Making Money with Your Credit Card


TD Visa sent me a nice fat check for $1,125.54 today for using their credit card. I have a TD Gold Elite Visa that gives me 1% cash back on anything I buy with the card. And unlike some other cash back cards, the TD Visa has no rebate limits.

The check above represents my “dividend” for 2007. Those who are good at math will be able to figure out that in order to receive $1,125.54 cash back, I needed to charge $112,554.00 to the Visa last year. This begs the question, what the hell did I buy?

Only The Financial Illiterates Pay By Cash

Whenever possible, I always charge my purchases to a credit card. People who say you should only pay with cash so you can stay out of debt are financial illiterates who can’t handle their money. If that is you, then yes, you should only pay with cash and cut up the charge cards.

If you are responsible with your money, then a credit card is a great thing because you can make money from it. There are tons of reward cards that you can apply for that will give you money back on purchase, points, air miles or other rewards. If I were to pay my last year’s Visa purchases with cash, I would not be getting this thousand dollar check. Best of all, the money is tax free because it’s not income. It’s a rebate of my purchases.

Not for The Financial Illiterates

You have to be very careful with reward credit cards. They can twist your thinking inside out. Instead of thinking how much something cost, you start thinking how much cash back youโ€™ll be getting and forget that you have to pay the bill when it shows up. Do too much of that and youโ€™ll soon find yourself running a balance and incurring interest charges, which will not be offset by any rewards you will get. This is how financially illiterate people fall into the credit card trap. Although I charged over $100,000 to my Visa last year, I am happy to report I paid off the full balance every month and incurred zero interest charges.

What Kind of Credit Card is Right for You?

Wondering what kind of credit card you should apply for? Then check out this credit card site. It takes your information and then finds a card that will match your needs. When used properly, credit cards are a great financial tool that will make you money.

Now I just have to decide what I’m going to do with this dividend check. Valentineโ€™s Day is just around the corner so I may blow it all on a huge night on the town with Sarah. I will charge the night out on the Visa of course. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

75 thoughts on “Making Money with Your Credit Card”

  1. dcr says:

    Maybe you ought to Photoshop your account numbers out of the image. Some of them are easy to see and really dedicated fraudsters might be able to figure them all out.

    1. John Chow says:

      I thought I spray painted it pretty good!

      1. dcr says:

        You did now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      2. ViralKing says:

        Do you get reward points as well as the cashback. On a visa here its 280,000 points for a $10k first class ticket, which means $10k value for $280k spend (1:1 ratio). That works out at 3.5% (a heck of a lot better than 1% cashback)

        Just curious, because on the surface, 1% cashback seems great, but rewards work out better

  2. Mr. Rajawang says:

    Yeah.. You should have sprayed the number harder! We can still read it.. haha BTW, What did you buy with that 100K? ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Strange you ask, with all the plates he has presented to you on this blog (just teasing).

      Thats a great way to save at least 1% of your expenses, a really great and smart move. And you are right, credit cards are not for everyone…

  3. well I think that’s cool if you make 30,000 a month I myself Am that guy your talking about the one that can’t manage the money I won’t take it offensive I know you didn’t mean it lol but seriously I personally hate credit cards they steal from the middle class people but give to the rich (johnchow) let me know what you guys think

    1. Xacur says:

      Kinda agree, I have some friends that work on banks or somethings related to credit cards and they are buried in debts.
      Most of the people I know have a credit card but don’t use it, well, in the third world it’s like this, I don’t know how is there in the US or Canada.

      1. Well I am not even old enough to have a credit card yet, But I think ill get one of those debit cards to use online instead when I am.

    2. John says:

      In no way shape or form do credit cards steal from the middle class and give to the rich. Credit cards are a responsibility for the holder and have to be treated as so. If you pay your bill in full every month there is no interest charged and you can get nice rewards. I am far from rich, but I pay everything in full each month. A credit card is not a buy now pay whenever it is buy now and pay it off when the bill shows up.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. So many people have the mentality that some big company is out to get them and that they’re a victim. No one is forcing you to have a credit card, and it’s the individual’s responsibility not to accumulate a lot of debt.

    3. RacerX says:

      Let’s look at the numbers using only simple interest…and assuming no late fees. John charges $112K and got $1125 back. If the card interest was at even 10% (and it is probably higher) you are looking at $11K over one year in potential interest. So if believe that there is a less then 10% chance you will pay it off fully every month you should do it. for many thats a pretty high hurdale. If you can great! To much risk (10%) for to little reward (1%) for me! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      1. You can pay all sorts of monthly expenses using your credit card and if you are responsible and set aside the money every month, there’s no risk there.

      2. Tom Beaton says:

        As long as you can pay for things within the interest free period then it is better to use the credit card in order to get the benefits. You can always get cards which offer interest free purchases for the first few months etc. Its all about choosing the right card for you. I have a card which provides a 2% cashback on food and fuel. If these are your main expenses it is a great card to have.

        The important thing is to be aware of your financial situation and be smart.

      3. John Chow says:

        If you want to ensure that you are never late in your payments, your bank (at least my bank) can set up an auto payment system that will pay off the full balance each month at due date. You just have to make sure you have enough funds in there to cover it. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  4. John, haven’t you heard that the Starwood American Express IS THE credit card for affiliate marketers? 1% back? That’s a crime. Unless they don’t offer the Starwood Amex in Canada.

    1. John Chow says:

      Not available in Canada. You guy have all the good cards!

  5. ziggy says:

    How do all your links to a website with some dumb toolbar for smiley emoticons help me find a credit card? ๐Ÿ˜•

    1. John Chow says:

      That site is geotargeted to US only. Everywhere else gets a dumb toolbar smiley thing. ๐Ÿ™

      You could try this site:

  6. John, this is the beginning of your affiliate program for other products, right? Interesting. I’ll be interested to see how you blog a wider range of products and how successful you are..


  7. Fahmishah says:

    wow! you made it john.
    i must try this and look if i have luck with this one

  8. xbrain says:

    wow..JC you eat all day long at the fine restaurants – no wonder the cards charge is high..

    by the way brother of evil is wishing you Gong Xi Fa Chai

  9. Wow, I never knew you could do that. I don’t have a credit card yet. I guess I should find out which is the coolest out there and have a go at it myself. Thanks for the helpful tip.

  10. Sasuke says:

    Wow, you are a douche. Maybe you should pay to have someone remove your head from your ass.
    Nice turtle neck. Pull it up a little further – we can still see your face.

  11. Mike Huang says:

    …Not everyone is a John Chow ya know.


  12. CashoutChick says:

    Wow, John. I’d sure love a 100K to spend and get that one thousand back. Ha!

  13. Asela says:

    When I click “credit card site. ” It takes me to Smilly Central ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  14. BonoRiau says:

    Woowww spending and earning…

  15. jhay says:

    Congratulations on the rebate. This would certainly influence me when I sign up for a card of my own. :mrgreen:

  16. Pyjammez says:

    Hmmm, interesting. I thought I was financially literate to avoid using credit cards.

  17. Neil Duckett says:

    Credit is the way to go, the bonuses are endless … my last trip home i upgraded to business class with my CC points …. makes a big difference.

  18. Simon Lau says:

    I think this post last year is what got me reading, what a ridiculous amount to get back via dividend payment. I got 12 bucks back for 2007 ๐Ÿ™‚ But you’re right, pay by CC and make some money back, it’s a great idea.

  19. Always good to get cheques in the email. Makes it happy when it came from credit card company. Congratulations.

    Studies show on average people spend more with credit cards compared to paying cash. On average it is 20% more but hey, not everyone.

    I would have preferred CIBC Airmiles gold or Some other affinity cards which will pay me 2% back. Sure there is annual fee but it is much lower than 1% you miss when you spend that kind of money.

  20. That’s the only way to do it John. If you don’t pay off your balance every month you are throwing away your money. Reward cards are great, we use ours to earn points and pay our car insurance.

  21. Poker Sharks says:

    “financially illiterate”

    I wouldn’t go that far.

    Theres plenty of millionaires that i aren’t financially illiterate who dont have credit cards. Its just the penny pinchers you want their 1% rebate each year that bother with an end of the month bill. Those that have a serious amount of cash just pay out of their cash accounts.

    I bet John will claim the tax back on the pocket money he gives to his kid if he blogs about it on here.

  22. On top of this rebate, you also earn interest on the cash sitting in the bank while the credit card company gives you a 30 day term.

    1. Me says:

      You have got to have a serious balance to make that statement even worth saying. Most high yields only make 4% if you are lucky… that is what maybe a couple of pennies a month? yeah no

      1. I was referring to John, which based on the fact that his credit card bill averaged almost $10k/month, probably yielded him around $120 (or more) on top of the $1,125 rebate check. All for what? Nothing more than being smart and disciplined when managing his money. Nobody said that it would make him rich. The point was that between the rebate and interest, he’s getting free money.

  23. Shaun Carter says:

    This was a great post. I hate some of those financial gurus like Dave Ramsey who preach cutting up your credit cards, even if you pay them off every month. I earn a lot of bonuses every year with my credit cards because I use them for EVERYTHING and pay them off in full each month.

    But, you’re right that there are a lot of people out there that think they can charge everything they ever wanted when they’ve got plastic with them, and they get into debt.

  24. John says:

    fidelity has a nice card if you have an account with them 1.5% cash back – 5000 points = $75 in your account — not a bad deal if you ask me….John that would have been an extra $575 in your pocket!

  25. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing that great info. on how to make money
    using your credit card. That is sweet your going to use it
    on Valentines Day with your Wife ๐Ÿ™‚ She will love that I’m sure!
    Congrats on the rebate!

    ~Katie ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. I just scared to using my credit card…
    I ain’t rich like you John Chow …
    Maybe I will use credit card if I get earning like Stephen CHow,..
    Ha ha ha..

  27. OneBrownGuy says:

    That’s a freakin’ sweet rebate! Even if people like me can’t get rebates in your price range (YET!), we can still make use of these cards. 1% probably doesn’t do much for me. I really don’t care too much about getting 30-40 dollars back. I would blow that on a couple of beers. But, bonus points and airmiles are more of an incentive for people at my level. They have a “fun” value in adding them up and saving them for purchases.

    BUT, once I start making John Chow type dollars I will switch over to a dividend card!

  28. Jimson Lee says:

    If you had a CIBC AEROGOLD VISA, and you spent $120K, you would get 120,000 points. Maybe an extra 25,000 points for signing up.

    That’s enough for 2 round trips tickets to Europe (60K x 2) including a free stopover. It would cost MUCH more than $1200.

    Yes, the card costs $120/year, which has to be factored in.

    You see, I am more evil than John Chow!

  29. The MBNA Starwoods Mastercard gets you the biggest “bang for your buck” if you are comparing dollars spent to the value of the reward. The points can be used at any Starwood hotel room within the chain worldwide, and those savings can be huge compared to a 1% cash return.

    For example, your $112,554 would equal 56277 points, plus 15000 bonus points. That’s 71277 in points. You could take that and stay at the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers in Dubai (category 5; really nice hotel, went inside last xmas) for 1600AED/night ($434CDN/night), or 12000 points/night. That’s about six nights free with the points you have, which is worth $2604CDN, more than double of the check above! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Credit card again. Ok a good posting and which narrates the possiblity of credit card in money making by spending money. Thanks. ๐Ÿ˜†

  31. Wes Mahler says:

    This post was so simple, but so true, and shows the true difference in philosophies between those who understand debt leverage, and borrowing money versus, those who do not. Good Post!

  32. John J says:

    You can also use your credit card to invest. If the right deal comes along.

  33. Feed Flare says:

    Well that was easy money for you eh John.

  34. Gary Lee says:

    so . . what was the annual interest rate? I mean, if you’re getting charged more than 1% of another card without the rebate plan, doesn’t that mean you’re not really making money? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  35. Eric says:

    You could also use your credit card to buy Visa gift cards and then with the Visa gift cards buy US Postal money orders. Deposit the money orders into your bank account and then immediately pay off your credit card bill with the cash in your account using an online bill payment. That way you get the full credit card rewards ie points, cashback, miles etc and you dont incur interest. But that would be very evil! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    1. There is alot of different ways to rack up the balance on your card…and than pay it off before the balance is due!

  36. Colin Temple says:

    That’s a nice cheque. Maybe I should switch to TD… my RBC Rewards aren’t really pulling their weight these days.

  37. Scorpiono says:

    That’s a good one, you sound like making money out of EVERYTHING.

    Good job Chow

  38. Hehe
    I’m sure you have a lot of fun spending around 10K per month with your credit card, but given the amount of times you wrote about the Black Amex I’m sure you’re still a bit jealous of Neil and the other guys who got black plastic. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ
    jus kiddin

  39. Patrick says:

    Good post however, to the common man(peasant) this is not anything really obtainable. Think I have earned a whopping $10 off my Discovery card all year. Yeah, the card that pays me back…….

  40. Miley Cyrus says:

    So what did you buy for over $100,000 ? :mrgreen:

    There are some people who make money out of everything, you seem to be one of them – who sees an opportunity in everything.

  41. I know a lot of friends with similar type of credit cards, cash back, air miles, get discount buying cars, etc…however, I always stick with 2 credits cards, one that I use to collect grocery points (maybe I should get a cash back one instead) and another one as a spare. I am hesitant to apply for extra credit cards becoz I was told that if you want to get a mortgage later, too many credit cards will not do you any good?

  42. Scott says:

    So you insult those of us that don’t use credit cards, and that’s supposed to motivate us to clink on your link so that you get paid!?!?
    Yes, this will be the last time I ever visit your site.

    1. Many illiterate was too strong of a word.

      It should be the ‘financial inefficient’

  43. Tom Beaton says:

    Another point to add for those who use pay per click a lot – work in the effect of 1% cash back on all your ad spending. It should help boost the ROI for your campaigns.

    1. Absolutely! 1% may not seem like a lot, but if it’s a large campaign the 1% cash back can easily pay for some smaller campaigns without any additional out of pocket expenses.

  44. bloggernoob says:

    what did u spend ur money on? advertising? conventions?

  45. I guess I would be considered financially illiterate, I don’t use my credit card because I do not feel comfortable doing so.

  46. David says:

    I always pay with Credit card because of this, but I’m not quite at the level that you spend at yet…haha…soon though ๐Ÿ˜‰

  47. Dwayne MB says:

    Nice post, John, but I only use my CIBC Aerogold card when they won’t give me a discount for cash. I would rather get 1-2% discount at the time of sale than wait for any kickback. Many businesses will prefer to give me a discount rather than give the CC company 2-3% in credit card fees.

  48. While some above are positioning the Starwood Amex card as having the biggest bang for the buck, the Hilton HHonors Amex card actually offer almost double the value of the Starwood and beats out cash cards — even Plum.

  49. Play Game says:

    I use credit cards for emergencies not pleasure. I still don’t understand y people don’t get that yet which makes since. good one John ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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