Washington, D.C.: The Capital of Cash Back

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New research from CardRatings.com shows how much consumers can earn in credit card rewards based on shopping trends in some of America’s largest metropolitan areas.

Most people that hear that you can earn several hundred dollars cash bank in any given year by simply using the right cash back card are more than a little skeptical. The key is being strategic and disciplined in your spending.

Capitalizing on the cash rewards credit card companies offer could earn consumers hundreds of dollars per year, according to new research from CardRatings.com. Those rewards can add up to a drink at happy hour every week, a few rounds on the golf course or relaxing time at the spa.

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, CardRatings.com calculated the potential rewards of cash-back credit cards based on the eligible expenditures of households in 18 major cities, and then broke down different things that those rewards could buy.

To aid in the calculations, several typical assumptions of cash-back rewards programs were used:

  •     3 percent cash back on groceries and dining out
  •     3 percent on personal care products and services
  •     1 percent on everything else

In these major cities, the potential rewards ranged from $275.02 to $472.45.

"Most people that hear that you can earn several hundred dollars cash bank in any given year by simply using the right cash back card are more than a little skeptical,” Curtis Arnold, CardRatings.com Editor-in-Chief, said. “The reality is that it’s not a gimmick. I would estimate that millions of consumers will earn hundreds of dollars this year in cash-back bonuses from their credit cards.”

Major cities/ Potential Cash-Back Earnings:

1.    Washington, D.C. - $472.45
2.    San Francisco - $426.76
3.    Boston - $420
4.    Baltimore - $398.53
5.    Houston - $394.88
6.    Seattle - $393.36
7.    Minneapolis/St. Paul - $387.94
8.    Dallas-Fort Worth - $383.72
9.    Los Angeles - $379.06
10.    Phoenix - $376.17
11.    San Diego - $360.03
12.    Chicago - $359.29
13.    New York - $358.89
14.    Philadelphia - $346.39
15.    Detroit - $346.28
16.    Atlanta - $321.78
17.    Cleveland - $305.63
18.    Miami - $275.02

“My wife and I have consistently earned at least several hundred dollars each year for many years. On certain years, we have earned much more by putting things like an automobile on a car,” Arnold said. “The key is being strategic and disciplined in your spending. It's a bit of a game, but it's a fun game and one that actually pays cash!"

With these kinds of rewards, a family of four could go see a show on Broadway, see their favorite sports team or treat themselves to dinner out several times during the year.

For the full analysis on how consumers can maximize their cash-back rewards see: DC: Capital of cash back.

About CardRatings.com

CardRatings.com is the leading comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers. The site has been educating consumers, publishing news and providing expert advice on credit cards and debt since 1998. CardRatings.com offers consumer reviews of credit cards and issues an annual ranking of top-rated cards in a variety of categories to help consumers find the credit cards best suited to their needs, get the best credit card rates available and effectively lower their debt. CardRatings.com, of Little Rock, Ark., is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in ethical marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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