The average American spends enough money each month to generate nearly $150 a year in cash back rewards, but many are missing out on the perk, according to a new report from TD Bank.
The analysis is based on typical spending with a rewards card that offered 2 percent cash back on dining and 1 percent on all other purchases. The survey finds that nearly 40 percent of consumers have a credit card but don’t participate in a rewards program.
“When you factor today’s economy into discretionary spending, consumers need to earn back dollars wherever they can,” Julie Pukas, head of Bankcard and Merchant Services at TD Bank said in a statement. “A month of free gas, or two months of free coffee, just for making your regular purchases really adds up, and consumers are leaving that money on the table by choosing cash over credit.”
Americans spend an average of $1,500 on dining out each year, the survey found. Millennials made more purchases on retail goods and dining than Gen Xers and Boomers, but they spent less money overall and were less likely to use a credit card than the average consumer.
Of course, many consumers don’t have the credit history qualify for a rewards card, and consumers who can’t pay off their balance in full each month shouldn’t be using a card simply to rack up rewards.
* Editor’s Note: This article was revised to correct an error. The potential savings for a cash back credit card are $150 per year, not per month as originally stated.