Some of you may not like the idea of trying out a new credit card with an annual fee and possibly having to cancel the card later (even if comes with a big sign-up bonus!), though the effect on your credit score is a lot less than many media articles would lead you to believe. Here are a couple of cards with $100 sign-up bonuses and minimal requirements (indeed, they would have been rock stars in 2008 and 2009) – but are also everyday “keeper” cards with no annual fee. I’ve had both of them for years.
Chase Freedom® – $100 Bonus
- Named a Best Card for Cash Back by MONEY® Magazine
- Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
- Unlimited 1% Cash Back on every purchase
- 5% Total Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
- You’ll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas stations, Restaurants and Amazon.com. It’s free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
- No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card
- Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year, excluding the $100 cash back with this offer. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.
- 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months. After that, the APR will be 12.99%-22.99% variable based on your creditworthiness*
- No Annual Fee*
Which one is better?
Both offer 5% back on select categories, and the good thing is you can benefit from having both cards since their categories often don’t overlap. Both require you to “activate” the 5% online each quarter, which is a bit annoying but only takes a minute. Both cap their rewards at similar levels (5% of $1,500 is $75 per quarter = $300 per year). Both have no tiers on their 1% back on everything else. The Chase Freedom has no expiration of rewards as long as the account is open, whereas the Citi Dividend rewards do not expire as long as you have activity once every 12 months. Last I checked, the minimum redemption amount was $20 for Chase, $50 for Citi. Overall, they are both very similar in my opinion.
However… in my credit card survey a few weeks ago with over 3,000 reader responses, there was an open-ended question asking which card was the “best credit card on the market today”. The #1 most popular answer was the Chase Freedom card, beating out everyone including travel cards. Where was the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card? Not even in the top 20. The people have spoken, but I’m really not sure why! Better commercials?
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