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The Credit Card Rewards Guide for Back-to-School Shoppers

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As back-to-school shopping season rolls in, the credit cards are getting pulled out of parents’ wallets as they spring for all of the necessities.

The National Retail Federation recently reported that families will increase their back-to-school spending significantly this year after cutting back last year. The average family with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend $688.62 on items this year, up from $603.63 last year.

That’s a lot of cash, but if you use your credit cards wisely, you could be able to score cash back on your purchases, putting 5 percent or even 10 percent back into your hands. If you’re spending in line with the average consumer, that can mean $35-$70 — and any parent on a budget knows that can be a big win.

Here are the cash-back deals offered by a variety of issuers and credit card companies just for back-to-school shoppers.

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Chase Cardholders

Chase Freedom cardholders have a number of pretty sweet deals being offered to them this season — 10 percent cash back at Kohl’s and Lands’ End as long as they shop through the Ultimate Rewards portal, accessible via their Chase online account.

The bank also has a number of back-to-school offers available to all cardholders through its Ultimate Rewards mall. Here are a few examples:

  • 6 points per dollar spent on books purchased from Textbooks.com
  • 4 points per dollar spent at HP and 2 points per dollar spent at Dell
  • 4 points per dollar spent on supplies at Staples
  • 3 points per dollar spent at the Container Store

Free Credit Check ToolAmerican Express Cardholders

American Express charge cards can help customers earn cash-back rewards that they can then use toward purchases from the Membership Rewards catalogue, which features items like iPads, Kindles, Nooks, headphones, laptops and even some kitchen appliances if this is your college student’s first year out of the dorms.

MasterCard Customers

The big back-to-school feature unique to MasterCard is its partnership with Sallie Mae on the Upromise World Mastercard. This partnership allows cardholders to earn 5% cash back on online purchases through Office Depot, Sears, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney, Kohl’s and many other retailers.

What stands out for families looking to send their kids to college is that this card allows you to put your cash-back savings into a 529 college savings plan or a Sallie Mae high-yield savings account.

[Credit Cards: Research and compare cash-back credit cards at Credit.com]

Wells Fargo Cardholders

Wells Fargo has a number of retailers it’s working with to provide back-to-school cash back for cardholders.

The full list of retailers can be found here, but here are a few highlights:

  • 35 points per dollar spent at Webroot.com, a computer security software company.
  • 12 points per dollar spent at 123Inkjets.com
  • 10 points per dollar spent at eBags.com
  • 5 points per dollar spent at Sephora.com

Bank of America Customers

According to a Bank of America spokeswoman, select customers will have the opportunity through September to earn 5x points (up to 2,500 points) on qualifying office supply, book, shoe, electronics and computer purchases.

Discover Cardholders

Discover is increasing its Cashback Bonus savings until Sept. 5 with a selection of online retailers including:

  • Shoes.com — 20 percent Cashback Bonus (up from 15 percent)
  • Target.com — 10 percent Cashback Bonus (up from 5 percent)
  • Kohls.com — 10 percent Cashback Bonus (up from 5 percent)
  • The Container Store — 10 percent Cashback Bonus (up from 5 percent)

[Credit Cards: Research and compare cash-back credit cards at Credit.com]

At publishing time, Chase Freedom cards are offered through Credit.com product pages and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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