After being such prudes for so long, credit card companies are raising their hemlines and lowering their standards. They’re actively deluging customers with credit card offers and using low teaser rates as a crooked finger. However, they’re also coming with new hidden baggage you need to watch out for, like cash back rewards that are high, but have to be opted in again every few months.
In its survey of the new deals out there, publishing pal Consumer Reports took a look at how the Chase Freedom and Discover More cards offer 5% cash back in a series of spending categories that switch based on what season people usually buy that stuff in. But you have to remember to actively opt in each time the season changes. Otherwise you miss out on the reward that got you to sign up for the card in the first place. That sort of attrition by laziness is exactly what the bank is banking on.
Other things that can trip you up that you need to watch out for with the new cards: cash back rates that plummet after you surpass a spending tier, rewards points that quickly expire, rebate caps, and all your points going bye-bye if you miss a single payment.