If youre carrying a gasoline-branded credit card in your wallet, you may want to throttle back.
While fuel cards can be a smart option in special cases, in general youll do better pumping up your rewards with another type of card.
Gas cards are the dull, boring sedans of the credit card world, said Matt Schulz, senior analyst with the credit card comparison site Creditcards.com. For most consumers, theyre not a good deal, he said.
In general, gas cards have minimal rewards, paltry signup bonuses, extra hoops to jump through and carry higher interest rates compared to general-purpose cards, he said.
The typical gas card offers a 10-cent-per-gallon discount, according to a recent Creditcards.com survey, which included proprietary cards used only at a certain brand of gas station and co-branded fuel cards with the Visa or MasterCard logos good at gas stations and elsewhere.
At current pump prices, the average 10-cent discount works out to about a 4 percent return. Thats not a bad deal compared to typical cash-back cards paying from 1 percent to 5 percent on purchases. But gasoline prices are relatively low right now. When pump prices eventually climb, the value of the discounts will fall.
Getting 10 cents off per gallon when gas is $2.25 is a whole lot better percentage deal than when youre paying $4 a gallon, Mr. Schulz noted.
The cards have other problems as well, he said.
Many gas cards come with restrictions such as minimum purchase requirements before discounts kick in, limits on fuel rewards, or both that make it hard to pile up significant savings.
For example, six of the 20 fuel cards in the Creditcards.com survey require cardholders to buy at least 45 gallons of gas each month or they miss out on any discounts. Another half-dozen cards set a maximum on the amount of fuel rewards cardholders can earn, with two cards capping rewards at just $99 a year.
Gas-branded cards also typically charge higher-than-average interest rates on revolving balances. Creditcards.com found an average annual percentage rate of 24 percent among the fuel cards it studied vs. an average of 15 percent for general-purpose cards.
If youre the type of person who goes to the same gas station all the time and who drives a lot, it can work out OK, assuming that you pay it off every month, Mr. Schulz said. In reality, there are better options out there.
Despite the drawbacks, gas cards can make sense in a few other special situations, he said.
For one thing, the cards can be a good way to build credit because theyre generally easier to qualify for. Just like many department store cards, gas cards often are approved instantly.
If youre someone struggling to get credit, it can be a decent option, Mr. Schulz said.
Just put a little bit on the card so you can pay it off and dont have to battle the 24 percent APR. It can work out pretty well until your credit improves and you can graduate to a credit card with better terms.
Gas cards also may make sense in the short term for motorists planning a long road trip who take advantage of higher introductory discounts that many issuers offer as an enticement to sign up, Mr. Schulz said.
If you apply and get 25 cents off for the first 60 or 90 days, that can be a significant savings, he said.
Generally, though, in the long run, gas cards arent that great a deal for a person with pretty good credit.
A Sydney man will face court after allegedly being found in possession of stolen credit cards and other identification cards.
Police say they saw the man acting suspiciously at some letterboxes in Croydon Park on Monday before getting into his car and driving away.
Officers followed the vehicle for a short time before pulling it over and conducting a search.
Police will allege the 35-year-old man was a suspended driver, and found in possession of 35 different credit cards, two identification cards, two Medicare cards and three gift cards, all confirmed as stolen.
The man was taken to Campsie Police Station where he was charged.
He was refused bail and will appear in Burwood Local Court on Tuesday.
Man arrested in armed robbery of Title Max
A suspect in an armed robbery at Title Max on North Highland Avenue was arrested Monday, according to Jackson police.
Lt. Matthew Hardaway said a man walked into the Title Max, at 2089 N. Highland, about 5 pm with a silver handgun and asked the clerk at the counter to hand him money. Hardaway said the robber took an undetermined amount of money and ran toward a nearby wooded area.
Hardaway said a suspect matching the description given of a black man in a gray hoodie and black hat, between 35 and 40 years old, was found lying in the grass in the woods. Police arrested the man about an hour to an hour and a half after the robbery. His name was not released.
No injuries were reported during the robbery.
Woman charged with neglect, accused of leaving kids in car
A woman was arrested and charged with three counts of child neglect Friday morning after police say she left her children alone inside a car for several hours.
Jackson police said Nataskie Kiniskie Murphy left her three children, ages 1, 3 and 4, inside a black Pontiac on Magnolia Landing Court.
Police estimated the children had been in the car for two or three hours due to the frost build-up on the windows, according to court documents. The temperature outside was about 34 degrees.
Murphy was intoxicated and did not know where her children were, an affidavit says. She was arraigned Monday in Jackson City Court.
Man charged with aggravated burglary, evading arrest
One man was arrested Sunday morning after police noticed three men trying to break into a house on Muse Street, according to court documents.
Police said they saw three men walk around the back of the house just after midnight Sunday. One man, who police believed was the lookout, ran from the house and was able to escape officers.
Mario Mandell Ford, one of the men behind the house, ran from police when they arrived, according to court documents. Officers said Ford continued to run after being told to stop.
Ford was arrested on the front porch of a Martin Street house and charged with evading arrest and aggravated burglary. Officers also found damage to a back door of the Muse Street house and loose dirt, which they said indicated an attempted burglary.
Woman charged with theft, forgery on check
A woman who cashed a check in a local business has been charged with theft and forgery after her check was declined at a bank, according to Jackson police.
On Feb. 13, Chi Hye Westerfield took a check from Fujiyama Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar to a check-cashing business, according to court documents. An employee cashed Westerfields check for $1,237.15.
The check was later returned by a bank with a stop payment.
Westerfield does not work at Fujiyama, court documents say. She was arraigned Monday in Jackson City Court.
Police search for ID theft suspect
Jackson police are investigating a report that an unidentified woman used stolen credit cards to buy more than $1,000 of merchandise from several stores in South Jackson.
Police said an elderly womans wallet was stolen while she shopped at Kroger on Stonebrook Place around 4:30 pm March 20. By 5:30, more than $1,000 had been charged to credit cards in the womans name. Charges on the card were from Wal-Mart, Lowes and Family Dollar in South Jackson.
Police said the same woman was seen on security video at all three stores. The woman whose wallet was stolen gave police a description of the woman, who was also found on Kroger security video.
Anyone who knows the woman is asked to call the Jackson Police Department at (731) 425-8400 and ask for Investigator Cagle or contact CrimeStoppers at (731) 424-8477, jmcrimestoppers.org, or by texting CRIMES (274637) using the code tips911 with a crime tip.
Holy Week services continue in Jackson
Holy Week services, sponsored by Jackson Area Ministerial Association, will be held at 12 pm Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church on Highland Avenue with Father Wes Gristy of All Saints Anglican Church; 12 pm Wednesday at St. Marys Catholic Church with Pastor John White of First Presbyterian Church; 12 pm Thursday at Light of Life Ministries with Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College; and 12 pm Friday at First United Methodist Church with Jeff Brown of Skyline Church of Christ.
Local Democratic Party elects officials
The Madison County Democratic Party elected attorney Hewitt Chatman as chairman for the next two years at a convention and reorganization meeting held Saturday. Carol Carter-Estes McCright was elected first vice chairwoman, David Johnson as second vice chairman, Troy Lisa Bobbitt as secretary, and State Executive member Patsy Johnson as treasurer, all for the same two-year period.
Chatman said hes pleased with the officers who were elected and feels they have a great team to move the party forward.
1968 Stigall football team inducted into hall of fame
The 1968-1969 Stigall Hornets Football Team, along with the Assistant Coach Johnny Cyrus, will be inducted into the Gibson County Sports Hall of Fame on April 20.
Members include James Jones, William Johnson, Paul Barnes, Frank Thomas, George Cox, Darrell Johnson, Marion Martin, Roy Glenn, Arthur Boykin, Tootie Vance, Marion Johnson, Lee Andrew Turner, James Booth, Thomas Boykin, Eugene Cox, James Midgett, Henry Hunt, Russell Sims, Dwayne Vinson, William McCurrie, James Kendle, Harold Bryson, Athen Flournoy and Joe Wesley Flournoy.
EDMONTON - A Quebec man is facing several fraud-related charges after he allegedly used numerous fake credit cards to make fraudulent purchases at businesses across Edmonton this month.
Francis Roberge, 30, has been charged with fraud under $5,000, possession of credit card data and possession of identity documents, among other offences.
On March 20, police responded to an incident of fraud at a store in west Edmonton. It was reported that a man attempted to use a fake credit card to make a purchase, first with the chip and then with the magnetic strip, police said in a news release.
This investigation led to Roberge's arrest.
Police have also connected him to another fraud complaint.
Police believe Roberge was using a counterfeit Quebec driver's licence in the name of Claude Bergeron.
"We believe this individual attempted to make fraudulent purchases at a number of Edmonton businesses and applied for an instant credit card at an establishment using false identification," said Const. Chris Klimosko in the release.
"The investigation suggests the suspect attempted to purchase merchandise and prepaid gift cards using fraudulent credit cards and he may have worked with a partner."
Retailers or members of the public with information about Roberge are asked to contact police.