Maximizing Credit Card Rewards: 5 Ways to Earn Big

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Early credit cards came in the form of small metal charge coins, issued to consumers by department stores to represent a line of credit. Then, right before the plastic card came about in the 1950s, consumers used charge plates – small aluminum (or aluminum-like) rectangular plates that contained identifying information for both the creditor and consumer. Today, using and managing a credit card is a normal component of personal finance. As of the most recent year reported, about 72 percent, or around 177 million Americans, have at least one credit card.

So many facets impact credit card usage: card APR, card fees, your income, your mood that day, and, of course, those increasingly popular rewards programs. Similar to couponing, many consumers consider rewards programs to be fun. Figuring out how to get cash back and all of those bonus perks without spending a ton of money is a challenge.

CardRatings.com recently published a study on this very topic. The study examined household expenditures in 18 major cities and calculated the potential for cash back rewards based on this spending data. Using this information, CardRatings.com was able to gain insight on how to take advantage of these rewards programs. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

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