Best Flexible Spending Credit Card

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Flexible spending credit cards have their plus points, but they also have their drawbacks.

Before we go any deeper, let’s be clear what we’re talking about. As soon as ‘flexible’ is mentioned we all picture a spoiled trust fund kid in the Hamptons throwing their black card around.

But, we’re not talking about limitless cards. We’re talking about cards with flexible limits. The spending limit can change from month to month depending upon your personal circumstances. It may also mean that you can spend slightly more than your credit limit. We’re not talking by substantial amounts, but the flexible credit limit should mean the transaction isn’t rejected. All of the cards mentioned in this list have shown as either Flexible Spending Arrangements or flexible spending cards on real people’s FICO reports (we’ll touch on what this actually means in a second.)

So, the plus point here is flexibility. If you have to, you can spend slightly more than your defined credit limit. But, it’s not all roses and honey. Usually, you have to pay back the excess before the end of the current billing cycle. Also, while things are good your spending limit can increase, but when the going gets tough your spending limit can be reduced. It’s a double edged sword.

There are debates about what these cards actually mean for your credit score. If FICO obsessive, you’ll see these cards can be treated differently to normal credit cards. Instead of being classified as a Credit Card, they're often classified as a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and treated the same way as a charge card or a flexible spending card..

Now you know what you’re getting yourself into, here are some of the best flexible spending limit credit cards on the market right now.

Disclaimer: Please clarify whether you will be penalized for exceeding your credit limits with your card provider. Flexible spending limits may not automatically be applied in all cases with these cards.

Bank of America Cash Rewards Flexible Spending Credit Card

On Bank of America's home portal

750 - 850
Best for excellent credit

Highlight: Combines rewards with everyday functionality
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    3% cash back on gas
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    2% cash back at grocery stores
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    1% cash back on all other purchases
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    No annual fee
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    $150 introductory cash rewards bonus
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    0% APR for 12 months on purchase
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     0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers

Intro APR

0%

Variable APR

16.24% - 24.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Back

1% - 3%

Why it's a Good Flexible Spending Credit Card

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card strikes a balance between being a rewards card, a card for everyday spending and a card for paying down your debt. This can make it attractive for everyone and no-one at the same time.

Firstly, rewards. The introductory offer gives you $150 of cash back if you make $500 worth of purchases within 90 days of opening your account. The card also offers generous cash back options. You get 3% on gas, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and a further 1% on all other purchases. This is a fairly attractive range of rewards. It competes with some of the out and out rewards cards out there -- hence the name.

But, the Cash Rewards Credit Card isn’t a one trick pony. It gives you the option to pay down your debt with a decent introductory offer. The 0% intro APR applies to both purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Just to be clear though, you must complete any balance transfers within 60 days of opening your account. You’ll also pay a fee on that balance transfer (the higher of 3% or $10.)

This is an all-round card that’s a nice, safe, middle of the road option. It could be worthwhile for people who know they want a credit card, but aren’t 100% sure how they’re going to use it. 

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

Flexible Spending Credit Card

On Capital One's home portal

750 - 850
Best for excellent credit

Highlight: Unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase
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    Unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on each purchase
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    20,000 mile signup bonus
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    $0 annual fee
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    0% intro APR for 12 months
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    10x miles for Hotels.com bookings

Intro APR

0%

Variable APR

13.49% - 23.49%

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards

$1 = 1.25 miles

What Makes it a Good Flexible Spending Credit Card?

The VentureOne Credit Card from Capital One is also a fairly solid allrounder. Having said that, this one focuses more on travel rewards than pure cash back.

For every dollar you spend, you’ll get 1.25 air miles. This isn’t exactly the largest of any travel or rewards card out there. But, there are ways you can earn more miles. For example, there's a partnership with hotels.com that allows you to earn 10x points. There’s also an introductory offer that allows you to earn 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account.

This card also offers an introductory APR on purchases (but not on balance transfers.) For twelve months you’ll pay $0 interest on purchases before the rate reverts back to your 13.49% - 23.49% variable APR. This makes the card an interesting prospect if you're looking to make a large purchase (hint: a vacation), but not if you’re looking to transfer debt from another card to pay off.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

On Chase's home portal

750 - 850
Best for excellent credit

Highlight: 50,000 point welcome bonus
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    $0 fee for the first year
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    2x points on travel and dining expenses
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    $95 annual fee
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    50,000 bonus point welcome bonus 
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    Points worth 25% more when spent on travel
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    1:1 point transfer through Ultimate Rewards

Intro APR

None

Variable APR

17.24% - 24.24%

Annual Fee

$95

Main Reward

Travel

Why It's a Good Flexible Spending Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card is a rewards card aimed at bigger spenders. It should work well for those who are looking for flexible spending options. But, the rewards program definitely has an emphasis on travel. If you’re not a big traveller, this card is simply not for you.

However, if you do like to travel (and you like to do so in style), this card is worth a closer look. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card you get 2x points on travel and dining. These points are also worth an additional 25% when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program on travel. On top of that, you’re given the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $625 when spent on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards) by spending $4,000 within 3 months of opening your account.

So, if you’re someone who likes to spend consistently on travel and fine dining, this card gives you the opportunity to earn rewards while doing what you love.

American Express Green Card

On Amex's home portal

700-750
Best for good credit

Highlight: Pay full amount each month
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    Charge card
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    Annual fee waived in year 1
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    Pay balance in full each month
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    No fixed limit
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    2x points when purchasing through amextravel.com
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    1x points on all other purchases
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    Charges foreign transaction fees

Intro APR

None

Late Penalty

$38

Annual Fee

$95

Variable APR

N/A

Why it's a Good Flexible Spending Credit Card

The American Express Green Card is a bit of a curveball on this list because it’s not actually a credit card. I know right! Weird.

What it is, is a charge card. The difference being, you pay off the balance in full each month. Therefore, there’s no APR. This might rule it out completely for some people, but if you plan on paying off your balance each month anyway it’s worth hearing me out.

The advantage of the Amex Green Card is it doesn’t have a fixed credit limit. The other cards on this list have ‘soft’ credit limits. This means you have a fixed credit limit, but you can exceed this limit by a reasonable amount as long as you pay off the balance by the end of the month. The Green Card doesn't have this. It's flexible. However, if you’re spending wildly in a way that's unusual for you, or you get to a level where American Express don’t believe you will be able to pay the balance off in full that month they’ll put a block on your card. This shouldn’t happen as long as you’re not going wild.

A bonus here is that you don’t have to have the ‘Excellent’ credit rating the rest of these cards require. You can be accepted for the Green Card with a ‘Good’ credit rating.

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

On Barclay's home portal

640 - 700
Best for fair credit

Highlight: 50,000 bonus miles for making a purchase within 90 days
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    50,000 bonus miles for making a purchase within 90 days
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    2x points on travel with American Airlines
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    0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months
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    No points limit
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    Free checked bag on American Airlines
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    No foreign transaction fees
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    10% of redeemed miles back every calendar year

BT Intro APR

0%

Variable APR

17.49% - 26.49%

Annual Fee

$95

Main Reward

Travel

Why It Made Our List of the Best Flexible Spending Credit Cards

Barclays have teamed up with American AIrlines to bring out the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. As you can guess, this card is another one that’s focused on travel rewards.

It does serve a secondary function as a way to pay down your debt though. I say this because the card has an introductory offer of 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers. Just be careful here though. You must complete the balance transfers within 45 days of opening your account to be eligible for the 15 month offer.

Anyway, back to the travel rewards. As you may have guessed, there rewards are not as flexible as they might be with other programs. This is because you’re locked into American Airlines to redeem your rewards. But, if you do fly a lot with AA, it’s worth checking out. You’ll earn 2x points on all purchases with American Airlines. You’ll also earn 1x points on all other purchases.

Something I love about this card is the introductory offer. I’ve seen my fair number of introductory offers. To be honest, many of them seem to be unobtainable. For this one, all you need to do is make a purchase within 90 days and you’re eligible for 50,000 bonus miles. There are also a few nice travel benefits. For example, your first checked bag is free for you and four people in your party. You can also get preferred boarding under the same terms.

All in all, the primary use of this card is as a rewards card for those that travel American Airlines. It can also do a job as a card to pay down your debt from another card with the generous balance transfer offer.

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