Jeremy Abroad

Credit Cards I Use and Recommend

July 05, 2018

Credit cards with cash back policies and no annual fees are essentially free money (assuming you treat it like a debit card and don’t spend more than you have) and give you greater security than debit cards.

I primarily use two credit cards:

  • International: Capital One QuickSilver (Visa). 1.5% cash back, but no foreign transaction fee
  • U.S. only: Citi Double Cash (Visa). 2% cash back. 3% foreign transaction fee, so obviously I never use it abroad.

Alternatively there’s the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card (2% cash back, 1% foreign transaction fee) which I stopped using once I got the Citi Double Cash because 1. you can only redeem your cash when it’s greater than $50 (vs. $25 for Citi), 2. the cash must be redeemed into a Fidelity checking account (after which you can easily direct deposit it into your checking account of choice, it’s just additional hassle), and 3. I prefer Citi’s website/UI.

My only complaint with the Capital One card is that you can only redeem your cash rewards via credit or a check in the mail. Also I recently paid off my full balance a day before a scheduled autopay, but the autopay somehow still went through and right now I have a -$2,000 balance (that’s never happened to me on any other card), and the only way to get that back to $0 without me spending $2,000 is for them to mail me a check which takes something like 5-7 business days. Absurd that they haven’t adopted this amazing new cutting edge technology called “direct deposit” yet.

The Citi card has been fantastic. It’s too bad it has that steep foreign transaction fee, otherwise I’d use it for everything..

I also recently got the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card from Chase, but I only got that because I’m involved in some business making large purchases on Amazon and you get 5% cash back on Amazon purchases. If not for that and the fact that I’m getting Prime for free via a family plan, then I wouldn’t have bothered because I don’t otherwise spend much on Amazon. Lack of foreign transaction fees is nice though, and there’s 2% cash back on restaurants, drug stores, and gas stations. I’ll be putting that to use when I go abroad becuse that beats Capital One’s 1.5%. (edit: they closed my account without warning despite me keeping a near 0 balance, screw this card)

Conclusion

Credit cards often get a bad rep, but when used responsibily they essentially give you free money. On top of that, they’re safer than debit cards because you get greater fraud protection. If someone fraudulently withdraws money from your checking account, you’re going to have a much tougher time retrieving that money versus a credit card company who can easily reverse that transaction. Of course there’s also the benefit of building your credit history which will help with renting an apartment, getting a mortgage, etc.

There are probably better credit cards out there that I’m not even aware of (or qualified for). Let me know if there are any others I should consider.


Jeremy Bernier

Written by Jeremy Bernier who left the NYC rat race to travel the world, work remotely, and find the meaning of life.