Responsible credit card usage can add hundreds if not thousands of extra dollars to your bottom line each year. Many credit cards offer rewards that you can earn with each and every purchase. You can choose a credit card that helps you earn airline miles, travel rewards, or cash back.
Before applying for or using a credit card, you’ll want to make sure that you have the financial ability and discipline to pay off your credit card statement in full, each and every month. If you don’t, the interest and/or fees will likely exceed any rewards you might earn. But if you do, you might consider investing with credit card rewards to further grow your funds.
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What Are Credit Card Rewards?
Just like knowing what a credit card is, it’s important to understand what credit card rewards are. Many credit card companies offer credit card rewards as an incentive for you to apply for and regularly use their credit card.
These rewards can be airline miles, other types of travel rewards, bank-specific points, or straight cash back. The credit card you choose determines the kind of credit card rewards that you’ll earn.
Types of Credit Card Rewards
If you have a rewards credit card, there are several different kinds of credit card rewards that you can earn.
Cash Back Rewards
If you have a cash back credit card, you’ll earn cash back with every purchase. Some cash back credit cards earn different rates of cash at different types of merchants, while others earn a flat cashback rate no matter where you use the card.
Another popular type of credit card rewards are a variety of different kinds of travel rewards. You might get an airline credit card that earns airline miles for a specific airline or hotel points good for stays at a particular chain of hotels. Other travel rewards credit cards offer rewards points that you can use at a flat rate on any type of travel purchase.
Some banks offer credit cards where you earn points that are proprietary to that bank or credit card company. Many times, these points can be used like cash on purchases, or for travel-related purchases.
Guide to Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards
If you have a credit card that earns cash back rewards, you can often redeem them in many different ways.
One way to get your credit card cash back rewards is through direct deposit to a checking or savings account that you own. You might set up your cash back rewards to automatically transfer to your account once they reach a certain threshold, like $25. You might also be able to set up your account to regularly transfer your cash back rewards every month or every quarter.
If you prefer something that you can tangibly hold, you can also request that your credit card cash back rewards are mailed to you via a paper check. Some credit card companies may charge a fee for mailing paper checks, so make sure you won’t be charged a fee before choosing this option.
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Another way you might access your cash back rewards is through a statement credit. With a statement credit, your cash back rewards are applied directly to your credit card balance. This will lower the amount that you need to pay in order to completely pay off your balance off in full.
How Do Credit Card Rewards You Can Use for Investing Work?
Before using one, it’s important to understand how credit cards work, and how credit card rewards that you can use toward investing work. An investment credit card is similar to a cash back credit card in that you earn rewards that work like cash. But instead of redeeming your rewards for a statement credit or via direct deposit, you invest your cash back rewards in an investment account.
Tips for Maximizing Your Credit Card Cash Back Reward Earnings
Enjoying credit card bonuses is one way that you can maximize your credit card cash back earnings.
Many credit cards offer an initial welcome offer where you get a bonus amount if you meet certain spending or other criteria in the first few months of having the card. That can really supercharge your credit card cash back reward earnings.
If your cash back credit card earns a higher rate in certain categories or at certain merchants, make sure to use it where it gets the highest value.
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Pros and Cons of Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards
Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of investing your credit card cash back rewards:
|Pros of Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards||Cons of Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards|
|Cashback and other rewards are not taxable.||If you’re not paying off your balance in full each month, interest and fees can offset any rewards earned.|
|Investing your rewards can help supplement other investing efforts.||It’s hard for small amounts to make a meaningful impact on overall investing goals.|
|Investing your credit card rewards doesn’t require dipping into your budget.||If your brokerage doesn’t support fractional shares, your investment options might be limited.|
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Other Investment Options
One of the best things about the cash that you earn from cash back rewards is that it’s actually cash. Cash can be used for just about anything in your budget, and so can cash back rewards.
For example, you can use your cash back rewards in an online trading platform to invest in stocks or index funds. You can also use them to invest in real estate or other types of investments, or even use them to invest in yourself through education or job training classes.
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If used wisely, credit cards and credit card rewards can serve as a valuable addition to any financial plan. Cash back credit cards allow you to earn money back on every purchase, as well as possibly a larger initial bonus. It’s a good idea to have a plan for how you want to use your cash back rewards, and always make sure to pay off your credit card statement in full, each and every month.
One way to use credit card rewards to fund your investments is to get a cash-back credit card like the SoFi Credit Card. With the SoFi Credit Card, you can earn unlimited 2% cash back rewards that you can use to invest in fractional shares or for other financial goals you might have. Cardholders earn 1% cash back rewards when redeemed for a statement credit. For a limited time, new credit card holders who also sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings with direct deposit can start earning 3% cash back rewards on all eligible credit card purchases for 365 days*. Offer ends 12/31/22.
Invest your cash back rewards with the SoFi credit card.
Should you invest your cash back rewards?
One of the best things about cash back rewards is that they function pretty much the same as cash in any other format. So whether you directly invest your cash back rewards or use them as a statement credit and invest money from your checking account, it works out pretty much the same. The important thing to do with your credit card rewards is to not spend them mindlessly. Be intentional and make a conscious decision on the best way to spend them for your specific financial situation.
Can I buy stocks with my credit card?
Most brokerages will not allow you to directly buy stocks with a credit card. Instead, one way to invest your credit card rewards is by using a cash back credit card like the SoFi credit card. You can earn cash back with each purchase and then directly invest those funds with your SoFi Invest account.
What is the smartest way to use a credit card that has rewards?
The first thing that you’ll want to do when using a credit card is make sure that you have the financial discipline and ability to pay off your credit card in full each month. This ensures that you won’t be charged any interest or fees. Then, decide how your credit card rewards will make the biggest impact in your financial life.
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The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Also, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
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1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.
New and existing Checking and Savings members who have not previously enrolled in direct deposit with SoFi are eligible to earn a cash bonus when they set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 over a consecutive 25-day period. Cash bonus will be based on the total amount of direct deposit. Entry into the Program will be available 10/1/22 to 12/31/22. Full terms at sofi.com/banking. SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 3.25% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 2.50% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 11/3/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet