Cash back credit cards for your business
“We’ve all seen the commercials for cash back credit cards where they pitch how much money you’ll make once you have their particular card in your wallet,” said NextAdvisor Editor, Tasha Lockyer. “It’s important to know that although a card can sound good on TV (or the radio), it may not be the big money-maker you expect. Cash back cards are often subject to complicated terms and conditions, earning limitations and quarterly signup requirements. Plus, a cash back card that works for one person’s spending profile may not work as well for another’s.”
NextAdvisor analyzed their popular cash back cards, evaluating exactly how over 7,500 of their users earned rewards and researching potential earning limitations or other hassles, basing each card’s earnings on real-life data collected over the past 15 months.
Users told NextAdvisor that they spend monthly an average of $300 on groceries, $180 on gas, $150 on eating out, $25 at department stores and $444 on everything else. They applied those numbers to each credit card, using the individual card earning percentages to calculate how much cash back each card would generate. They also included cash back bonuses, subtracted any annual fees and took into account earning limitations.
The 2014 Cash Back Analysis results yield the top three business credit cards:
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express stood head and shoulders above the pack, earning $672 cash back over the course of 2 years. With an enormous 6% cash back at supermarkets (on up to $6K in purchases annually), 3% at gas stations and select department stores and 1% on everything else, the Blue Cash Preferred earned over $100 more than our #2 rated card.
It also features $100 reward dollars after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, a year of Amazon Prime and a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. There is an annual fee of $75, but this is already accounted for in the 2-year earnings of $672.
Second place goes to the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earned $522 over a 2 year time period. Users will earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery and gas purchases each quarter (after the limit is reached, users earn the standard 1% cash back). All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Plus, you’ll get an additional 10% bonus each time you redeem your cash back rewards into a Bank of America savings or checking account (not taken into account in our analysis).
This means if you redeem $100 you’ll receive a bonus $10. It’s the bonus that keeps on giving! Additionally, you’ll earn $100 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days and there is no annual fee. Overall, this is a strong work-horse of a cash back card and their top choice if you don’t want to pay an annual fee.
In third place is the Blue Cash Everyday Card – the sister card to our #1 ranked Blue Cash Preferred Card. It earned $507 during the 2 year period. You’ll earn 3% at supermarkets (on up to $6K per year in purchases), 2% at gas stations and select department stores and 1% on everything else. You’ll also enjoy a $50 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, a year long membership to Amazon Prime and a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Plus, there is no annual fee.
The other cards included in their analysis, in order of most cash back earnings to least were:
- Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Freedom – $100 Bonus
- Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa – $100 Cash Back
- Discover it Card
- Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
- TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express
They’ve created a cash back calculator to help figure out which is best for you, based on your own spending.
U.S retail sales slow to bounce back as COVID winter approaches
(BUSINESS FINANCE) U.S. retail sales aren’t coming back as many had expected, as the nation braces for wintertime with COVID-19.
To some of us, buying anything except essentials during this time seems insane. To others, who’ve been padding their savings account with money that might have otherwise been spent on going out to eat, travel, concerts, etc., shopping in retail sales has been a source of therapy.
Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, U.S. retail sales as a whole increased less than expected in October – and, as COVID-19 hits its third wave in the States, it could slow even further. As of now, the number of national cases has surpassed 11 million.
Economists polled by Reuters predicted that retail sales in October would raise by 0.5%, though they only rose by 0.3%, according to the Commerce Department.
Pandemic-related unemployment benefits will expire at the end of the year, and it’s unlikely that Congress will agree on a second relief package before Biden takes office in January. Additionally, the federal ban on evictions will expire at the end of the year.
To top it off, the winter is approaching meaning that many restaurants and businesses in colder states will be forced to close – and, subsequently, Americans who work at those establishments will face unemployment.
Needless to say, many Americans aren’t focused on shopping; they’re focused on surviving. Especially in states with more COVID cases, there has been a broad decline in spending through November 9th, apart from automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services.
The economy bounced back at a 33.1% rate in the late summer and early fall after contracting at 31.4% pace in the second quarter, when COVID completely sank the economy. This was the most drastic market fluxaution since the government started keeping records in 1947.
There is a strong link between households with a disposable income and spending patterns – people typically don’t spend money they don’t have, especially during a pandemic. If the U.S. wants to get the retail economy back to where it once was, it seems like additional government relief is a sure-fire way to get there.
When stimulus checks went out in April, we saw a momentary resurgence in the economy almost instantly, which was good for everyone. Until the job market allows for all of the unemployed Americans to safely get back in the game, the government needs to assist its people – the economy depends on it.
7 ways spending habits have changed since COVID-19
(FINANCE) How are spending and saving habits changing for Americans during the pandemic?
Regardless of whether you’ve lost your job or kept it during the pandemic, you have undoubtedly been affected financially in some way over the past 8 months. For those who have been furloughed or laid off, it’s more obvious. If you’ve kept your job, you might be operating in a limited capacity, experiencing setbacks, or have a decreased client base. Of course, some of us are luckier than others, but if you’re not Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk (who have seemed to profit endlessly during COVID), chances are your bank statement looks a little different than you thought it would.
So how do these changes affect how we’re spending this year? Here are 7 ways Americans have changed their spending habits since March.
Out of work, using up savings
For those who are out of work and require more to live on than the negligible unemployment amount (especially after the extra $600 in COVID relief expired), resorting to savings is a means of survival. I’m sure no one imagined the “rainy day” they were saving for would be the economic repercussions of a global pandemic, but here we are.
Slashing expenses, saving more
We all arguably have less to spend money on these days. Going out to eat and drink? Travel? Shows and events? Not so much. It’s possible our wallets might be feeling a bit flush (especially if you’re still employed). As a result, many Americans are putting this new extra cash into their savings. Re-fluffing your financial cushions is a smart move, no doubt about it.
Putting life on hold
Did you want to move to New York City last spring before all hell broke loose? Did you want to buy a house or go back to school? You’re not alone. With all the financial insecurity that COVID-19 has brought on, it’s no wonder why many Americans are putting their dreams on hold.
Paying off debts
Similar to stock-piling cash for saving, many Americans are taking this time to pay off debts they have, weather that be a mortgage, students loans or something else. Smart move, I must say.
Looking to buy a home
Have you saved so much during the pandemic that you actually have enough to make a down payment on a house? Good for you!
It’s also important to note here that this trend also applies to those who participated in the mass flights from major cities to the ‘burbs – why live in a tiny, cramped apartment during a pandemic when you could buy a spacious home 30 miles away?
Ain’t nothing wrong with a little retail therapy. If you’re using your end-of-the-month surplus on fun items for you, your home or others, I totally get it. Chase that serotonin rush – times are hard out here!
All that aside, as a consumer, I find market trends and marketing techniques during COVID so interesting. Absolutely no shade if you end up buying that $80 face cream because #selfcare (I’ve been there), but I have a fun time dissecting the ways in which digital marketers are extorting the current moment for financial gain. Think about it the next time you’re about to buy something you 100% would not have in a pandemic-less world.
Donating more than ever
On the other side of the spectrum, many Americans who have a little extra to spend right now are helping out their communities and other funds by donating to them. Whether it be mutual aid funds that provide meals to members of the community who need it right now, or to national funds that support disenfranchised or marginalized groups hit hardest by the pandemic, Americans are donating more than ever – especially with their stimulus checks!
It’s always interesting to see how large-scale events impact micro-economies, such as individual American households. The discrepancy between those who are working and those who are not plays a crucial role in dissecting spending habits but have less to do with the overall picture than one might think.
It will be interesting to see if COVID-induced spending habits will just be a fad for these dire times, or if they will continue after a vaccine is widely distributed. It seems only time will tell.
The responsibility of billionaires in tough times
(BUSINESS FINANCE) How have billionaires continued to grow wealthy in times of economic turmoil? And how can they try to improve others’ situations?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the divide between economic classes in the US more clear than ever before. From housing to healthcare, one’s ability to survive the impact of these times has been largely dictated by income.
Billionaires, however, sit in a league of their own. Mostly, they have been impacted by becoming much wealthier.
Jeff Bezos is an easy example of wealthier billionaires. He has added $74 billion to his already eye-popping net worth over the 8-month course of the pandemic.
Not just because of the shift away from shopping in-person, either – Watchdog group public Citizen has alleged that Amazon raised its prices as much as 900% on essential goods like face masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and shelf stable food staples, though Amazon has denied this. And while the company regularly speaks out against price gouging, their efforts primarily fixate on third parties.
But as far as I know, only one person has intentionally lost their billionaire status recently. The “James Bond of Philanthropy,” Charles Feeney, just shuttered The Atlantic Foundation after 40 years of giving. In that time, he has donated away nearly his entire $8 billion fortune to charities around the globe.
Feeney, now 89, cofounded Tourists International with Robert Miller in 1960. The luxury retail chain, later known as Duty Free Shoppers, was fueled by cash from international Asian tourism and military service members.
Unbeknownst to his fellow shareholders, Feeney transferred his company assets in 1982 to start the Atlantic Foundation and for years the Atlantic Foundation’s grants were bestowed totally anonymously. His secret wasn’t discovered until court documents regarding a conflict with Miller, his former business partner, forced him to come forward in 1997.
Feeny is far from broke today, living in a San Francisco apartment (hey, they’re expensive) and holding onto a tidy $2 million.
Still, he has given away the greatest proportion of his wealth out of all American philanthropists. The Atlantic Foundation’s legacy remains a powerful acknowledgement of the responsibility that comes with holding a vast quantity of resources and capital.
After all, human brains struggle to really ‘get’ the sheer scale of a billion – let alone give it away.
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