Tag: american express

Truth About Reward and Store Credit Cards

On the surface, reward cards are a great way to make a few extra dollars or grab some air miles without increasing your spending or your debt. If you spend a lot of money at a particular shop, store cards will seem like an equally beneficial prospect. But these cards exist for a reason—they’re there to make more money for the providers and the retailers, not you.

Sure, reward/store cards have other benefits if you use them properly, but there are a host of disadvantages and hidden terms that you need to be aware of before signing on the dotted line. 

What are Store Cards?

Store cards are tied to specific stores and offered by chains of retailers. These cards work just like traditional cards and are often branded by networks like Visa and MasterCard. The difference is that they can only be used in the issuing stores and their rewards are tied to those stores.

In essence, they are store loyalty cards that come with a lien of credit attached. 

What are Reward Cards?

Reward cards are also tied to credit card networks, including American Express and Discover, as well as Visa and MasterCard. They award points every time they’re used for qualifying purchases and these points can then be swapped for air travel and other benefits. 

Some reward schemes award a specific amount of cash back, often fixed to 1% or 2% of purchases made on specific items, such as groceries or utility bills.

How Can Providers Offer These Rewards?

If a provider offers you cash back every time you spend money on your credit card, someone has to foot the bill. Many consumers assume that the credit card network covers the cost, and to an extent, they do. But it’s not quite as simple as that.

Every time you use your credit card to make a purchase, the retailer is charged a fee, often between 1% and 3% of the purchase. This is the network’s charge. With reward cards, this fee increases, and the extra money is used to fund the rewards program.

As a result, retailers are not exactly happy with these programs as they drive their costs up and reduce their profits. The only way around this, is to increase the cost of the product or, more likely, to reward customers who pay with cash/debit. Retailers are not allowed to add a surcharge for credit card use, but there’s nothing stopping them from choosing which cards they do and don’t accept.

Your local Mom & Pop enterprise isn’t being antiquated and old-fashioned by refusing credit cards. They just can’t cover the costs. 5% may not sound like a big deal, but for retailers with minimal buying power and the massive overheads of running a brick-and-mortar store, 5% can be a deal breaker.

Smaller retailers are fighting back against reward cards while bigger ones are embracing them by adopting their own store cards. With a store card, they have more say, more control, and they know that those small losses will be offset by the increased purchases.

Issues with Store Credit Cards

Store cards carry a big risk and have far few benefits than reward cards. The advantages of these cards are obvious: If you shop a lot in a particular place, you can save money via the cash back schemes. 

They can also help with emergency purchases, providing you clear the balance in full. But, while the benefits are obvious, the same can’t be said about the disadvantages.

Con 1: They Have High Interest Rates

The average credit card interest rate in the United States is around 16%. The average rate for store cards is over 20%. That 4% may not seem like much, but if you don’t repay your balance every month that interest will compound, grow, and cost you a small fortune. 

At 16% with a $10,000 balance and a 60-month repayment term, you’ll pay $243 a month and over $4,000 in total interest.

Increase that rate to 20% and your monthly payment grows by $20 while your total interest increases by nearly $1,500. The longer you leave it and the smaller your monthly payments are, the greater that difference will be.

For example, if you repay just $200 a month on that balance, the difference between 16% and 20% is 26 extra months and close to $5,000. Of course, store cards rarely offer such high limits, but this is just as example to show you how much of a difference even the slightest percentage increase can cause.

It’s worth keeping this in mind if you ever apply for a traditional rewards card. Getting rewards in return for a higher APR is great if you repay your balance in full every month and terrible if you don’t.

Con 2: They Have High Penalty Rates

If you miss a payment on your store credit card you could be hit with a penalty APR as high as 29.99%, as well as a late payment fee of $39. The rates are high to begin with, but these penalty rates are astronomical and will make a bad situation worse.

That’s not all, as some providers are known to be very unforgiven when it comes to missed and late payments. In some cases, your account will default even if you underpay just once and just by a few dollars. 

Con 3: They Have Low Credit Limits

Retailers are not lenders. They don’t have the time, funds or patience to chase debts and deal with collection agencies. As a result, they don’t offer high credit limits and generally you’ll get a fraction of what an unsecured credit card might provide you with.

This might not seem like much of an issue. After all, a smaller credit limit means you’re less likely to accumulate large amounts of debts. However, this has a massively negative impact on your credit score that few borrowers consider.

30% of your credit score is based on something known as a credit utilization ratio. This looks at the total available credit and compares it to the debt that you have accumulated. If you have several cards with a combined credit limit of $10,000 and a balance of $5,000, then your ratio is 50%, which is considered to be quite high.

If a store card is your only account and you spend $450 on a $500 limit, then you have a credit utilization ratio of 90%, which will reduce your score. Your credit report is also negatively affected by maxed-out credit cards, a feat that’s much easier to achieve when you have a low credit limit.

Con 4: There Are Better Options

It’s better to have one good reward card than multiple store cards. The former will provide you with far better interest rates and terms, while the latter will hit your credit report with several hard inquiries and new accounts. 

A rewards card will still benefit you when shopping at those stores and will also provide you with a wealth of other benefits.

Con 5: You May Spend More

Store cards are not designed to make your life easier and give you a few freebies. Regardless of what the store tells you, they’re not made to reward loyalty, they’re made to encourage spending. 

This doesn’t always work, and research suggests that many individuals use reward cards just like they would normal cards. But for a small minority, the idea of acquiring points is enough to convince them to spend more than they usually would.

Some good can be good debt, such as when it’s used to acquire an asset or something that won’t depreciate. But very rarely do we use credit cards for this purpose and generally, if you’re spending more on a store card it means you’re wasting more money on things you don’t need.

Con 6: You Can’t Use Them Anywhere Else

A store card can only be used in that particular store. This renders it redundant as an emergency card and also means you’re encouraged to shop in that one place. You don’t have a chance to shop around and find the cheapest price; you may spend more just to use your card and get the benefits, with those benefits rarely covering the additional money you spend.

What About Reward Cards?

Some reward cards have very high rates as these rates are used to offset the rewards program. However, this isn’t always the case, because, as discussed above, networks often charge retailers more to offset these purchases and therefore don’t always need to cover the costs themselves.

Some credit cards, such as the Discover It, offer solid reward schemes and would also be included on any list of the best non-reward credit cards. It’s a solid all-rounder and it’s not alone. However, many reward cards charge high annual fees and penalty rates, just like you’ll find with a store card.

It’s important to study the small print and make sure the card is viable. If you’re going to clear the balance every month, a slightly higher interest rate won’t hurt, especially if it comes with some generous rewards. But if there is any doubt and even the slightest chance that you won’t clear the balance, it’s always best to focus on a low-interest rate first.

Even the most generous 5% cash back reward card will not offset the losses occurred by paying a few more percentage points of interest.

Will Reward/Store Cards Affect my Credit Score?

Credit cards trigger hard inquiries, which can reduce your credit score by up to 5 points. This is true for every credit card that you apply for. Rate shopping can combine multiple inquiries into one if they are for the same type of credit, but this doesn’t apply to credit cards.

A new account will also impact your score. This impact is often minimal and if you keep up with your repayments then it will vanish in time. However, if you miss a payment, max-out your card or increase your credit utilization score, it could have a detrimental effect on your score and your finances.

Keep store cards to a minimum and only sign up if you’re 100% sure you’re getting a good deal that will benefit you in the short-term and the long-term.

Truth About Reward and Store Credit Cards is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

17 ways to use the Amex Platinum’s monthly $30 PayPal credit

As 2020 came to a close, cardholders mourned the end of several temporary perks implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, cardmembers of The Platinum Card® from American Express were disappointed when temporary streaming and mobile statement credits ended as scheduled on Dec. 31, 2020. But, at the start of January 2021, American Express quietly …

Source: thepointsguy.com

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee and How Can You Avoid It?

Foreign transaction fees are irritating little charges that every traveler has faced, and most credit card users have questioned. They are the bane of a frequent flyer’s life and if not managed carefully, could result in some serious charges. But what are these charges, why do they exist, what’s the average fee, and how can you avoid them?

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee?

A foreign transaction fee is a surcharge levied every time you make a payment in a foreign currency or transfer money through a foreign bank. These fees are charged by credit card networks and issuers, often totaling around 3%.

For example, imagine that you’re on holiday in the United Kingdom, where all transactions occur in Pound Sterling. You go out for a meal and use your credit card to pay a bill of £150. Your credit card issuer first converts this sum into US Dollars and then charges a foreign transaction fee, after which the network (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) will do the same.

If we assume that £150 equates to exactly $200, this will show on your credit card statement first followed by a separate foreign transaction fee of $6.

When Will You Pay Foreign Transaction Fees?

If you’re moving money from a US bank account to an international account in a different currency, there’s a good chance you will be hit with foreign transaction fees and may also be charged additional transfer fees. More commonly, these fees are charged every time you make a payment in a foreign currency.

Many years ago, foreign transaction fees were limited to purchases made in other currencies, but they are now charged for online purchases as well. If the site you’re using is based in another country, there’s a good chance you’ll face these charges.

It isn’t always easy to know in advance whether these fees will be charged or not. Many foreign based sites use software that automatically detects your location and changes the currency as soon as you visit. To you, it seems like everything is listed in dollars, but you may actually be paying in a foreign currency.

Other Issues that American Travelers Face 

Foreign transaction fees aren’t the only issue you will encounter when trying to use American reward credit cards abroad. If we return to the previous example of a holiday in the UK, you may discover that the restaurant doesn’t accept your credit card at all.

In the UK, as in the US, Visa and MasterCard are the two most common credit card networks and are accepted anywhere you can use a credit or debit card. However, while Discover is the third most common network in the US, it’s all but non-existent in the UK. 

Discover has claimed that the card has “moderate” acceptance in the UK, but this is a generous description and unless you’re shopping in locations that tailor for many tourists and American tourists in particular, it likely won’t be accepted.

There are similar issues with American Express, albeit to a lesser extent. AMEX is the third most common provider in the UK, but finding a retailer that actually accepts this card is very hit and miss.

Do Foreign Transaction Fees Count Towards Credit Card Rewards?

Foreign transaction fees, and all other bank and credit card fees, do not count towards your rewards total but the initial charge does. If we return to the previous example of a $200 restaurant payment, you will earn reward points on that $200 but not on the additional $6 that you pay in fees.

How to Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees

The easiest way to avoid foreign transaction fees is to use a credit card that doesn’t charge them. Some premium cards and reward cards will absorb the fee charged for these transactions, which means you can take your credit card with you when you travel and don’t have to worry about extra charges.

This is key, because simply converting your dollars to your target currency isn’t the best way to avoid foreign transaction fees. A currency conversion will come with its own fees and it’s also very risky to carry large sums of cash with you when you’re on vacation. 

Credit Cards Without Foreign Transaction Fees

All credit card offers are required to clearly state a host of basic features, including interest rates, reward schemes, and annual fees. However, you may need to do a little digging to learn about foreign transaction fees. These fees can be found in the credit card’s terms and conditions, which should be listed in full on the provider’s website.

To get you started, here are a few credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees:

  1. Bank of America Travel Rewards Card: A high-reward and low-fee credit card backed by the Bank of America.
  2. Capital One: All Capital One cards are free of foreign transaction fees, including their reward cards, such as the Venture card.
  3. Chase Sapphire Preferred: A premium rewards card aimed at big spenders. There is an annual fee, but not foreign transaction fees.
  4. Citi Prestige: One of several Citi cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, and the best one in terms of rewards. 
  5. Discover It: A solid all-round credit card with no foreign transaction fees. However, as noted above, the Discover network is rare outside of the United States.
  6. Wells Fargo Propel World: An American Express credit card with good rewards and low fees, including no foreign transaction fees.

Summary: One of Many Fees

Foreign transaction fees are just some of the many fees you could be paying every month. Credit cards work on a system of rewards and penalties; you’re rewarded when you make qualifying purchases and penalized when you make payments in foreign currencies and in casinos, and when you use your card to withdraw cash.

Many of these fees are fixed as a percentage of your total spend, but some also charge interest and you will pay this even if you clear your balance in full every month. To avoid being hit with these fees, pay attention to the terms and conditions and look for cards that won’t punish you for the things you do regularly.

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee and How Can You Avoid It? is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

AmEx Offers Online Interface Now Show More Than 100 Offers

You can now view more than 100 saved AmEx Offers in the online web interface (previously only 100 were visible). The mobile app is still limited to 100 visible offers.

RedHatTinyShortsMan noticed seeing more than 100 saved offers in the online AmEx login, and I’m seeing the same. We haven’t seen any reports with regards to the Available Offers showing more than 100, but presumably they would show more than 100 as well.

I counted up on the mobile app, and the 100 limit is still enforced there with the remaining offers being invisible. Apparently, they’ve only implemented a fix for the website interface, not the mobile app.

 

 

Source: doctorofcredit.com

A complete guide to airline companion passes

Flying can be a hefty expense – especially when you’re buying more than one airline ticket at a time. If you frequently fly with a companion, whether it be your child, spouse or friend, a companion pass can drastically reduce your travel costs.

While the terms vary depending on the airline and credit card, generally, companion passes allow a second passenger to fly with you for free or at a significantly discounted rate. Some credit cards automatically offer a companion pass when you are approved for the card or each year on your account anniversary. Others require you to charge a certain amount within a given time frame to earn the pass.

For more details on some of the most common companion passes, including what they offer and how to earn them, read on.

Which airlines offer companion passes?

  • Southwest Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Hawaiian Air
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Lufthansa Airlines

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
  • CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®
  • British Airways Visa Signature® Card within a 12-month period, starting on Jan. 1 and ending on Dec. 31. For example, if you opened your card account in June 2020, you have until Dec. 31, 2020 to reach the spend requirement for that year.

    How long is the Travel Together Ticket valid?

    The Travel Together ticket is valid for 24 months from the date of issue.

    Which cards help you qualify?
    British Airways Visa Signature® Card

    Delta SkyMiles Reserve® American Express Card

    Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® (50 percent and $100 discounts)
  • Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard® (50 percent and $100 discount)
  • Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® (50 percent discount)
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® or Alaska Airlines Visa® Business cardholder. As part of the introductory offer, you much spend $2,000 in the first 90 days to receive a companion fare. You will automatically receive the companion fare each year on your account anniversary.

    Travel must be booked on alaskaair.com.

    How long is the fare valid?

    The Famous Companion Fare is valid from the date of issue until your next account anniversary.

    Which cards help you qualify?
    • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
    • Alaska Airlines Visa® Business

    How to get the Southwest Companion Pass, Earn sign-up bonus miles with the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards

    The Bank of America content of this post was last updated on March 20, 2020.

    Source: creditcards.com

    All About Credit Card Processing Fees

    All About Credit Card Processing Fees

    When you make a payment with a credit card not all of that money goes to the merchant. Your payment has to be authorized by multiple companies or banks along the way and some of them will deduct fees for their services. A portion of your payment goes to your card issuer’s bank, the merchant’s bank, the big payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard as well as payment processing companies. Here’s what you need to know about credit card processing fees.

    What Happens When You Make a Credit Card Transaction

    Before we break down the individual credit card processing fees, it’s helpful to give a quick rundown of what happens when you make a payment with your credit card.

    When you try to make a purchase with your card, whichever credit card processor the merchant uses will need to receive authorization to complete the transaction. To do that, the first step is to send your information and the transaction details to the appropriate payment network, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover.

    The payment network then contacts the bank that issues your credit card. Your card issuer has to confirm that you have enough available credit to cover the purchase you are trying to make. If you have enough available credit, it will approve the transaction. If you don’t have enough, it will deny the transaction. That approval or denial goes back to the payment network, who sends its approval (or denial) of the transaction back to the merchant’s bank.

    This entire process only takes a few seconds but it happens every time you make a purchase with your card. It doesn’t matter whether you swipe, insert a card with an EVM chip or manually enter your credit card number.

    Average Credit Card Processing Fees Average Credit Card Processing Fees Visa 1.40% – 2.50% Mastercard 1.60% – 2.90% Discover 1.56% – 2.30% American Express 1.60% – 3.00%

    The table above lists an an average range for credit card processing fees from each major credit card provider. These ranges are meant only to give you an idea of how it works. There are a number of things that go into the final processing fees for any individual merchant (more on that later). Credit card issuers also are not always transparent with their fees and how they change over time. This is particularly true of Discover and American Express. However, credit card processing fees generally average around 2%. Another key trend is that American Express regularly charges higher fees.

    Credit Card Processing Fees: Interchange Fees

    All About Credit Card Processing Fees

    An interchange fee is money that merchants pay every time they make a credit or debit card transaction. It’s typically a percentage of the transaction plus a flat rate for each transaction. For example, an interchange fee might be 1% of the transaction plus a flat fee of $0.25 per transaction.

    This fee goes to the credit (or debit) card’s issuing bank so that it can cover its own fees. In general, a credit card issuer will charge higher fees for cards that offer more perks of benefits. However, the biggest fee that your card issuer has to pay is an assessment fee. This goes to the credit card network (e.g. Visa or Mastercard) and all networks charge the same assessment fee.

    Interchange fees make up the majority of credit card processing costs for a merchant. There is a base part of the interchange fee that is non-negotiable because it is the same no matter what credit card companies a merchant works with. There is also a markup fee, which is an additional cost on top of the base fee. The markup goes to credit card processing companies (learn more about them in the next section) and they vary between processors. These fees are negotiable so a merchant should always compare these fees before choosing a company to process their transactions.

    Credit Card Processing Fees: 
    Merchant Service Providers

    Even though merchants have to contact card-issuing banks to approve every transaction, they do not directly contact those banks. Instead, the transaction goes through a middle man that allows merchants and banks to communicate. This middle man is a merchant service provider (MSP). Common MSPs are Square and Payline.

    MSPs charge merchants a certain fee for every transaction, whether it’s a sale, declined transaction or return. They may also charge the merchant a setup fee, a monthly usage fee and a cancellation fee.

    Some merchants may have a bank that provides these services, but the majority of merchants have to use a third party MSP.

    Online Versus In-Store Transactions

    Credit card processing fees are cheaper if you pay in-person versus online. That’s because there is a greater risk of fraud with online payments. If you buy something in a store, the merchant has the ability to confirm that someone if using a real card and that they are the cardholder. This is harder to do with an online payment. The result is higher fees as companies try to protect themselves from fraudulent payments.

    MSPs also charge additional fees for providing the software that makes an online payment transaction possible for a merchant.

    The Bottom Line

    All About Credit Card Processing Fees

    It only takes a few seconds for a credit card transaction to go through, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Multiple banks and companies help facilitate transactions and they all want their cut of the profit. This is where credit card processing fees come in. A merchant has to pay an interchange fee every time a transaction is made, some of which is non-negotiable and some of which varies depending on the merchant service provider that a merchant uses.

    A merchant bears the brunt of credit card processing fees and some merchants cannot afford to pay all the fees. This is a common reason why smaller merchants do not accept credit cards. These fees are also the reason that some merchants will require a minimum transaction amount in order to use a credit card.

    Common Credit Card Fees to Avoid

    • Some credit cards charge an annual fee. This is a fee the cardholder pays each year simply for the privilege of having the card. Annual fees are particularly common for credit cards that offer valuable rewards. Shop around though because you can avoid an annual fee with some of this year’s best rewards credit card.
    • If you plan to travel, using your card outside of the U.S. could leave you paying a foreign transaction fee. Luckily, we have some cards with no foreign transaction fee in our list of the best travel credit cards.
    • One fee that you can avoid with responsible credit card usage is a late payment fee. This is a fee that your card issuer will charge if you do not pay your bill by the due date. You should always pay on time because paying late will not only result in a fee but your credit score could also be negatively impacted.

    Photo credits: ©iStock.com/Juanmonino, Â©iStock.com/NoDerog, Â©iStock.com/andresr

    The post All About Credit Card Processing Fees appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

    Source: smartasset.com

    Best cards for food delivery and meal kit subscriptions

    Credit cards for foodies are the latest trend, with more and more rewards programs and additional card benefits catering to both dining in and eating out. Restaurant and grocery bonus categories are becoming commonplace – letting cardholders rack up a few extra points or cash back on those purchases.

    But what about those who prefer to order delivery? If you like to take advantage of popular food delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats or simplify cooking with a meal kit subscription, there are plenty of credit card rewards and benefits you can leverage to save a little money.

    Finding the best card for your favorite services

    Finding the best card for your favorite food delivery or meal kit service depends on a variety of factors, including the card’s yearly credits, special perks or rewards rate. For example, many dining cards offer bonuses that are tailored to a specific delivery service, as a monthly Uber credit.

    See Related: Food delivery perks on luxury travel cards

    For meal kit services, matching rewards is a little more complicated. You could opt for a rewarding grocery card, as many meal kit brands are now partnered with major supermarkets – so you can buy them in the store.

    merchant category code that qualifies for a point or cash back bonus. You can test it by making a small charge to your card and seeing what rewards you earn.

    Online shopping rewards, on the other hand, are much more flexible. They apply to both web and app purchases, so whether your order from your phone or computer, you can rack up bonus points or cash back.

    See Related: Make the most of an online shopping bonus category

    Best cards by delivery service or meal kit subscription

    With all this in mind, here are some of our favorite cards for some of the most popular food delivery and meal kit subscription services.

    Delivery service Card Rewards rate Why we like it
    DoorDash Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • 10 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
    • 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurants (excluding purchases covered by $300 travel credit)
    • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
    • Generous rate on dining purchases
    • Receive a yearly statement credit for DoorDash purchases ($60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021)
    • Get at least one free year of DashPass when you enroll with your card (activate by Dec. 31, 2021)
    Uber Eats The Platinum Card® from American Express
    • 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership
    • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
    • 5 points per dollar on eligible hotels booked with amextravel.com (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
    • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
    • Terms apply
    • Get up to $200 in Uber credits per year ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December), which can be applied to Uber Eats
    • Automatic Uber VIP membership (where available) without ride requirements
    Instacart Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
    • 8% cash back on Vivid Seats tickets (through Jan. 2022)
    • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
    • 2% cash back at grocery stores
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • Top-tier cash back on restaurant delivery, including most delivery services
    • Grocery bonus category includes eligible grocery delivery services, including Instacart
    • As a Mastercard, offers complimentary a 2-month Instacart Express membership if enrolled before Mar. 31, 2021
    Grubhub/Seamless/Boxed/Instacart American Express® Gold Card
    • 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
    • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point)
    • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
    • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
    • Terms apply
    • Enroll to receive up to $10 in statement credits per month (up to $120 per year) to use at participating restaurants, including Grubhub, Seamless and Boxed
    • Excellent rewards on grocery delivery services, such as Instacart
    HelloFresh Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
    • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
    • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
    • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit purchases
    • 1% cash back on general purchases
    • Terms apply
    • Generous rate on U.S. supermarket purchases (HelloFresh meal kits are sold in supermarkets such as H-E-B and Giant Food) and eligible grocery delivery services, such as Instacart
    • Unlimited 3% cash back on delivery purchases from ride-share services, like Uber and Lyft
    Home Chef Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
    • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
    • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
    • 1% cash back general purchases
    • Terms apply
    • Generous rate on U.S. supermarket purchases (Home Chef meal kits are sold in select Kroger locations)
    Other delivery services Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
    • 3% cash back on a category of choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvements and furnishings)
    • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
    • $2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter
    • 1% cash back on other purchases
    • Generous rate on online shopping purchases (if you select it as your 3% category) and good rate at grocery stores
    • Can swap choice 3% category monthly to account for different delivery services. For instance, the dining category rewards Grubhub purchases and the travel category rewards ride share purchases from services like Uber

    If you don’t have a delivery service you prefer – or if you like to switch back and forth based on restaurant availability – a card with rewards on online shopping is your best bet.

    Bottom line

    Ordering food can be expensive, but using the right rewards card can help you alleviate some of that cost by racking up points or cash back. With some cards, you might even get a few extras that cover your next couple of meals.

    Source: creditcards.com

    Amex Platinum temporarily adding $30 monthly PayPal credit

    As 2020 ended, we left behind some challenging times – and some valuable credit card perks, like $20 streaming and mobile statement credits the on The Platinum Card® from American Express. (Both expired on Dec. 31, 2020.)

    Fortunately, Amex hasn’t left Platinum cardmembers with nothing in the place of the expired perk. On the contrary, the issuer has added yet another exciting benefit.

    See related: Amex adds Uber Eats Pass for Green, Gold and Platinum, Uber Cash credit on Gold

    For a limited time, Amex Platinum cardholders will be able to enjoy a $30 monthly PayPal credit. While it’s less than the cumulative $40 in monthly streaming and mobile credits the issuer offered late last year, the perk still offers a great value and can be very versatile.

    How the new PayPal credit works

    Amex Platinum cardmembers will be able to use the new perk through June 30, 2021. No registration is required, and the credit will be applied automatically.

    To use the perk, link your American Express Platinum card to your PayPal account and set it as the default payment method. Now, when you shop at eligible online merchants, you can select to check out via PayPal and get up to $30 credited back to you in your monthly statement. You’ll earn Membership Rewards points on this type of transactions as well.

    Note, however, that peer-to-peer payments aren’t eligible for this offer, and you also can’t use it on gift card purchases or prepaid card reloads.

    Receive up to $880 in credits with Amex Platinum in 2021

    This perk is far from the first valuable credit offered on the Platinum card.

    The credits on the Amex Platinum include annual Uber credits of up to $200 ($15 per month plus an extra $20 in December), an up to $200 airline-fee credit, up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credits per year, a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck application fee credit every four years and a $100 hotel credit every time you book with The Hotel Collection.

    The $30 monthly PayPal credit will be available through June – for up to $180 in PayPal credits in total.

    The newly added limited-time perk brings the total credits you can receive from the Amex Platinum up to $880 in 2021 (if you only use the hotel credit once).

    Considering the card’s annual fee is $550, you can get a lot of value from your Amex, especially if we get to see travel finally coming back this year.

    Bottom line

    The new $30 monthly PayPal credit on Amex Platinum may be less valuable than the discontinued $20 streaming and mobile statement credits, but it’s versatile and easy to use – PayPal checkout is available at thousands of online retailers, including major ones, such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot and others.

    Coupled with other credits and perks the Amex Platinum offers, the new benefit drives up the value of the card, making it a travel credit card that’s worth it to have even in the times when travel is limited.

    Source: creditcards.com

    20 Of The Best Entry Level Work From Home Jobs

    Looking for entry level work from home jobs?

    Are you wondering, “How can I work from home with no experience?”

    I know it may seem like every job out there today requires several years of experience. This makes it very difficult to find a job, especially if you are brand new to the field and trying to get your start.

    It can be difficult to find a way to make money from home when you are brand new, but it’s not impossible to find entry level work from home jobs.

    Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you want to start working from home, then I have a great list of no experience work from home jobs for you to look into.

    Now, just because these jobs, businesses, and ways to make extra money don’t require experience, it does not mean that they will be easy! Remember, good things don’t come easy.

    You may have to learn a new skill, take a course, and so on.

    Also, please remember that entry level means you are starting from the bottom and working up. That means it may take a while to establish yourself. Still, there is room to grow in many of these jobs.

    What you’ll find in this list of entry level work from home jobs are new careers and businesses you can start without having a college degree or years of experience.

    There are many ideas on this list that involve starting a freelance career by using existing skills, like if you have a good eye for spotting grammar and punctuation errors, then you may be interested in proofreading.

    There are other ideas on this list that will require you to learn some new skills – all ones you can easily pick up online.

    The most important part is that all of these jobs are 100% work from home ideas. Yes, these are all jobs you can work from the comfort of your own home, while you travel, etc.

    Finding a work from home job can be a great way to make money.

    After all, it’s what I do, and I love it!

    And, there are so many different options depending on what you are looking for. You may be able to find entry level work from home jobs that are part time, full time, that work while you are traveling, and so on.

    Plus, many of the entry level jobs from home on my list allow you to have a more flexible schedule, where you may be able to choose the days you work, your hours, and more.

    So, if you are looking to start making extra money or if you want a new career path that lets you earn money from home, this list is especially for you.

    Before you’re scared off by any of these ideas, please remember that you don’t need to be an expert in any of them right now. As with any new job, you learn as you go and can find training as well.

    Related content on entry level work from home jobs:

    • 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More
    • 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed
    • 15 Outdoor Jobs For People Who Love Being Outside
    • 15 Home Business Ideas & The Free Courses You Need To Get Started

    Below are 20 entry level work from home jobs.

     

    1. Create a blog to earn an income.

    If you’re looking to work from home, I recommend that you think about starting a blog.

    You don’t need previous experience, and most bloggers are brand new to blogging anyways!

    I was brand new when I started my blog many years ago, and I learned everything I know along the way.

    I read lots of online articles written by other bloggers who were once in the same spot I was, and I have also taken several great courses to help me improve my blog over the years.

    I created Making Sense of Cents in 2011, and since then, I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blog.

    Blogging allows me to travel full-time, have a flexible schedule, and I earn a great income doing it.

    My blog was created on a whim as a way to track my own personal finance progress. When I first started my blog, I honestly had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!

    One of the reasons that blogging is one of the best entry level work from home jobs is because blogging is quite affordable to start.

    You can easily learn how to start a blog with my free How To Start a Blog Course.

    Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn:

    • Day 1: Reasons you should start a blog
    • Day 2: How to determine what to blog about
    • Day 3: How to create your blog (in this lesson, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress – my tutorial makes it very easy to start a blog)
    • Day 4: How to make money blogging
    • Day 5: My tips for making passive income from blogging
    • Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers
    • Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you be successful


     

    2. Sell items through Amazon.

    Yes, you read that correctly. You can sell items on Amazon while working from home.

    Even if you have no experience, you can earn money selling all kinds of items on Amazon, from books, work out equipment, electronics, and more. 

    Amazon has many people who sell items and earn money from home. Most have no experience selling things online or have ever worked at Amazon.

    Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, is a friend of mine, and she and her family started selling things on Amazon FBA a few years ago without any experience – they made over $100,000 profit in their first year! And, they were working less than 20 hours a week total.

    Jessica now has a FREE 7 day course that will teach you everything you need to know in order to start selling on Amazon. I recommend signing up for it now!

    I interviewed Jessica in How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA, and we talk about:

    • How Jessica started selling on Amazon FBA
    • What exactly Amazon FBA is
    • How to choose what to buy and sell
    • How much a person can expect to earn
    • The positives of selling on Amazon, and more

     

    3. Teach English online.

    This one will probably surprise you, but there are entry level work from home jobs where you teach English to kids in other countries. You don’t need to have been a teacher or speak a language other than English.

    The requirements are that you have experience working with kids. That can include mentoring, tutoring, coaching, babysitting, or being a parent.

    That’s a pretty easy requirement, though!

    You can typically earn around $14 to $22 per hour by teaching English online.

    Learning how to teach English online has become extremely popular, making it one of the best online jobs from home for many good reasons – it’s flexible, there’s a high need for teachers, and it pays pretty well.

    My top three picks are ones my readers have recommended and ones I have researched:

    1. VIPKID
    2. Qkids
    3. Education First

    Learn more at Make Extra Money By Learning How To Teach English Online.

     

    4. Tutor from home.

    To go along with the above, you can also work from home as an online tutor.

    Course Hero is a website that has entry level work from home jobs where you help high school and college students with course-specific questions.

    Course Hero was founded in 2007 and is an online learning website where students can find tutors and search by their specific school to find study guides, videos, practice problems, class notes, and step-by-step explanations.

    Using the website, students connect with Course Hero tutors on a wide range of subjects and classes, which makes this a great option for people with different educational backgrounds and experience.

    What might surprise you to learn is that you don’t need to have experience as a tutor, professor, or teacher in order to become a Course Hero tutor.

    However, you will need to share information that proves you have expertise in the subjects you would like to help students with, such as degrees or previous work history.

    Tutors earn an average of $3 for each question they answer on Course Hero. Earning between $12-$20 per hour, Course Hero tutors earn an average of $300 a week.

    Here’s how this online tutoring job work:

    1. You apply here to become a Course Hero tutor
    2. When you are available to answer questions, you do so on the Course Hero website
    3. You get paid

    Learn more at How To Make $300+ Weekly As An Online Tutor With Course Hero.

     

    5. Become a virtual assistant.

    Several years ago, I was a virtual assistant.

    I had no previous experience, and I simply learned skills as I worked.

    Virtual assisting is a field that is growing a lot, and there are lots of entry level work from home jobs as a virtual assistant.

    Virtual assistant (VA) tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing content, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you can get paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business, but doesn’t need to be done by them.

    My friend Kayla is a full-time blogger, virtual assistant, and project manager who earns over $10,000 per month while working from home. She is also the founder of $10K VA, a course where she teaches exactly how you can make a consistent $10,000 per month as a virtual assistant!

    Kayla used to work a full-time job as a credit analyst, earning about $2,000 per month. She was struggling to make ends meet while paying off debt, so she started a side hustle as a virtual assistant.

    I interviewed her at How Kayla Earns $10K/Month From Home as a Virtual Assistant, and we talk about:

    • The amount of money a beginner virtual assistant can expect to earn
    • How to find your first virtual assistant job
    • The steps to become a virtual assistant without previous experience
    • Her best tips for being a virtual assistant

    And more!

     

    6. Evaluate Google’s search engine results.

    A Search Engine Evaluator (also known as a Google Rater) is where you rate websites based on their quality and usefulness.

    You are rating websites to help Google improve their search engine results.

    This is one of the entry level work from home jobs that almost anyone can do – you don’t need to be a technical person in order to make money as a search engine evaluator.

    Another great positive is that you can work in the language of your country, as Google operates in nearly every country around the world.

    Learn more at How To Become a Search Engine Evaluator.

     

    7. Manage Facebook advertising for small businesses.

    Did you know that you can make a living from Facebook? With Facebook advertising, you can help businesses expand their reach.

    And, yes, this is a skill that you can learn!

    Last year, business owners spent over $88,000,000 per day on Facebook ads. This is expected to continue to grow, and it is one of the largest advertising spaces that exists.

    My blogging friend Bobby Hoyt knows a lot about this topic. Bobby is a former high school teacher who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in a year and a half. He learned how to run Facebook ads on his own to earn extra money. Bobby now runs the personal finance blog Millennial Money Man full-time, as well as a digital marketing agency for local businesses that he started in 2015.

    I interviewed Bobby about entry level work from home jobs running Facebook ads, and in our interview, you will learn:

    • How he started earning income through running Facebook ads
    • Why small businesses want Facebook ads
    • How a person can find their first Facebook ads client
    • How much you can make doing this type of work – the average is around $1,000 extra a month per client

    Also, Bobby has a free webinar on this topic too. His webinar (you can sign up here) will teach you how to start this business even if you’re brand new, how to find paying clients, and more.

     

    8. Get paid to share your opinion.

    This isn’t exactly a job, but it is a way to make extra money.

    And, you don’t need any previous experience.

    Yes, you can get paid to share your opinion!

    Companies use surveys all the time to learn what their current and potential customers think of their products, services, and company. With the surveys you take, companies get valuable opinions on how to improve their products, and that’s what they are paying you for.

    Below are the survey companies I recommend:

    1. American Consumer Opinion
    2. Survey Junkie
    3. Swagbucks
    4. InboxDollars
    5. Opinion Outpost
    6. OneOpinion
    7. Pinecone Research
    8. Prize Rebel
    9. Product Report Card
    10. Survey Club

     

    9. Create an online store of your own.

    This is one of the entry level work from home jobs that many people are surprised to hear about. But yes, you can start your own online store, and you don’t need to have tons of experience or a lot of money to do so. Many people start with absolutely no background.

    I had the opportunity to interview Jenn Leach of E-commerce and Prosper, who explains exactly how to start an online store.

    Jenn is a corporate mom turned e-commerce store owner and blogger.

    She started her online business a little over three years ago, and since then, she has developed and grown three successful online e-commerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month.

    She is super successful despite only spending around 5-10 hours per week on her e-commerce business.

    You can read our interview at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.

     

    10. Start a bookkeeping business.

    I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that bookkeeping is an area with entry level work from home jobs, but it definitely is.

    A bookkeeper is someone who tracks the finances of a business, handles billing and payments, making spreadsheets, etc., but that doesn’t mean you need to be an accountant or have any related experience.

    Ben, from Bookkeeper Launch, helps people get started as bookkeepers even when they don’t have any experience. Ben is a CPA who founded his business after realizing that many businesses needed better bookkeepers. 

    In our interview, we talk about:

    • What a bookkeeper is
    • The typical clients a bookkeeper has
    • How much new bookkeepers earn
    • How to become a bookkeeper
    • The positives and negatives of bookkeeping

    You can read all of his answers and more in our interview Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.

    Also, you can sign up here for a free series that will teach you more about running your own virtual bookkeeping business.

     

    11. Find stuff to resell.

    This is one another one of the entry level work from home jobs that anyone can start. That’s because we all have lots of stuff in our house that we can probably sell online.

    Have you ever found something that you thought you may be able to resell and actually make some money?

    Melissa’s family earned $133,000 in one year through buy and sell flipping, and they were working only 10-20 hours per week.

    Yes, just 10-20 hours a week!

    Some of the best flipped items that they’ve sold include:

    • An item that they bought for $10 and flipped for $200 just 6 minutes later
    • A security tower they bought for $6,200 and flipped for $25,000 just one month later
    • A prosthetic leg that they bought for $30 at a flea market and sold for $1,000 on eBay the next day

    You can learn more at How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.

     

    12. Write online as a freelancer.

    I know so many people who have found entry level freelance writing jobs. You don’t need a background in writing or a degree in English or creative writing.

    A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, advertising companies, books, and more. They don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing.

    My friend Holly from EarnMoreWriting.com (as well as the popular personal finance blog Club Thrifty) is a very successful freelance writer and has earned over $200,000 writing online!

    Her freelance writing course includes nine video modules, several printable worksheets, and awesome add-ons, too. Here are some of the things you can expect to learn if you take her freelance writing course:

    • Discover the #1 most important thing you can do to get paid writing jobs
    • Learn how to find entry level work from home jobs as a writer and move up over time
    • Learn how price affects the amount of work you get
    • Learn which types of jobs help Holly earn the most pay, and where you can find them
    • Find out which online platforms work best for finding paid work, and how to use them
    • Learn how to structure your work day to earn six figures or more

    Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.

     

    13. Transcribe audio or video into text.

    Transcription is the art of turning any audio or video content into a text document.

    There are many businesses looking for transcriptionists too – since general transcriptionists convert audio and video to text for virtually any industry, there really isn’t a typical client. Some examples include marketers, authors, filmmakers, academics, speakers, and conferences of all types.

    Beginning transcriptionists earn around $15 an hour to start.

    There are many transcriptionist jobs that don’t require experience, and most transcriptionists learn more and improve their skills as they work.

    You can learn more about becoming a transcriptionist in the interview Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist. The interview explains:

    • What a transcriptionist is
    • How you can get started as a transcriptionist
    • What kind of money you can expect to make
    • The type of training you need, and more

     

    14. Find proofreading jobs online.

    Finding entry level proofreading jobs online is very possible.

    All you need to work as a proofreader is a laptop or tablet, an internet connection, and a good eye for pointing out mistakes.

    Proofreaders look for punctuation mistakes, misspelled words, lack of consistency, and formatting errors.

    In 2014, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 by being a freelance proofreader.

    You’ll learn more about this in my interview with Caitlin that I link to below, but proofreaders take content that other people have written and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb. You might be proofreading blog posts, print articles, academic articles, website copy, ad copy, books, student papers, emails, and more.

    This job is for a very specific type of person who LOVES to correct grammar or makes a note of spelling mistakes on a restaurant menu… it takes a certain “eagle eye” ability to be good at proofreading!

    I interviewed Caitlin on what it takes to become a proofreader, and in our interview we go over questions such as:

    • What a proofreader does
    • How much proofreaders earn
    • How quickly a person can start making money as a proofreader
    • The steps needed to become a proofreader

    You can find out about entry level work from home jobs and more at How To Become A Proofreader And Work From Anywhere.

    Caitlin has put together a FREE 76-minute workshop, where she answers all of the most common questions about becoming a proofreader, and she even shows you how to use the most popular tools used by proofreaders around the world. You can sign up for free here.

     

    15. Learn how to become a scopist.

    Scoping is when you are editing legal documents for court reporters. This is different from proofreading for court reporters.

    I interviewed an expert on the topic – Linda from Internet Scoping School. She has been scoping for over 35 years and has taught scoping online for around 20 years.

    She also has a free course that will introduce you to scoping so that you can decide if it’s one of the entry level work from home jobs you want to pursue. You can find the free course by clicking here.

    Scopists who are working with an average court reporter tend to make around $30,000 to $45,000 per year working pretty much full-time.

    You can learn more at How To Become A Scopist.

     

    16. Assist with podcasts.

    Currently, there’s a huge demand for podcast virtual assistants.

    There are over 800,000 podcasts out there, and that number just continues to grow. Podcasts are still a pretty new area, and that opens the door for lots of new entry level work from home jobs helping with all of these new podcasts.

    While the podcast host can record themselves, other tasks like editing and publication take time, so many podcasters outsource their work to freelancers or virtual assistants. Also, some podcasters may not know how to do those things, or they may choose to focus their time on other areas.

    Some of the different services you could do as a podcast virtual assistant include:

    • Audio editing
    • Marketing and promotion
    • Publication
    • Distribution
    • Show note creation

    Learn more at How I Make $1,500 A Month As A Podcast Virtual Assistant.

    Also, you can sign up here for free information on learning more about how to become a podcast VA. In this free resource, you’ll learn more about what exactly a podcast virtual assistant is, the services you can offer, and starting rates.

     

    17. Work as a freelancer.

    Freelancers are people who work for others by doing part-time jobs. A business may hire you on for one-time gigs or you may get a long-term job with a company as a freelancer.

    In addition to some of the freelance jobs I’ve already mentioned (writing, proofreading, transcribing, and bookkeeping) there are even more entry level work from home jobs out there for people who are able to leverage existing skills, like:

    • Graphic design
    • Web design and development
    • Video editing
    • Sound design
    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Programming
    • Photography

    This is one of the best work from home jobs because you can use a skill you already have and start finding work on job platforms like UpWork and Fiverr.

     

    18. Find a work from home job in customer service.

    Many large companies outsource their customer service departments to people who are working from home. 

    Customer service representatives may be responsible for a number of things, such as:

    • Working at an online call center
    • Working as a chat agent
    • Offering technical support
    • Virtual assistant tasks
    • Working as a travel agent

    This is becoming one of the best entry level work from home jobs because the number of large companies who need online customer service reps is growing. Companies like Apple, American Express, UHAUL, and more offer basic training for new hires.

     

    19. Secret shop.

    Funny enough, many people think that you have to “know someone” or have previous experience in order to become a mystery shopper.

    But, that’s not the truth at all.

    You don’t need any previous experience in order to become a secret shopper.

    This won’t be a full-time job, but it can give you some extra money each month. And, yes, there are some mystery shops that can be done by phone and online.

    I remember when I first heard of being a secret shopper. I was working at a retail store and we regularly had mystery shoppers come in to grade how we were doing. We never knew who the mystery shopper was, but we would get to read their report afterwards.

    I thought it was so interesting that people were getting paid to shop!

    Not long after hearing about it, I decided to try mystery shopping to make extra money to help pay off my student loan debt.

    I regularly earned around $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping, and I earned free items/services as well, such as $100 to spend at restaurants (which I had to grade while I was there), makeup, and more.

    If this sounds interesting to you, you can join Bestmark by clicking here. This is my favorite mystery shopping company, and the only one I used back when I was mystery shopping, so I know it’s legitimate.

    Learn more at Want To Make An Extra $100 A Month? Learn How To Become A Mystery Shopper.

     

    20. Become a voice over actor.

    A voice over actor is the person you hear but rarely see on YouTube videos, radio ads, explainer videos, corporate narration, documentaries, e-learning courses, audiobooks, TV commercials, video games, movies, and cartoons.

    This job doesn’t require previous experience or special skills – you just need to have the right kind of voice that companies are looking for.

    In 2014, Carrie replaced her salaried day job to become a full-time voice over actor. People are constantly asking her how she got her start and how they can too.

    So, she created a six-week online class, and it sold out. Several of her students booked voice acting jobs before the class was even over!

    I was excited to learn more about this work from home job, so I interviewed Carrie to learn:

    • How she got into this interesting career field
    • Who the common clients are
    • How much money a beginner voice over actor can expect to make
    • The positives of this job
    • How to find your first job
    • The costs, and more

    You can read my interview with her at How To Become A Voice Over Actor And Work From Anywhere.

     

    How can I make money from home with no experience?

    As you can see, there are many different options for you if you are looking for an online job or work from home business with no experience.

    I hope you are able to find what works best for you and your situation.

    What entry level work from home jobs would you add to the list above?

    The post 20 Of The Best Entry Level Work From Home Jobs appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

    Source: makingsenseofcents.com