With gas stations coast to coast, it comes as no surprise that the Chevron credit card is one of the most widely issued gas cards in America. But before you fill out an application to get your own, know that the Chevron card isn’t the best way to save money on gas, and here’s why…
2 different offers for 2014…
Chevron includes Texaco (they acquired the company in 2001) so they issue cards under each brand.
- The “Personal Card” is not affiliated with any major payment networks (like Visa, MasterCard, etc) so it can only be used for purchases a Texaco and Chevron stations. There are gas rewards given during the first 60 days but after that, you will not be earning any gas rebates.
- The Chevron Visa card is a major credit card, so it can be used for purchases at their gas stations and elsewhere. It does give rewards on gas and other purchases and I’ll explain those in a moment.
The interest rate
As I write this review, the APRs listed on the applications were the following:
- Personal Card = 26.99%
- Chevron Visa = 26.99%
With rates like that, carrying a balance on any of these is shooting yourself in the foot. I know a Chevron gas card is somewhat easy to get, but still… almost 27 percent is quite high any way you slice it.
How do the fuel rebates stack up?
As mentioned, only the Chevron Visa card offers a permanent rebate on fuel purchases. The program recently changed for the worse and in 2014 here’s how it works:
- A “Fuel Credit” is a statement credit accrued on fuel purchases that can be applied to future fuel purchases made using your card account.
- If you make $300 in monthly qualifying purchases, you earn 10 cents per gallon in Fuel Credits
- If you make $1,000 in monthly qualifying purchases, you earn 20 cents per gallon in Fuel Credits
Now I don’t know where you live, but I live in California (coincidentally my surf spot is right in front of the Chevron refineries in Manhattan Beach) and lately the price per gallon is hovering around $4. Using that price as an example, do the math:
- You make the $1,000 in purchases in a month required to receive the 20 cent/gallons fuel credits. Keep in mind, this is not $1,000 spent on just gas, but on NET purchases made with the card.
- You then buy 20 gallons of fuel throughout the rest of the month
- 20 gallons X $0.20 = $4
That means you spent $1,080 (the $1,000 in net spending, plus 20 gallons of gas at $4 a gallon) and then received $4 in rewards… that equals less than a 1/2 percent rebate!
If I’m going to apply for a gas credit card, I expect to get more than that, don’t you? Especially considering the fact that this credit card will restrict where I can buy gas (only at their stations). Let’s look at this another way: Your purchases earn you no rewards until you reach the required thresholds — which re-set every month. Why put up with that when there are a slew of other cards on the market that get you a little something back on every purchase, starting day one?
What category do you fall under?
The rewards chaser: If you’re like me and after rewards, then there are several offers on the market that will probably earn you a higher rebate on fuel. See my current listing of the best fuel credit cards. Some give as much as 3% to 5% at every gas station.
The bad credit guy or gal: For this category I can actually see some logic in trying the Chevron credit card application. Your credit score might not be high enough to qualify for the Visa version, but the “Personal” version might be a good starter card that you can use to work on your credit with. Just keep that high APR in mind and make sure to never carry a balance. Secured credit cards are another way you can work on your credit, too.
Updated July 2014