Big Oil Vs. Big Oil
Who doesn’t want to save money at the pump these days? With prices climbing well over $2 per gallon and no end in sight, gas station credit cards can help ease the pain of filling your tank. Two of the most popular gas cards are the Shell MasterCard and the ExxonMobil MasterCard. Both offer great savings on gasoline purchases, but which is better?
As an opening incentive for gas-hogging consumers, the Shell MasterCard offers 5% rebates on all purchases for the first sixty days, as long as your balance doesn’t exceed $2,000. This means that you get 5% back on gas purchases whenever you use the card, but it switches to the standard 1% after sixty days (except for Shell purchases).
The Shell MasterCard does carry an annual fee of $20.00, which is waived for the first year of usage, and can be waived thereafter if you shop at Shell gas stations at least nine times during every twelve-month period. The interest rate is a rather high 15.74%, and is variable, which means that it can change from month to month.
You get charged 3% for every cash advance you make using the card, but balance transfers come with a 0% interest rate. The Shell MasterCard is great for people who purchase their gasoline at Shell stations, or wouldn’t mind making the switch if it meant more savings. Rebates are automatically credited to your account at the end of the month, which means that no additional action is required by the consumer.
If you prefer to shop at Exxon and Mobile stations across America, you might instead want to consider the ExxonMobil MasterCard. You get 3% rebates on all purchases at Exxon and Mobil gas stations nationwide, plus 1% rebates on purchases made at other stores and retailers. When you earn rebates with the card, they are applied to your next gasoline purchase, which means automatic savings at the pump.
The ExxonMobil MasterCard offers a 13.74 variable interest rate for platinum cardholders, and a variable 17.74% interest rate for the regular card. You must have a “great” credit rating to qualify for the premium card, and the rest of the terms are the same. This card comes with no annual fee.
Comparing the Cards
Before you apply for either card, it’s important to consider your own personal preferences when it comes to gasoline. Are Shell or Exxon Mobil stations located near your home? Your work? Do you have other incentives to shop at either location, such as better prices on other items you can buy in convenience stores?
Furthermore, you must look at the terms and decide how they apply to your financial situation. For example, do you pay your balances off in full each month? If so, you shouldn’t be concerned about the high interest rates on either card. If you qualify for the premium ExxonMobil MasterCard, then you’ll still have the lower rate, but they’re all higher than most traditional cards.
If you don’t plan to use the card very often, the Shell MasterCard might not be for you, since you’ll be charged an annual fee if you don’t use it at Shell gas stations at least nine times a year. The Exxon card doesn’t charge a fee regardless of your spending practices.
And finally, take a look at the rebates. The introductory offer for the Shell MasterCard is attractive, with 5% savings regardless of where you shop for the first two months. You also get a continually better rebate rate of 5% on gas purchases, while Exxon only offers a 3% rebate.