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Rewards Credit Cards

How to Save 5% on Holiday Purchases at Major Retailers

Just about any rewards credit card will offer you 1% cash back on all of your purchases, and 2% cash back is also pretty common. But if you're looking for extra rewards this holiday season, consider two cards offering a generous 5% cash back at some of America's largest retailers from October through December.

How to Get More Cash Back on Your Purchases

The Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back are two of the most popular cash back credit cards on the market, and they have a similar rewards formula. When you make purchases at featured retailers or in certain merchant categories, you'll earn 5% cash back on your first $1,500 of eligible purchases made each quarter you activate.

Get 5% Back at Certain Retailers with Discover it® Cash Back

During the fourth quarter of 2019 (October through December), the Discover it® Cash Back card is offering 5% back on purchases from Amazon.com, Target (online and in-store) and Walmart.com. If you were to spend the entire $1,500 on eligible purchases, you'd earn $75 cash back. You'll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Better yet, Discover will automatically match the cash back that you earn during your card's first year, essentially equating to a hefty 10% cash back on your holiday purchases from those retailers. This Discover card also offers new cardholders 14 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers. After the promotional period is over, you'll pay an ongoing variable APR of 13.74% to 24.74%. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred to the card during the intro period and 5% after it's over.

There's no annual fee for the Discover it, and no penalty interest rate. Discover will even waive your first late payment fee automatically.

Earn $150 Bonus Cash with the Chase Freedom® Card

The Chase Freedom® card also offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter at featured stores and merchant categories. During the fourth quarter of 2019, you'll get 5% back on purchases at eligible department stores, as well as purchases made with PayPal and Chase Pay. Chase offers new cardholders a $150 bonus after spending $500 on new purchases within three months of account opening. It also features 15 months of interest-free promotional financing on new purchases and balance transfers, giving you more time to pay off those holiday balances without incurring interest charges. There's no annual fee for this card.

Best Ways to Leverage These Cards

Like all rewards credit cards, the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom® cards offer the most benefit to those who avoid interest charges by paying their balance in full each month. If you know you'll need to carry a balance for longer than the promotional 0% financing period, you'd be better off using a card with a lower standard interest rate. Just keep in mind it will likely be one that doesn't offer rewards, or at least not at the level these cards do.

Also, be sure to avoid the trap of spending more money than you normally would just to get cash back. Even if you earn 5% cash back on your purchases, you're still wasting money if your purchase weren't necessary.

Finally, don't forget that for both of these offers, you'll need to take the simple step of logging in to your account every quarter to "activate" your bonus categories. This takes just a few moments, and once completed, you'll get the bonus for qualifying purchases you make during the quarter.

Choose the Right Card for You

There are many ways to save money on your holiday purchases, but few are this easy. By using the right cash back credit card, you can earn up to 5% on your purchases from many of the most popular retailers in the United States. And that's on top of any sales, coupons or Black Friday specials you're able to find. By taking a closer look at the features and benefits of both the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom® cards, you can find the right one for your needs.

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