It seems like every gas station in the nation now has applications on the counter for a gas credit card. While many people may think, "Why bother, I already have a credit card," gas cards today also frequently offer member bonus features like regular credit cards, including airline miles, cash rebate systems, discount offers with participating merchants and affordable roadside assistance programs. Often, gas card plans will approve accounts for individuals who don't qualify for a good deal on a regular credit card account, also making them a great option for people who need to build their credit rating.
If you're looking to build credit, your options may be somewhat more limited. But if you use your gas card regularly, and pay it off at the end of every month, you'll soon find that you're able to negotiate a better interest rate with your existing card, or even apply successfully for a card with a better benefits package. However, keep in mind that gas cards often have much higher interest rates than a regular credit card would, so you should always make sure you can afford to pay your balance on a monthly basis, to prevent exorbitant interest charges.
If you have driving-age children living at home, a gas card is a great way to ensure your kids don't end up stranded with an empty tank, while at the same time knowing that a regular credit card won't get taken on a "joy ride" by their friends. A roadside assistance benefit can give you extra peace of mind, knowing they won't have to rely on the assistance of strangers if the car breaks down or gets a flat tire.
If you have a particular gas station you visit regularly, getting a gas card from that company would be a good choice, particularly if it offers an incentive program based on frequency of use, such as airline miles per dollar spent, or a coupon or rebate program. If you travel a lot, choosing a gas card for a major nationwide chain of gas stations may be more useful than one that's branded for your neighborhood station.
A gas card with a roadside assistance option may be an affordable alternative to a premium roadside assistance plan such as AAA. There are as many options in gas cards today as there are reasons to apply for one, so don't hesitate to comparison shop to find the best benefits package for your needs!
Michael writes for Card Sense, where you can read reviews of UK credit cards and compare their features such as rewards programs and balance transfer deals.