NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for April 2019

April is known for Tax Day and the showers that bring May flowers. Here are credit card tips for those things.
Apr 1, 2019

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April is known for holiday celebrations, Tax Day and the showers that bring May flowers. Even if none of those things is your cup of tea, there's a lot to like about the first month of spring.

Here are a few of our favorite things, along with some tips on how to maximize your spending in those areas.

There's a feast for everyone

If this April means you're celebrating Easter, Passover, National Deep Dish Pizza Day or some other meal where you gather and indulge with loved ones, you can save money during your time at the table. Whether the festivities involve dining out or cooking in, use a credit card that offers big rewards when you spend. Some possibilities:

  • The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 4% cash back on all dining and entertainment expenses, giving you room to indulge in that extra helping of ham, brisket or gooey, cheesy goodness. The card also earns 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. It has an annual fee of $95.

  • Although it can't help with the dishes, buying groceries with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can net you 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply. It comes with an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Everything's coming up roses

For much of the country, April brings a hint of what's to come as crocuses and daffodils start to poke their heads above the ground. If the thought of flowering foliage makes your green thumbs twitch, this is a great month to stock up on outdoor necessities to make your garden grow. Here are some ways to cut back on those expenses:

  • The Lowe's Advantage Card offers savings of 5% off every eligible order charged to the card, which makes it a strong choice for anyone who uses "garden" as a verb to describe their favorite pastime. The card also offers special financing terms for qualifying purchases of $299 or more, which could be a boon for those looking to tackle bigger projects.

  • For shorter-term aspirations, the Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (1% back on all else). And the bonus categories for Q2 2019 just so happen to be home improvement stores and grocery stores. The quarter runs from April 1 to June 30, giving you plenty of time to dig in and create your own oasis.

Big rewards potential

For the glass-half-full type, the April 15 deadline to pay taxes represents possibility, not penalty. There are a few scenarios when it makes sense to pay your taxes with a credit card. These include:

  • If you're paying Uncle Sam to meet the minimum spending requirement for a big sign-up bonus on a new credit card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers the following: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • If you'll earn more in ongoing rewards on the card than the processing fee for payment. The three vendors approved by the IRS to accept plastic for payment charge between 1.87% and 1.99% of the amount you're charging. Using the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer to pay that bill will earn you a net 2% cash back — 1% when you make the charge and another 1% when you pay the bill.

  • If you need a little extra time to pay off the amount you owe. In that case, you could choose to pay with a card that comes with a lengthy introductory 0% APR offer.

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