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During the week, my life is consumed with trying to remember the intricacies of pre-algebra, getting a healthy meal on the table that my kids will actually eat and making sure that everyone gets to their activities on time with their art supplies, flute or cleats in hand. On the weekends, it seems like I live on the sidelines cheering my kids on at various sporting events. In between all of that juggling, I research and write articles like the one you are reading.
While we may not have the high dollars to spend, I know I pull out my credit card countless times a day to pay for groceries, gas, school supplies, sports equipment and tween clothing from the "in" stores of the moment. For years, I have been frustrated that the credit card companies seemed to focus on the small-business owners, luxury travelers and executives instead of parents taking care of their families. So I was especially happy to read in a recent New York Times article that many credit card companies are now designing and marketing credit cards specifically for busy parents.
But what exactly does a credit card designed for parents look like? Here is what my dream credit card would offer:
High rewards cards
One of my goals as a parent is to show my kids that there is a world beyond the small southern town where we live. There is no way I would have been able to afford our 12-day trip to Hawaii without a little help from my credit cards. I want a card with a solid rewards program that earns the most points possible and doesn't require hours of research before I can actually redeem the points.
Special offers on everyday items
Instead of discounts on luxury items and experiences, I want a card that provides me with discounts and offers on the things I buy every day, like my ever-growing grocery bill (tween boys are bottomless pits) and filling up my gas tank after driving across town for a soccer match. And with back-to-school spending averaging $634.78 in 2013 per child according to the National Retail Federation, I would love a card that offered discounts on clothes, shoes, backpacks and the fancy calculators that are ridiculously expensive.
After spending hours sorting out the mess that the Target credit breach wreaked on my credit cards and automatic payments, security is at the top of my list. I want a card that offers the latest in security features, especially the new EMV chip. And I want a card company that will contact me if there is suspicious activity on my card.
Some days it seems that I run both my business and my home from my smartphone. I want a card that has a great mobile interface to allow me to manage my card remotely when needed. Since I always seem to be on the go and can't always answer a call, I also want the ability to get text messages about changes to my account and card instead of phone calls.
Having a card that is convenient and fits into my busy life lets me spend the time on the things that really matter, like sitting at the kitchen table with my family each night and discussing the day's highlights, and sharing popcorn as we watch a movie together on Friday nights.
What does your ideal credit card look like?