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Cashback/Rewards Card Review – AT&T Universal Cash Rewards

This offer has expired.

Do you buy groceries? Have you seen the skyrocketing price of gasoline? This card gives you 5% cashback on both. It also gives you 1% on everything else, 30 free phone minutes a month, and a whole host of other random credit card protections that you probably don’t care about.

Everything I’m going to tell you in terms of benefits is available from their application page [3], but keep reading for my personal experiences with them.

The 5% for gasoline is clutch, especially with gas over $2 a gallon. With 5% you are getting over ten cents back, which pushes the price under $2 (my psychological break point). I used to get gas at Costco because it was about 5 cents cheaper than the closest Exxon, but after 10 cents off the Exxon gasoline is cheaper.

The cash-back process is a little strange. The max cash-back is $300 (boo!) and you have to specifically request your checks (why?) and they have to be greater than $50. The cap isn’t the strange part, it’s the specific requesting of your check that doesn’t make sense to me. Just do it automatically so you don’t have to pay someone to take my call. A little known fact is that you also get 5% back on “eligible AT&T consumer products and/or services.” I have an AT&T Wireless cell phone plan and hopefully this will cover it, otherwise I get the typical 1%.

The free minutes and the other telephone stuff is pretty useless because I have a cell phone so that’s not a good reason to get the card. There is also an free annual review of your purchases which breaks down the categories in which you spent your money. You probably should run a budget and use that as an accurate measure of your spending, not this free annual review.

Also, Citi is very aggressive in trying to keep people on the program. I threw out the $15 check (I regret it because $15 is more than the typical $3 for signing up) so I’ll have to wait until they send it out again. I called and asked but the only thing the CSR can offer is a “rebate check” where you purchase something, send in a receipt, then get a check… too much hassle.

As always, comments are great appreciated.