NEW YORK (
) -- The price of gas throughout the nation still averages around $3.50 per gallon. While consumers have adjusted to the lasting reality of high gas prices, it is still a good idea to find ways to save money while filling up your car.
Gasoline credit cards are one way to keep a little more money in your pocket. Anyone who drives a car can benefit from one of these cards, since they provide money back on gas purchase. This is a good time to shop around before the heavy summer driving season begins. Before you sign up for a gas card, research and compare several cards; gas cards are more complicated, and potentially more expensive, than standard credit cards.
Gasoline cards can be credit cards issued by either gasoline companies or credit card companies. In most cases, you will get anywhere from two to five rewards points for every $1 spent at gas stations, then one point for every $1 spent anywhere else. You may also earn points for spending money on rental cars or car repairs, but in most cases the heavy rewards are for fuel. These cards use cash back, gift card or fuel credit incentive programs based on the amount of purchases you make.
Like all reward cards, the benefits are a good deal only if you pay off your balance each month. Station-branded gas cards have some of the highest interest rates found on any credit card, usually ranging from 21% to 25.99%. If you carry a balance, these cash rewards are not worth the high APRs.
Gasoline company credit cards
Credit cards issued by specific gas companies such as
(BP - Get Report)
offer discounts for gas bought from their stations. These cards typically have a much higher APR than bank-issued cards, though. Pay attention to the details of the offer, because some companies give attractive incentives for the first few months, then change to a much lower rebate. Offers vary by card, so read the fine print to see if the incentive is cash back or fuel credits. Some companies will credit your account monthly, but some redeem only annually.