If you've got kids, or if you intend to go back to school yourself, a qualified "529" college savings plan can help you save thousands of dollars on your family's college bills. Named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, these plans allow you to invest your after-tax savings with no additional tax burden when you cash out your account to cover eligible college expenses.
A handful of rewards credit cards allow you to deposit cash back rebates directly into a linked 529 plan, making it easy for you to effortlessly add extra funds to your education nest egg. However, to really make these programs pay off, you'll want to find a rewards card with a significantly higher rebate rate than the best cash back credit cards on the market.
Upromise MasterCard from Barclaycard and Sallie Mae
Although you can use any major credit card to enroll in Upromise's network of rebates and rewards, signing up for Barclaycard's official Upromise MasterCard can help you maximize your college savings. Use this card to shop at Upromise's online mall, and you'll earn up to 10 percent of each purchase toward your linked 529 fund. Dine in a participating restaurant, and 4 percent of your bill turns into another deposit. Other purchases will score you rebates ranging from 1 to 3 percent.
Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards American Express Card
If you're looking for consistent savings no matter where you use your rewards credit card, Fidelity Investments has a solid deal for you. Open your family's 529 account with Fidelity, and you could qualify for this card that offers a steady, 2 percent rebate on every purchase with no limits. Although this card bears the American Express logo, it's actually issued by a subsidiary of Bank of America, meaning that your overall perks and benefits might be a little different than the AmEx cards you're used to.
As always, promotions and rebates for rewards credit cards can change at any time, with very little notice. Keep your eyes on the fine print, and look for a 529 plan that lets you manage rewards and other deposits with as few service fees as possible.