3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards

By Beverly Harzog. Last updated 8 July 2014. 1 comment

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I'm not a natural when it comes to technology. But in spite of that, I'm totally fascinated when technology and credit cards are brought together.

Most recently, I've enjoyed tracking the progress being made with smartphone apps and credit card rewards. Keeping track of rewards is a major issue for a lot of folks. A 2011 study by COLLOQUY showed that Americans waste about a third of the rewards they earn. You want to know how much is wasted? A whopping $16 billion, give or take a few dollars. (See also: 16 Best Mobile Shopping Apps for Your Phone)

I know it's easy to get confused about your rewards. There are some great sites out there to help you keep track of your credit card rewards, such as AwardWallet and Points.com.

But here's the cool thing about smartphone apps for rewards. The apps, in general, aren't about counting your miles, points, or cash back. No, these apps want to play a bigger role than that.

There are several players in the space, but there are three that I've kept up with over the past year. I've watched how these apps are evolving and changing with consumer needs.

There are two things that are common to all three. They're free, which always gets my attention. And these apps all have bank-level security.

Reward Summit

This website has nice visuals and lots of white space. Remember I said I'm not a natural with technology? For people like me, visual help is essential. I'll bet many of you can just download an app and figure it out on your own. I'd love to have that skill!

OK, let's get to the details. This app tells you the best credit card to use for a given purchase based on your location and the rewards program. You don't have to share your credit card account numbers with the app. You just identify the cards you use.

Since Rewards Summit keeps up-to-date information about credit card rewards, the app can recommend the best choice based on your location and purchase.

The app even converts points into a dollar value so you can quantify the rewards you're getting from a specific credit card. It also shows you how much you could've earned if you had used a different credit card. And if you link your accounts through Intuit, the app will also recommend new credit cards based on your actual usage patterns over time.

This app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.

Glyph

With Glyph, you have the option to give your personal banking and credit card information, or you can simply choose a standard profile.

If you feel comfortable handing over your banking information, you can take advantage of more features. Glyph looks at your financial history and offers recommendations for which credit card to use to get the best rewards when you make a purchase.

What type of credit card are you interested in?
How much do you spend per month?
Do you carry a balance?

But the recommendation considers a lot of factors: rewards, interest, fees, merchant surcharges, offers, your balance on each card, and how your credit score could be affected. I don't think I've seen another smartphone app consider how your credit score could be impacted.

If you're uncomfortable handing over your personal financial information, you can use Glyph a different way. You can choose a standard profile (for example, young family or college grad) and get credit card recommendations based on that. It's nice to have a choice.

At the moment, Glyph is available only for the iPhone. But I've been told that an Android version is in the works.

Smorecard

Don't you just love the name of this card? "Smorecard." I think it's brilliant marketing.

With this app, you don't need to give your credit card account information. You just select the credit cards that you currently have. There's a GPS system and the app picks the best credit card to use based on your location. If more than one of your credit cards is an option, you'll see the reward value for each card.

You can use this app the way I just described or you can customize your credit card profile. If you do this, the app will consider (or not consider) intro offers and special reward opportunities.

This app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.

By the way, make sure you don't rely on these apps to choose new credit cards for you. It's great to get suggestions, but always do the research yourself before applying for a new credit card. Think of these apps as tools to help you choose a card when making a purchase, but not as a substitute for research if you're in the market for a new card.

I'd love to hear about your experiences either with one of the apps I've mentioned or with an entirely different one. There are other apps out there that are also worth looking at. It's a rapidly growing niche, so look for abundant options in the future.

Have you used a credit card rewards app?

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Great advice, I just wish more companies would give rewards for debit cards too!