There are some great ways out there to save money on your gas purchases. You can sign up for the Fuel Rewards program and save on each gallon of gas you purchase at a Shell station. You can also check your AMEX Offers to see if there any deals for gas purchases, which there occasionally are. Of course, you want to make sure you’re paying for your gas using a credit card that gives you the best return on your spending.
I found an offer that, at first glance, seemed appealing.
They had my attention. When I clicked through to the details, I saw an offer that you should never, EVER, EVER sign up for.
The Exxon Mobil Smart Card
The gas station credit card is trying to make a comeback. Back in the day, many people had a gas station credit card. It was only good, well, at the gas station. We had a card for Exxon and one for Amoco. Back then, you also paid a lower price for cash purchases than for credit card transactions, another practice I’ve seen creeping back to life at some stations. That is, unless you used the gas station card, then you got the cash price.
Eventually, these cards fell out of favor. Well, it’s more like they morphed into co-branded gas station credit cards that still exist today. There’s a card for BP, one for Shell. Even Fuel Rewards has its own co-brand card, which you also should not get.
For the first two months after the account open date, you’ll get 30 cents off per gallon of gas. Since it takes about a week to get a card in the mail, I figure you’ll have 7 weeks or so to take advantage of this part of the offer. The card always offers 6 cents off per gallon of gas you purchase with the card at the pump. The additional 24 cents off is issued as a statement credit.
New cardholders also get a $6 credit if they use the card for three mobile transactions through the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ App in the first two months.
Why You Shouldn’t Get This Card
In case you didn’t notice, banks are cracking down on credit card sign-up bonuses. Most banks have a rule about how many cards you can sign up for in a period of time, either months or years. So why would you EVER consider signing up for a card that you can only use to buy gas at Exxon or Mobil stations, to only save 6 cents per gallon? This card will take up a valuable spot in your credit history and since it is a credit card, it will count against you for things like the Chase 5/24 rule. One which could have gone to a card capable of giving you an $800 sign-up bonus and ongoing benefits you’ll enjoy for years to come. But you got the Exxon Mobil Smart card instead. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also giving you a horrible rebate. Think about it. You’ll save six cents per gallon.
If gas costs $2.50 per gallon (it’s a nice, even number), here’s the math. I know what you’re thinking.
Sorry, here we go.
- Gas costs $2.50 per gallon and you have a 20-gallon tank that’s empty
- Filling up the tank would cost $50
- With the Exxon Mobil Smart card, you’ll save 6 cents per gallon
- Now your cost will be $48.80. A savings of $1.20.
- If you have a Costco Anywhere card, you’ll get 4% back on gas purchases
- If you pay $50 for the gas, you’ll get $2 back for a net cost of $48.
Which one would you rather use? With the Costco card, you can purchase gas at the station where it’s cheapest, not just at Exxon or Mobil stations. Even with any of the other cards which give a good return for fuel purchases, you’ll end up ahead of the Exxon Mobil Smart card savings.
At least that card gives 10 cents off per gallon of gas purchased at Buc-ee’s stations. It’s also a Mastercard, so you can use it anywhere, not just at gas stations.
Just in case you might click on it by mistake, I’m not giving the link to sign up for the Exxon Mobil Smart card. If you think it’s a good card, bookmark this page. Set an alert on your calendar for five years from now. If you come back and decide it still looks like a wonderful card, you have my blessing to go ahead and sign up for it.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
Featured image by Mike Mozart on Flickr