What is a Good Entry Level Salary?

Recent grads — or even just those starting a new career midstream — may wonder what sort of offer to expect when negotiating a starting salary. While it’s unlikely an early-stage hire will outearn senior management from the get-go, it can be key not to accept a pittance below the going market rates.

Since pay can vary greatly based on location or line of work, there’s no one answer to the question, “What is a good entry level salary?” The size of the paycheck will differ based on where someone lives, the industry they work in, the hiring institution or company, and other hard-to-tabulate variables.

So, how might a job seeker figure out a good entry level salary before sitting down with the new boss or an HR representative to talk pay? Here are some helpful resources to get a handle on entry level rates across the US, including tips for negotiating compensation:

Understanding Entry Level Salaries?

Entry level salary information changes on a regular basis, but many job-focused websites offer insights into the going rates. For instance, ZipRecruiter, a well-known American employment marketplace, lists the average U.S. entry level salary by state , which ranges, at the time of this writing, from $12.61 per hour or $26,219 per year in North Carolina to $17.09 per hour or $35,750 per year in New York.

Still, even state-by-state averages don’t show the whole picture. Although more than half of US states have minimum wage requirements higher than the federal minimum wage, which remains set at $7.25 per hour, the amount an early-career hire might expect can also vary by county and city within the same state.

According to Glassdoor, the average entry level salary in the Jacksonville, FL area is $14 per hour, whereas the average in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area is significantly higher at $16 per hour.

Along with location, the industry one works in can play a big role in what kind of starting salary a new hire might expect. For instance, a data scientist at a tech company might be able to earn as much as $95,000 right out of the gate, while a newly minted journalist might expect something closer to $30,000.

(Psst: early-stage college students might want to align their eventual courses of studies with one of these high-paying entry level jobs.)

One way to grasp what sort of salary that might be expected is targeted research on the specific industry, location, and even position and company.

Researching a Good Entry Level Salary

Recent grads wanting to understand if they’re being offered current market rates for a particular job (or location) can turn to the internet to research details. Some sites that might offer resources for those job seekers include:

Payscale , for example, allows employees to create custom “pay reports” based on their job title, years of experience, and city.

Salary.com offers a similar feature, allowing job seekers to search for positions by keyword and compare them accordingly.

Glassdoor is another well-known web resource that publishes employee-generated information on salary by specific company and position. It also hosts reviews by current and former employees, which may help a job applicant learn more about what it’s, actually, like to work there. (In some cases, Glassdoor lists interview specifics that could help future interviewees better understand what’s expected from them).

After researching average pay by role, location, and company, job seekers might also next want to mull over how to negotiate an acceptable offer.

Negotiating a Higher Offer

So, what can a job seeker do if their dream job doesn’t (initially) come with a dreamy paycheck? What are some tips for negotiating?

While it’s not always possible to eke precious water from a parched stone, coming to the negotiating table prepared to negotiate can help job applicants angle for a more generous compensation package.

Negotiating a salary can be scary, especially for a recent grad who’s not used to the salary tango. Nevertheless, negotiating an offer up front can have a significant effect on one’s paycheck (and, by extension, one’s long-term earnings).

One Glassdoor press release estimated that the average US employee could be earning 13.3% more—if they negotiated.

Preparing to Negotiate

How might a new hire negotiate a higher-paid entry level salary? Well, having a well-researched entry level salary forecast in mind is one place to start.

Of course, it’s not likely that early-career hire can simply negotiate up to a data scientist’s $95,000 salary if that’s not the norm for the role or location they’ve applied for.

But, it’s still possible to make the case to hiring managers for why a higher rate is merited. When making this case, it could be helpful to give concrete examples of how a worker’s current skills might benefit the company. In these conversations, it may be possible to push an offer up a few percentage points (especially when the skills required are in high demand).

Glassdoor suggests that job seeker’s practice their negotiating pitch. Doing so ahead of time can help some to hone a confident delivery style. What’s more, knowing why a higher salary is being requested could also allow some new hires not to sell themselves short. Adopting negotiation tactics might help some new grads or career changers to meet their salary goal (or inch closer to it).

On top of baseline salary, it’s also possible in some roles and industries to negotiate for other valuable forms of compensation—such as, fitness stipends, work-from-home time, funding for continued education, and more.

Of course, negotiating a good entry level salary is not necessarily an easy undertaking. The Harvard Business Review warns soon-to-be negotiators to prepare for tough questions, especially where salary is concerned. Interviewers may put candidates on the spot, asking if they’re considering other offers or if the position is their top choice.

In an already uncomfortable situation, some candidates may stumble or misspeak if they don’t know how to justify what they’re asking for.

One simple place to start is asking whether it’s possible to negotiate the offer in the first place. Candidates may also inquire about future career growth and promotion potential, which could lead to a bigger salary later down the road.

Navigating Post-College Life, Financially and Beyond

Navigating life after college can be exciting and challenging. Trying to make ends meet on an entry level salary might be particularly tough, especially when on the hook to pay back student loans—as 54% of young adults who went to college took on some debt , including student loans, for their education.

A flexible and adaptable approach to finances and where one lives could make the transition to post-college life more manageable.

For instance, recent graduates who are in a position to choose a new place to live, might opt to move to one of the top cities for college grads. Cities like Houston or Nashville (to name just two) have boasted strong economies, affordable rent prices, and low unemployment rates.

Learning how to make a budget can also go a long way toward covering common expenses—even when one’s starting salary leaves a few zeroes to be desired. That said, there’s only so much instant ramen to eat or cups of coffee to skip out on.

For those feeling weighed down by student loans while earning an entry level salary, additional options exist. Those with outstanding federal student loans, for example, may qualify for income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness for public service, or deferment.

Refinancing educational debt with a private lender is one extra option that could save money each month—or help the borrower pay off student loans faster.

Student loan refinancing may allow recent grads to make lower monthly payments toward their existing debt, freeing up some extra cash. Or, it could help a borrower to save money on interest paid on the loan as a whole, allowing them to pay off the debt total faster.

It’s important to note that refinancing with a private lender causes borrowers to forfeit certain guaranteed federal benefits, like income-driven repayment (IDR).

SoFi refinances both federal and private student loans, offering no application fees and no prepayment penalties. Those who refinance their student loans through SoFi get access to a wide range of exclusive member benefits, including career coaching, financial advice, and more—at no additional cost.

Checking your refinance rate won’t have an affect on your credit score and could be the first step toward saving thousands of dollars—or making more affordable monthly student loan payments.

Interested in student loan refinancing? Applying with SoFi might be a smart money move for you.



SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.

SOSL20020

Source: sofi.com

MasterCard Announces New DoorDash & Hello Fresh Benefits (Lyft Benefit Reduced)

Mastercard has announced new benefits for World & World Elite cardholders and also some changes to existing benefits. The new benefits are as follows:

  • DoorDash. World & World Elite cardholders that are new to DoorDash DashPass will receive a three month membership. Cardholders will also get a $5 discount on their first two orders each month (valid until September 30, 2022), this $5 discount requires having a DashPass membership but the free membership for Chase cardholders works. This discount applies as a promo code, so can’t be stacked with other DoorDash promo codes.
    • The $5 discount will automatically be applied to the first two orders made by a cardholder with a DashPass membership when paying with a World or World Elite Mastercard. If you cancel your order, or if it is refunded for any reason you will not get the $5 discount back. Mastercard offer may not be combined with any other promotion.
  • HelloFresh. World & World Elite cardholders will get 5% back on each HelloFresh purchase that can be used towards a future HelloFresh order.

Changes to benefits are as follows:

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Credit Card Rewards & Benefits for the COVID-19 Era

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted society and the economy on a global scale like few other events in living memory. Financial companies large and small recognize the pandemic’s magnitude. While their chief focus in the near term is blunting the fiscal impact of the crush of loan delinquencies caused by spiking unemployment and falling incomes, they’re reacting in less visible ways as well.

One such response is a reasonably widespread adjustment to popular credit card rewards programs and fringe benefits packages. Well over a dozen credit cards — mostly premium travel rewards cards and business credit cards — have temporarily added new rewards categories (or increased existing rewards rates) and potentially valuable fringe benefits to reflect their newly homebound users’ changing spending habits.

New cardholders can take advantage of many (though not all) of these new rewards and benefits, so there’s still time to get off the fence and apply if you’ve been considering a new card. Here’s a detailed look at the best new credit card features and benefits for the COVID-19 era.

New Credit Card Perks & Benefits for the Coronavirus Pandemic

In response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple credit cards from American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, and Citibank added temporary perks and benefits to their most popular rewards credit cards. Some remain in effect.

American Express

These American Express cards added new perks, benefits, and credit opportunities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bear in mind that many have since expired:

The Platinum Card From American Express (Consumer & Business)

The Platinum Card® from American Express and its business-friendly cousin, the Business Platinum® Card from American Express, introduced some potentially valuable limited-time benefits.

The consumer Platinum Card’s included:

  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against purchases made with select U.S. streaming services through December 2020
  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against purchases made directly with select U.S. wireless telephone service providers through December 2020
  • For cardholders who renew their accounts before Dec. 31, 2020, up to $200 in general-purpose statement credits against purchases made through the Amex Travel portal.

Be aware that these benefits may no longer be available after Jan. 1, 2021.

These benefits complement an existing consumer Platinum perk for those spending more time at home: $15 in Uber credits per month (plus a $20 bonus Uber credit in December) that apply against UberEats food delivery purchases.

Meanwhile, the Business Platinum Card’s temporary benefits included:

  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against direct purchases with select U.S. wireless telephone service providers through December 2020
  • Up to $20 per month in statement credits against U.S. shipping purchases through December 2020
  • A $200 appreciation credit for longtime cardholders who renew their accounts (though not all will qualify)
  • Up to $200 in bonus statement credits against U.S. purchases made with Dell Technologies each year ($100 between January and June and $100 between July and December, for a total cumulative bonus credit of $200)

The Dell credit effectively doubled an existing Dell credit opportunity in place before the pandemic.

Note that these benefits may no longer be available after Jan. 1, 2021.

For more details on these cards’ rewards programs and benefits, see our Platinum Card from American Express review and our Business Platinum Card from American Express review. And mind their relatively high annual fees.

American Express Gold Card

The American Express® Gold card offers up to $120 per year ($10 per month) in Uber Cash to offset Uber Eats and Uber rideshare purchases when you add your Gold card as a payment method in the app.

Plus, earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible Uber Eats purchases after reaching your monthly Uber Cash maximum.

American Express Green Card

The American Express Green Card offered up to $10 in statement credits per month against eligible U.S. wireless telephone service purchases through December 2020.

Note that these benefits may no longer be available after Jan. 1, 2021. And mind Amex Gold’s high annual fee.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express card introduced two useful (and potentially valuable) perks for temporarily grounded cardholders:

  • A Dec. 31, 2020, expiration date for any companion certificates scheduled to expire before June 30, 2020, regardless of issue date
  • A six-month expiration date extension for any one-time guest passes to participating Delta Sky Club airport lounge locations set to expire before April 1, 2021.

Like Amex Platinum and Gold, Delta SkyMiles Reserve has a high annual fee. Carefully consider whether you’ll use the card enough (and travel often enough during and after the pandemic) to justify the carrying cost.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

For a limited time, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express card has a nice little bonus for cardholders who’ve temporarily paused their travel plans during the pandemic: A $100 Delta flight credit that’s yours after spending $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year.

This promotion has no set end date, but it’s subject to change at Amex and Delta’s discretion.

Hilton Honors Amex Credit Cards (Consumer)

Hilton Honors points earned via spending on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card through December 2020 count toward elite status qualification (including lifetime Diamond status).

That’s a departure from the normal state of affairs, wherein only base points earned on eligible Hilton purchases — whether you make them with a Hilton Amex card or not — count toward elite status qualification. (Note that this benefit may not be available after Jan. 1, 2021.)

Meanwhile, free weekend night certificates issued through Dec. 31, 2021, stay valid for 212 months from the issue date and can be redeemed on weekdays as well.


Chase

These JPMorgan Chase credit cards have added new perks and benefits as well:

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card has a very impressive lineup of temporary benefits:

  • The $300 annual statement credit, generally reserved for travel, also applies to supermarket and gas station purchases through June 2021
  • The Pay Yourself Back redemption option, which assigns a redemption value of $0.015 per point for statement credit redemptions made against purchases in select categories — initially restaurants, supermarkets, and home improvement stores, but subject to change — through April 2021. That’s a 50% boost to the usual redemption rate.
  • From Nov. 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible supermarket (grocery store) purchases, up to $1,000 in purchases per month. This temporary rewards category is available in modified form for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders as well: 2 points per $1 spent on eligible supermarket purchases, up to $1,000 in purchases per month, during the same timeframe.

These temporary opportunities complement a raft of permanent Chase Sapphire Reserve perks and benefits rolled out in early 2020, including:

  • A complimentary subscription to DoorDash DashPass through at least 2021, depending on when your account is opened, with benefits like free delivery on eligible DoorDash takeout (delivery) orders
  • $60 in statement credits against eligible DoorDash purchases in 2021
  • Up to $120 back in statement credits on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through Dec. 31, 2021

Pay Yourself Back on Other Chase Credit Cards

For a limited time, several other Chase credit cards have added Pay Yourself Back, albeit at a slightly less generous redemption rate than Sapphire Reserve.

The following Chase consumer and business cards allow statement credit redemptions made against purchases at restaurants, supermarkets, and home improvement stores:

  • Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card, through April 30, 2021 (for a limited time, Sapphire Preferred also offers a $50 statement credit against eligible grocery store purchases). Sapphire Preferred also offers a limited-time deal for Peloton members: up to $60 off select Peloton memberships through December 2021, including full access to Peloton’s digital workout library with no fitness equipment required.
  • Chase Freedom® Credit Card, indefinitely (closed to new sign-ups)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card, indefinitely
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, indefinitely

Freedom Flex is also noted for its quarterly rotating 5% cash-back categories. Refer to our up-to-date Freedom 5% category list for more information.


Citi

These Citibank credit cards added limited-time new perks and benefits as well:

Citi Prestige Card

You can apply the Citi Prestige card’s 2020 travel credit — worth $250 — to restaurant and grocery store purchases in addition to airfare, hotel bookings, car rentals, and other types of eligible travel.

This offer is available only to current Citi Prestige cardholders and expired on Dec. 31, 2020, though Citi may choose to reinstate it at its discretion.

See our Citi Prestige card review for more details about this card’s rewards program and benefits.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Current Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard cardholders earn a $225 statement credit upon account renewal. This perk is only available to accounts open as of March 31, 2020.

See our Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard review for more details on this card.


Final Word

As we all adjust to the new normal of the COVID-19 era, it’s fair to expect credit card issuers (and cardmembers) to do the same.

That could mean more temporary or permanent changes to existing cards’ rewards programs and benefits packages, such as new rewards categories, sign-up bonus opportunities, and fringe benefits.

Perhaps more exciting, it could also lead to entirely new cards that reflect long-term changes in consumer behavior and spending. The airline and hotel credit card spaces have been especially volatile during the pandemic, so perhaps new offerings from top brands like Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott are on the way.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: moneycrashers.com

The 13 Best Money-Making Apps of 2021

11. Stash: Spend $1 to Own a Piece of Amazon, Google or Other Companies

Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company. 

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

But with an app called Stash, it doesn’t have to be. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and more1 for as little as $1 through a Personal Portfolio2. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.3 

And for investors who want to be more hands-off — or just don’t know where to start — there’s an option to have Stash create and manage a personalized portfolio for you. It’s called Smart Portfolio4, and it aims to diversify your investments based on your risk profile, then automatically updates your investments to keep you on track. 

It takes two minutes to sign up, and your investments are protected. With Stash, investments are held by their custodian, Apex Clearing Corporation, which is a third-party, SEC-registered broker-dealer and a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money comes with protection.”5

Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.6

1This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value. All product and company names are trademarks ™ or registered ® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

2This type of account is a Non-Discretionary Managed Account. This includes a self-directed individual taxable brokerage account whereby Stash does not manage this account on a discretionary basis.

3Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.

4This type of account is a Discretionary Managed Account. This is a taxable brokerage account that Stash has full authority to manage according to specific investment mandate. Diversification and asset allocation do not guarantee profit, nor do they eliminate the risk of loss of principal.

5To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.

For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

6Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.

The Penny Hoarder is a paid marketing partner of Stash. 

This information is for educational purposes only. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Q2 2021 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom/Flex, Discover, Dividend, Cash+ & more)

Update 3/31/21: Added FCU categories.

It’s now possible to activate/enroll all 5% category credit cards for the second quarter of 2021, including the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Flex, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, US Bank Cash+ and a few others. In this post we’ll provide the activation link for each card and links to track your spend, along with strategies to help increase spend in these categories.

Dates: April 1st – June 30, 2021. Store purchases can usually be done until the last minute. Online purchases should be given a buffer zone of a day or two.

Chase Freedom – Gas, Home Improvement

Activation Link / FAQ / Sample Stores & Exclusions / Our original post

With your Freedom and Freedom Flex cards, earn 5% back this quarter on up to $1,500 in spend at gas stations and home improvement stores.

  • Gas Stations – Includes Exxon, Shell, BP, 7-Eleven, Quiktrip, Raceway, Royal Farms and many others; see a long list of examples here. Looks like many convenience stores will count for this, and they might sell gift cards too; do a small test to be sure.
  • Home Improvement Stores – Includes Lowes, Home Depot and many others; see a long list of examples here. Online purchases should work as well.

Tip: Click this link (login required) to check how far you are along the $1,500.

Discover – Gas, Wholesale Clubs, Streaming Services

Activation Link / Our original post

With your Discover card, earn 5% back this quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, and Streaming Services.

  • Gas Stations – Works for pump and inside payments which makes it easier to use as it may work for purchases from the convenience store at a gas station (perhaps for a gift card purchase there as well).
  • Wholesale Clubs – Probably includes online wholesale club purchases too. Costco does not accept Discover in-club, but you should be able to buy a Costco Cash card online with a Discover card and use it that way.
  • Streaming Services – includes only the following U.S. streaming subscriptions: Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, Disney +, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV.

Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Gas Stations (stand-alone), Wholesale Clubs and Select Streaming Services from 4/1/21 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 6/30/21, on up to $1,500 in purchases. Purchases made at Gas Stations include only merchants in the category that sell automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets and supercenters may not be eligible. Check with your Wholesale Clubs to make sure your Discover card is accepted. Purchases of affiliated Wholesale Club services, such as delivery services, travel and cell phone purchases, may not be eligible in this category. Individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Wholesale club locations, or online, may not be eligible in this category. Select Streaming Services purchases include only the following select U.S. streaming subscriptions: Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, BET+, CBS All Access, DAZN, Disney +, ESPN+, Fubo TV, Google Play Movies & TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Philo, Peacock TV, Showtime, Sirius XM, Starz, Sling, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV. If your subscription is bundled with another product or service, billed by a third party (such as a digital platform, a cable or satellite provider, telecommunications, internet provider or a car manufacturer), the purchase may not be eligible in this category. Add-ons associated with Select Streaming Services may not qualify for this promotion if they are not listed, billed in a bundle, separately or through a third party. Listed merchants are in no way sponsoring or affiliated with this program.

Tip: Login, then click this link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are.

Citi Dividend – Supermarket, Drugstores

Landing Page | Our Original Post

With your Dividend card, earn 5% back this quarter at Supermarkets and Drugstores. Citi is different than the other cards in that you have a $6,000 annual cap rather than a $1,500 quarterly cap. Thus, you can get 5% back on up to $6,000 in this quarter, you can save the entire amount for a different quarter, or you can use part up each quarter. A lot of people will max out their full year on this quarter given how easy it is to spend at grocery stores and drugstores.

  • Supermarkets – groceries are always a useful category. Plus, you can buy gift cards in many supermarkets as well.
  • Drugstores – drugstores often sell a wide variety of gift cards which makes the category easy to use.

US Bank Cash+/Elan – Select your Categories

Activation link | Merchant List | Our Original Post

U.S. Bank Cash+ and Elan Max offer 5% cash back in two categories, up to $2,000 combined total per quarter. Keep in mind that Car Rentals was recently replaced with TV, Internet, and Streaming Services.

Here are the current options:

  • TV, Internet, and Streaming Services
  • Home utilities
  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phone providers
  • Electronic Stores
  • Gyms/Fitness
  • Fast food
  • Ground Transportation
  • Sporting goods
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie theaters

Tip: Login here, then scroll down and click on the red “View Your Cash+ History” button.

Bank of America Cash Rewards

Our Original Post

The Cash Rewards card from Bank of America offers 3% back on one selected category, up to $2,500 per quarter. If you don’t select anything it defaults to gas. Once you selected a category for one quarter, that remains your category in the future unless you change it. Each calendar month you can change it if you’d like, but you’re always limited to $2,500 for the entire quarter.

  • Gas (default)
  • Online Shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug Stores
  • Home Improvement/Furnishings

This category is especially lucrative for those who have Preferred Rewards status with Bank of America which can get you 5.25% back on one of these categories at the higher relationship level.

Lots of useful categories here. Important note: the Cash Rewards card also offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 per quarter, and that $2,500 limit combines with the Category Selection limit. After spending $2,500, you’ll earn 1% back on everything.

Other Cards with 5% Category

ABOC – Home Improvement, Gardening, Select Online Retailers

Registration Link | Our Original Post

  • Earn 5x points on qualifying home improvement, gardening, and selected online retailers. Must have a registered account at abocrewards.com.

Nusenda FCU – Restaurants, Home Improvement, Movies

Landing Page | Our Original Post

  • Earn 5% this quarter on Restaurants, Home Improvement stores, and Movies on up to $1,500 in purchases.

Affinity FCU – Add Me

Landing Page | Our Original Post

  • Earn 5% this quarter on purchases at Clothing & Accessories, Home Improvement/Supplies, Drug Stores

The 5x is on top of regular earn for a total of 6x or 7x, depending on the card. There also does not appear to be any limit.

Vantage West [AZ] – Select your Category

Landing Page | Our Original Post

Get 5x points on the category of your choice, up to $1,500 per quarter. Eligible categories:

  • Travel
  • Restaurants
  • Utilities [water, cell, electric, etc.]
  • In-Store Wholesale Purchases [Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.]
  • Department Stores
  • Hardware & Home Improvement Stores
  • Charitable Organizations
  • Pharmacies & Drug Stores
  • Amazon.com

Source: doctorofcredit.com