With gas prices hitting record highs, Americans are looking for ways to save at the pump. One possibility: A gas station co-branded credit card that offers discounts for every gallon of gas. Sounds promising—but there are better ways to save.

In an analysis of 22 gas station cards, the typical discount was only five to 10 cents per gallon…and if you fail to pay your monthly balance in full, you are charged an average interest rate of nearly 26%. By comparison: ­General-use credit cards with gas rewards, including Sam’s Club ­Mastercard, Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, Discover it Cash Back and Citi Custom Cash Card, have interest rates averaging 16% and normally offer savings of 5%—roughly 20 cents per gallon based on a pump price of $4.09.

The mere fact that gas cards offer their discounts in terms of cents per gallon while general credit cards reward you a percentage of the purchase makes­ general-use cards more desirable. Example: When gas was $2.90/gallon, you would have paid $2.85 per gallon with a gas card. With a general card, you would pay $2.76. At today’s more likely price of $4.09 per gallon, the five-cent gas card discount would put you at $4.04/gallon…with the general credit card, $3.89/gallon. So the more gas costs, the more valuable a percentage-based discount becomes.

Another option: Many stations have their own apps. You pull up to the pump, open the app, enter the pump number and fill your car. These come with savings of three to 10 cents per gallon, with the discount taken right at the pump. Bonus: If you link your gas app to your regular credit card with gas rewards, you’ll get the gas-app discount and your card’s cash-back reward.


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