gas card vs credit card

gas card vs credit card

Debit vs. Credit Card: Paying for Gas

Nearly every day, we have to decide whether to use debit cards or credit cards for purchases. While on the surface there doesn't appear to be a lot of difference, a closer examination will find a number of advantages to using a credit card in some situations. In particular, at the gas pump.

Consumer protection is a huge factor. Recall the many stories you've heard of late about data breaches and subsequent consumer fraud. And then consider that gas stations are on the frontline of this trend. The gas pump is one of the easiest places for fraudulent activity to occur against anyone using a debit card.

What happens is that thieves will place skimmers on the gas pump card reader. Then they'll then set up somewhere near the gas station, waiting for people to use their debit cards and enter their PINs. All they'll need is a laptop with specific software and they'll be able to nab your PIN and use it to access your debit card account.

Benefits of Using a Credit Card at Gas Stations

Most (but not all) credit cards offer their cardholders extra protection against identity theft compared to debit cards. This alone is a strong vote in favor of using your credit card at the gas pump. But identity theft protection isn’t the only benefit you'll receive when using credit for gas purchases. Here are some other benefits.

One of the best things about credit cards is that many offer cardholders some sort of reward for making purchases. These rewards come in the form of airline miles or hotel points, or it could simply be cash-back incentives. No matter what the reward is, the key is that you're gaining something in exchange for using the card. Very few debit cards offer that perk.

Making a purchase using a debit card means that the amount is taken out of your checking account immediately. However, when you use a credit card to make your purchase, you usually will have a couple of weeks until you have to pay the bill. This can be very helpful in certain cash-strapped situations. Just make sure that you always pay your bill in full and don’t float the amount to the next billing period.

The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Gas

In addition to standard rewards you can earn by using most credit cards at the pump, there are a few cards in particular that offer bonus points on gas purchases. Here are some of them.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

If getting cash back is your thing, then you might want to consider American Express' Blue Cash Preferred Card. You will receive 3% cash back on gasoline purchases and there's no limit on how much you can earn. Signing up for the card gets you $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 within the first three months after activating the card. That said, the card does have a $75 annual fee that isn’t waived in the first year.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card

Another option for a cash-back card is the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa Signature. You will receive 3% cash back on purchases at gas stations and 2% at grocery stores. Unlike the Blue Cash Preferred card, the Visa Signature Card has a limit of $1,500 in combined gas and grocery purchases for each quarter. Anything over that amount will receive only 1% back. The signup bonus for this card is a $100 statement credit after you spend $500 in the first 90 days. Another plus: no annual fee.

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

If you're a frequent traveler and earning travel rewards is essential, you might consider using for gas purchases the Citi ThankYou Preferred. In addition to earning 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of usage, you can earn three Citi ThankYou points on any travel purchase, which includes gas along with airfare and hotels. This card does have a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card has a very lucrative reward for users, offering five points for every $1 spent on gas. The only drawback is that you don't get a signup bonus with the card. For some users that could be unappealing, but others will appreciate the card's $0 annual fee.

Purchasing gas with a credit card is, for many reasons, typically a superior choice than using debit. Not only does using credit provide a greater sense of security from possible fraud, but most credit cards offer cardholders some sort of reward for their use at the pump.

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We agree, there are way too many gas credit cards to choose from.

But how do you find the right one for you?

Now, as you compare credit cards to find out which one is right for you, consider the following factors:

  • Rewards credit card vs. gas station card: Most people hop around to gas stations, depending on where their drive takes them, so a gas-station branded credit card that limits your rewards to just one gas brand may not be as beneficial.
  • Interest rates: If you plan to carry a balance, look for a credit card with a low APR instead.
  • Annual fee: Some cards charge an annual fee every year just to have them. In exchange, you usually get better rewards or benefits. If you use the card frequently throughout the year, it might be worthwhile to pay an annual fee.
  • The featured gas credit card offer on CreditDonkey is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner. Unlike cards associated with specific gas stations like Shell, BP, Sunoco, or Exxon Mobil, the Blue Cash Preferred lets you earn 3% cash back on purchases at US gas stations and select US department stores. You earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). You earn 1% cash back on other purchases.

    With its consistent reward categories year-round, the Blue Cash Preferred Card is the CreditDonkey® featured credit card for gas .

    Not convinced? For those of you feeling swayed by gas stations offering you 5 cents back on every gallon, we have a tiny bit of math for you. That type of deal was nice years ago, when gas was less than $2 a gallon. But when fueling your car costs an average of $3.00 a gallon, you’ve got to expect more from your purchases at the pump. With many gas-company cards, you’d get just 50 cents for 10 gallons of gas. That’s just about 1.67% back. But with the Blue Cash Preferred, for that same 10 gallons, you’d get 3% back, or 90 cents. That adds up if you’re a commuting warrior or a frequent road tripper. And you do not have to stress about how to find a particular brand gas station.

    Gas rewards add up quickly. Think about this: The average U.S. household spends about $3,000 on gas each year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With the median household income just north of $50,000, that represents about 6% of an average family’s annual budget. If you spent $3,000 a year at the gas pump, the 3% cash back at US gas stations would put $90 back in your pocket during the course of the year.

    Why It’s the Featured Credit Card for Fuel Purchases on CreditDonkey

    • Rewards: The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers a combination of the same reward categories year-round and convenient reward redemption (in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise). Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% at U.S. gas stations & at select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases. (Terms and limitations apply).
  • Promotion: Earn $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% - 25.49% Variable.
  • Why You Might Want to Look Elsewhere

    • $95 Annual Fee: If you don't make regular purchases at gas stations or supermarkets, then this card may not be worth the annual fee. Consider the Blue Cash Everyday which has no annual fee, but earns 2% cash back at US gas station.

    For Business Owners: If most of your gas purchases are tied to a business you own, consider a business gas credit card. Instead of reimbursing your employees, you can give your employees cards to earn rewards from their purchases.

    Bottom Line: Apply for Gas Credit Card

    If you spend a good deal of money on gas, the Blue Cash Preferred is a great choice in our opinion. You'll earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6k/year in purchases, then 1%), 3% cash back at US gas stations and at select US department stores, and 1% on other purchases. There is a $95 annual fee.

    For more money-saving tips, make sure to read:

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

    Best Gas Credit Cards that Will Fill Your Car and Your Wallet

    Although gas credit cards are often ideal for people who have had credit problems in the past and need to rebuild or establish credit, gas credit cards can also be valuable if they provide rewards programs. Some of the most popular types of rewards credit cards are the ones that allow you earn cash back for everyday purchases like gas. If you use your card every time you fill up, your rewards can end up being worth hundreds of dollars per year.

    We have included our editor’s picks for the best gas credit cards that are currently available, as well as some tips for choosing the gas rewards program that is best for you.

    One of the previous leaders among gas rewards credit cards, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa, dropped some of the valuable features it had become well known for. Features such as the sign-up bonus and its 5% cash back on gas were discounted, giving many other gas cards the opportunity to take the lead in this category.

    0% for 12 months

    0% for 12 months

    • earn 5% back on two categories that you can choose by yourself
    • earn 2% on restaurants
    • 1% on all other purchases
    • plus you get $25 bonus each time you redeem $100 and more cashback in a single transaction

    5% on 2 categories you choose quarterly

    2% on 1 category you choose quarterly

    One of the best cards currently available for earning cash back on gas purchases is the US Bank Cash+. This card awards 5% cash back on two categories of your choice, with gas being one of them, up to a quarterly limit of $2,000. Plus, you earn unlimited 2% cash back on one category of your choice.

    Best Gas Credit Card for Gas Discounts

    Not all gas rewards cards award cash back for purchases. If you typically use a particular gas station, you could earn more in the way of gas discounts when you fill up.

    intro 10c/gallon for 60 days

    not a major card

    Chevron and Texaco gas stations use only

    The Chevron and Texaco Visa Credit Card is specifically designed for gas at these particular gas stations. This card is especially ideal because you can also use it wherever Visa is accepted. You can earn .03 cents per gallon in fuel credits every time you fill up at Chevron or Texaco stations, without an annual fee. The APR for purchases is a variable APR of 27.24%. As a bonus, new cardholders get a bonus of .10 cents per gallon in fuel credits for the first 60 days.

    Best Gas Rewards Card for Poor Credit

    Although most rewards cards are reserved for consumers with good and excellent credit, there are opportunities to earn cash back if you have had credit problems as well. If you are building credit or rebuilding, you can earn gas rewards with the following credit card. Keep in mind, however, that if the card costs you more to carry than you would earn in rewards, it may not be the best gas card for your situation.

    See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score.

    This fully unsecured credit card with no deposit requirement can be helpful in growing or building credit. Your account activity will be reported monthly to all three major credit bureaus.

    All the features you want in a credit card are included. Get 1% cash back on eligible purchases, take advantage of free online credit score tracking, and enjoy credit line increase opportunities. Terms apply.

    The Credit One® Platinum Visa® Rewards Credit Card awards 1% cash back for gas and groceries and is ideal for those who are building or rebuilding their credit. The annual fee is dependent on your creditworthiness and is $0 to $99. The variable APR is 15.65%-24.15%. Further, this card issuer is known for being understanding of lower credit ratings, making it ideal for those with fair or poor credit scores.

    Best Gas and Everyday Purchases Credit Cards

    If you’re looking for a gas card to earn cash from, you’ll likely benefit from a card that awards other types of everyday purchases like groceries and utilities. For these types of everyday purchases, you should consider a card such as the following.

    • 2x points on groceries, gas, utilities (excluding Target and Walmart®)
    • 1 point on all other purchases
    • redeem points towards your statement balance to offset purchases

    2X points on gas, utilities and grocery store (excluding Target® and Walmart®) purchases. 1x points on all other purchases

    Points don't expire as long as account is open, active and in good standing

    Redeem points for deposits to a U.S. checking or savings account, statement credits or gift cards, starting at 1,000 points for $10

    No limit on the number of points you can earn or redeem

    Free online access to FICO® Credit Score lets you keep an eye on your credit and get alerts when we learn that your score has changed

    Use your card with confidence, $0 Fraud Liability protection means you're not responsible for unauthorized charges you report to us

    Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad

    The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard awards 2x points for gas, utilities, and groceries, and 1x point on all other purchases, with 1,000 points being equal to $10. There is no annual fee for this card, and you get free access to your FICO Score. The APR is variable at 25.24%.

    0% for 12 months

    0% for 12 months

    • earn 6% back at US supermarkets (limited by $6000 spending annually, then 1%)
    • 3% on gas and in selected department stores
    • 1% back on all other purchases
    • $150 sign up bonus after spending $1000 in purchases in the first 3 months

    up to 3-6% cash back

    $150 intro bonus

    Although this card has a $75 annual fee, many users find it valuable for earning cash back. The Blue Cash Preferred American Express awards 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to an annual cap of $6,000 and 3% cash back at gas stations and select U.S. department stores. You also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. New cardholders can also earn a bonus of $150 after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of opening the account.

    4% on gas, 3% on dining and travel, 2% at Costco, 1% everywhere

    no annual fee with Costco membership ($55 minimum)

    4% on gas, 3% on dining and travel, 2% on Costco purchases, 1% on all purchases

    0% APR on purchases for 7 months

    Another card that awards gas purchases, as well as other everyday purchases, is the Costco Anywhere Visa, which has been revamped from the old American Express Version. You can earn 4% back on gas purchases, up to $7,000 per year, plus 3% back at restaurants and on travel purchases, 2% back on Costco purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee, but you do need to have a Costco membership, which is available for as little as $55 a year.

    There are also cards that can only be used at specific gas stations. These cards are often the types that are used to build or rebuild credit and are easier to get approved for if you have had credit problems in the past. If you have poor or o credit, you might want to consider cards like the Marathon credit card, 76 Gas card, and the Chevron and Texaco store credit card. Just make sure you have enough of the brand’s gas stations in your area to take advantage of the card.

    When selecting any gas station credit card, you should consider the following before making a decision:

    • How much you can earn when you use the card
    • Limitations and caps on the rewards
    • Annual fees and other fees to carry the card
    • If it is for a particular brand, how many stations are in your area
    • The APR, especially because interest rates can be higher with gas cards
    • Whether you can avoid paying interest by paying you balance in full each month
    • Your earnings if you use the card to fill up all vehicles in the home
    • The benefits of choosing a store card versus a Visa or MasterCard

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    I really resent these security "features" that keep getting added. From my observation, the primary function of the chip card is to force the consumer to stand in the check out line like a drooling idiot waiting for the computer to read the thing. Then half the time the cashier or the person in front of you or the machine itself doesn't do it right. Then I started running into gas pumps that prompt for your billing zip. The first time I had one of those was after changing my address 4 times and I couldn't remember which was on the card. Oh man, that pissed me off. Now I'm going to need a PIN as well apparently. The responsible consumer gets a card that is backed by a guarantee from the vendor, and if his identity is stolen the vendor honors that. I'm sure all of these "features" make less work for the card vendors but they put the burden on the consumers.

    There are two different types of gas credit cards that provide rewards or cash back on purchases of gasoline. There are gas credit cards that only allow you to purchase gasoline as well as, credit cards that provide rewards based on the value of the gasoline you purchase. Gas credit cards that are issued by an oil company (in conjunction with a bank or financial institution) usually only allow you to make purchases at their company, while a reward card that has a gasoline program allows you to purchase any item, and provide rewards or cash back for gasoline purchases. While you might think that an oil company such as BP or Chevron would provide the best incentives to purchase gasoline using a credit card, the rebates that you receive from general credit cards that have cash back rewards when you purchase gasoline are the more lucrative reward.

    A gas credit card is a credit card either issued by an oil company. There are also gasoline reward credit cards that provide rewards or cash back when you purchase gasoline. Some gas credit card does not prohibit you from purchasing items other than gasoline, but your rewards are specifically based on the volume or value of gasoline that you purchase. Gas credit cards that only allow you to purchase gasoline are restrictive but, in many instances, it is easier to apply for these cards and they often take applicants that have fair credit.

    For example, with the BP Credit Card, which is issued in conjunction with Synchrony Bank, you can receive 6-cents off per gallon and earn reward points when you purchase gasoline. You can apply for a gasoline credit card at a station or online, and many of these cards allow you to choose a billing date that is convenient for you.

    How Do Gasoline Credit Cards Work?

    Gas credit cards offer rewards or discounts when you purchase fuel at a specific gas company. For example, the ExxonMobil Smart card offers a 6-cent per gallon discount if you purchase gasoline at any ExxonMobile. This card is restrictive as you cannot purchase items other than gasoline. It also has a very hefty interest rate and charges customers 25.99% for balances. This is nearly 10% higher than the national average for interest on a credit card. Prior to applying for a gas credit card, you should make sure the card you choose is easily accessible and fits your lifestyle.

    You should also check the terms and conditions prior to applying for a gas credit card, to see if there are additional fees if you pay at the pump. In some cases, this might offset the benefits you receive by using the card for a gasoline purchase. You should also keep in mind that some gas stations offer discounts if you purchase gasoline using cash as opposed to a credit card. Additionally, some gas credit cards will cap the number of gallons where you can receive a discount.

    Who Should Get a Gas Credit Card?

    While gas credit cards can save you money when you purchase a gasoline, a gas rewards credit card have better flexibility. Unlike gas credit cards, which are distributed by gas stations, gas rewards credit cards are traditional credit cards that provide rewards based on purchases of gasoline.

    The question of whether you should make room in your wallet for a gasoline credit card is based on your lifestyle and spending habits, as well as your credit score. A gas credit card that is issued by an oil company generally offers 5-6 cents per gallon and usually has no fee. The benefit is that if you have fair or in some cases poor credit you still can qualify for a card issued by an oil company. If you have trouble qualifying for a traditional rewards credit card, then a gas credit card might be a good solution.

    You should only apply for a gas credit card if you purchase gasoline on a regular basis. If you don’t drive a car, or you don’t take a carpool to work and share in the cost of gasoline, a gas credit card is a waste of time.

    If you generally do not pay off your balances on time, then a gas credit card can be very onerous. With interest rates averaging near 25%, running a balance could quickly eliminate any benefit you might receive from purchasing gasoline.

    For example, if you purchase $100 per week of gasoline, at $3 per gallon, and you can save 6-cents per gallon on your purchases, you would save approximately $1.98 per week or slightly less than $8 per month. If you were not able to pay off your balance after the month and you were charged a financing interest rate for holding a balance of $400 dollar (4-weeks multiplied by $100 per week), you financing charge on $400 at 25% per year (or approximately 2% per month), is $8, which would wipe out the benefit of purchasing gasoline for the entire month.

    Additionally, if you have a business that relies on transportation, such as a moving company, a shipping company or a trucking company, a gas credit card might a good solution for you. Many gas credit cards provide features for businesses, including budgeting through their website. You should company the benefits you receive from a gas credit card to a generic gas rewards card before you pull the trigger.

    Gas Credit Cards vs. Gas Reward Credit Cards

    The choice of which credit card you should apply for is a matter of preference, but if you have good to great credit, a general credit card that provides gasoline rewards is generally a better deal. If I do not have a good credit rating, then you need to find a gas credit card that allows you to purchase gasoline at any station, and provides robust rewards.

    Generally, general credit cards that provide rewards or cash back for gasoline purchases provide 3-5% of the purchase value. That equates to 9-15 cents cash back or reward at $3 per gallon. Additionally, these credit cards allow you to make purchases other than gasoline, which provides you with flexibility.

    What are the best Gas Credit Cards?

    The most lucrative gas credit card which provides the highest return on your purchase is the PenFed Ultimate Cash Rewards Visa Credit card. This card pays 5% cash back on unlimited purchases of gasoline but has 2-requirements you need to fulfill to receive your rewards. The requirements for eligibility are that you’ll have to be a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. To join you need to make a donation of less than $20 to the National Military Family Association or the Voices of America’s Troops, volunteer work for the Red Cross. You will also need to keep a checking account with at least $250 balance and direct deposit, a money market savings account, or credit product at PenFed. There is no annual for this credit card.

    American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card – This credit card provides unlimited 3% cash back on all-gasoline purchases throughout the United States. There are many credit cards that cap your cash back which makes this card advantageous. There is a signup bonus that is worth $150 if you spend $1,000 during the first 3-months, but there is also an annual fee of $95 per card. American Express offers zero percent on during the first 12-months but has late fees, foreign transaction fees and balance transfer fees that can offset some of the benefits.

    The Bank of America BankAmericard also provides 3% cash back, but they cap the number of rewards you can receive at $2,500. They also provide you with 2% on supermarket purchases and 1% on all other purchases. There is also no annual fee for this credit card. You can earn $100 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days, and a 10% relationship bonus for Bank of America checking or savings accounts.

    How to Pick the Best Gas Rewards Card for You?

    This process is based on your credit score and your ability to apply for a general credit card rather than a gas credit card. If your credit is good to great, your better served finding a gas credit card that provides you with the flexibility to spend on other items and earn rewards other than for purchases of gasoline.

    You also need to determine if gasoline is a significant monthly expense and if it is worth it to you to apply for a credit card that might have a high-interest rate. Again, some of the general credit cards that provide gasoline as a category where you can receive cash back, have zero-percent financing for up to a year. You also want to determine if you generate the best opportunity for yourself by paying with a credit card as opposed to cash. Many gasoline stations offer heavy discounts for cash that is larger than the 2-3% that they pay for a credit card transaction. If the gasoline station you normally go to provides a significant discount then a gas credit card might not be a prudent tool.

    You also want to find a card that provides a supplemental category that will allow you to receive bonus rewards. For example, many gas cards provide cash back or rewards for supermarkets, and some give you 1% cash back on all purchases.

    Pros and Cons of a Gas Credit Card

    The largest benefit you receive from using a gas credit card is the discount you receive from purchasing gasoline. The most lucrative will offer cash back as much as 5% on your gas purchases which are approximately 15-cents per gallon with gasoline prices at $3 per gallon. This can be a major advantage for your monthly budget.

    Along with offering your cash back on gasoline purchases, several gas credit cards have reward programs especially general credit cards that provide gasoline as one of the categories where you can receive rewards or cash back. This can include a reward as a percent of items other than gasoline. These rewards can be used for merchandise or travel, and in some cases even cash back.

    It’s definitely more convenient to pay 1-payment for your gas credit card than multiple cash payments throughout the month.

    The interest rate that is charged on some gas credit cards is some of the highest in the industry. This is one of the biggest drawbacks, and can quickly erode your rewards if you carry a balance. Some of the gas credit cards are as high as 29.9%.

    Additionally, if you run a monthly budget you can run into problems if you don’t account for your monthly payment. When you use a credit card as opposed to cash or a debit card, you might forget to jot down the amount you owe, which could then come back to haunt you at the end of the month. This has caused people to overspend and not realize they are creating an issue for themselves until it is too late.

    Learn More about Credit Cards

    Gas cards are similar to regular credit cards as you can use them for purchases an pay all or part of your balance at the end of the month. There are differences that you should take note of, especially relative to general credit cards that provide gasoline as a category where you can receive cash back or requires. The most important difference is where you can use as credit cards.

    A gas credit card that is strictly for gasoline purchase is usually good for customers who are looking to build up their credit score. Oil companies that issue credit cards are willing to issue a credit to customers who have fair or even poor credit, but you need to carefully evaluate the rates which can be sky high. Before you apply, you should weight the pros and cons and determine if a gas credit card is right for you.

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