $1,000 to this card during the first three months that you have it will score you a $100 statement credit. The credit will be applied to your bill within six to eight weeks of meeting the spending threshold.
Many of the market’s premier rewards cards require you to spend triple that amount within the same timeframe to earn their initial bonuses. And while they tend to offer a lot more value in absolute terms — $400, for example — Blue Cash Everyday® doesn’t lag too far behind in terms of initial earning rate. Earning $100 for spending $1,000 equates to 10% cash back, while earning $400 for spending $3,000 equates to about 13.33%. With that being said, Blue Cash Everyday®’s bonus is basically the average for a cash back credit card ($102.26).
1–3% Cash Back: The average person spends roughly $3,977 on groceries each year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That means Blue Cash Everyday®’s $6,000 spending limit for its 3% cash back at supermarkets category might not even affect you. The average person would earn about $119 in this category per year (out of a possible $180 with the 3% earning rate). When you factor in the $2,611 he or she spends on gas, plus $1,846 in apparel purchases (which we’ll assume is spent at qualifying department stores) and $20,089 in additional plastic-eligible annual expenses, Blue Cash Everyday®’s ongoing rewards would yield roughly $409 each year.
You’ll earn 2% cash back on gas at any station, but only purchases made at certain department stores are eligible for that intermediate rate. Among the notable exclusions – in terms of both supermarkets and department stores – are superstores such as Target and Walmart and warehouse stores such as Costco and BJ’s, but you can find the full list on Amex’s website.
These qualifications are important because purchases that don’t qualify for the aforementioned categories will earn just 1% back. That’s merely the average for a cash back credit card, an important benchmark considering that your credit figures to be well above average if you can get approved for Blue Cash Everyday®. It’s also important to note that these categories do not change, unlike some cards that switch where you’ll earn at a maximum rate on a quarterly basis.
0% Financing For 12 Months: Blue Cash Everyday® is in the top tier of financing cards, thanks to an extended 0% term that applies to new purchases and balance transfers alike. This 12-month head start on interest has the potential to save you hundreds, particularly when it comes to financing big-ticket purchases, considering its 3% balance-transfer fee.
For example, you could pay off a $1,500 purchase with 12 monthly payments of $125 each without incurring interest using Blue Cash Everyday®, but it would take 18 months and cost an extra $216 to pay off that balance in $100 increments with the average new credit card, which has a 18.16% APR.
- No Annual Fee: Without an annual fee to worry about, you won’t need to spend a certain amount to justify keeping your card open, which enables you to keep your credit history long and your score high.
Above-Average Regular APR: You need excellent credit to get approved for this card, but you won’t get excellent-credit treatment from its regular APR. After all, credit cards for people with excellent credit charge 13.16% on average, yet the lowest you can get from Blue Cash Everyday® is 13.99%. And that rate figures to be reserved for people with the most pristine credit. The highest possible option, 24.99%, is actually above the 22% average for people with fair credit.
This all just goes to show that you should not carry a balance from month to month with your Everyday Card, except responsibly during the first 12 months.
- 3% Balance-Transfer Fee: The main reason why Blue Cash Everyday®’s 0% intro rate is better for new purchases is that this 3% balance-transfer fee would cost roughly $225 for a household with the average credit-card debt of $7,500. As long as no-fee options are available and the Island Approach is a viable option, this fee figures to be a major hurdle to overcome in terms of using this card to reduce the cost of existing debt.
- 2.7% Foreign-Transaction Fee: If you ever travel abroad or make purchases through internationally based merchants, there will be some days you’ll have to leave your Everyday Card on the sidelines in light of its 2.7% foreign transaction fee. You may have already anticipated that, however, considering that American Express is not nearly as widely accepted abroad as MasterCard and Visa.
Other Things To Consider
No Over-Limit Fee: Over-limit fees have largely disappeared in the wake of the CARD Act, which necessitates that you opt in for the ability to spend in excess of your spending limit for an issuer to charge you for doing so. Even if you do opt in, the fee can’t exceed the amount by which you’re over your limit. So this feature of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is nice but should not be overvalued.
It’s also important to note that the lack of a fee for going over limit does not guarantee that such transactions will be approved for American Express. Credit-card companies approve over-limit transactions at their own discretion and reserve the right not to do so.
- Cash Back Provided As “Reward Dollars”: Despite the inclusion of the word “Cash” in the card’s name, you technically won’t be earning cash back when you use it. Rather, you’ll earn “reward dollars,” which can be redeemed for a statement credit or, from time to time, the likes of gift cards and merchandise.. This shouldn’t present any problems, practically speaking, unless American Express ever decides to change the value of a reward dollar.
- Minimum Redemption Requirement: You can only redeem reward dollars in increments of 25, which means you’ll have to act very strategically prior to closing your account if you are to avoid leaving some earnings on the table.
- Assorted Amex Benefits: Simply being an American Express credit-card customer gets you certain privileges, including “exclusive” entertainment opportunities and a special 24/7 global assistance hotline. These types of perks are not unique to American Express, though, and how often you’ll actually take advantage of them is probably pretty questionable.
Compared To The Competition
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
|Annual Fee||$0||None 1st yr, $95 after||$0||$0|
|Rewards Rate||1 - 3% Cash Back||1 - 6% Cash Back||1% + 1% Cash Back||1.5% Cash Back|
|Purchase Intro APR||0% for 12 months||Not Offered||Not Offered||0% for 9 months|
|Transfer Intro APR||0% for 12 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Not Offered||0% for 18 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|0% for 9 months|
Transfer Fee: 3%
|Regular APR||13.99% - 24.99% (V)||13.99% - 24.99% (V)||14.49% - 24.49% (V)||13.99% - 23.99% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||4.2 / 5||4.6 / 5||5.0 / 5||4.4 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
Rates & Fees
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