If youâre looking to advance your career or pivot to a new industry, then youâre probably checking out ways you can beef up your resume. Maybe youâre considering an MBA, a bootcamp, or browsing upcoming conferences. Or perhaps youâre considering the DIY route and looking for podcast and book recommendations.Â
While any of these options will help you learn and could boost your resume, the best way to level up your career prospects is to dedicate yourself to becoming a lifelong learner, which is where microlearning comes into play.Â
Conferences and classes are bursting with information, but you may feel limited by the course schedule and teaching style. This works for some people, but it can be expensive and hard to fit into a budget or daily schedule. Microlearning can help you take charge of your education by providing bite-sized lessons. Over time, you can build up your learnings for a more thorough and robust understanding of the subject.Â
The best part is you can apply your specific lessons to your life, career, and goals to build each of these out over time and see what really works and what doesnât. Your consistent growth can improve job satisfaction and career opportunities, putting you in the spotlight for the next raise or promotion. Learn more below or jump to our infographicÂ to get started.
What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning has become a popular workplace trend as a learning process that breaks topics into highly specific, concise lessons. This allows the learner to build understanding and confidence at their own pace.
Microlearning is great for tackling new information and closing knowledge gaps. If you already have a foundation of knowledge for a topic, then it can be frustrating to wade through the basics for the few new ideas you were looking for. Khan Academy and TED Talks are a great example of how you may fill in knowledge gaps.Â
The Benefits of Microlearning
The most important part of any lesson plan is that itâs tailored to a learnerâs needs, and that the learner is actually able to retain information. Microlearningâs flexibility for learners is one of its biggest benefits.
Here are some other reasons to consider microlearning:
- Maximize time by preparing lessons for on-the-go and fitting them in during breaks or commutes.
- Go in-depth to build a solid learning foundation and improve retention with practice.Â
- Find what works by experimenting with videos, articles, or podcasts to find what format works best for you.Â
- Save money with free resources like TED Talks, YouTube, and expert podcast hosts who provide episodic insights and lessons for you to follow.Â
- Fill knowledge gaps with lessons targeting exactly what you need to know instead of wading through beginner resources.Â
The Disadvantages of Microlearning
Microlearning is great for career development, employee training, and specific topics that you could use a refresher on. However, theyâre not a total replacement for other learning systems, and you should keep these in mind when you get started:
- Itâs not immediate and microlearning is about regular commitments to learning.
- It isnât easier, but it may feel easier. This is actually a benefit unless you assume it will be easy. You still have to actively learn and practice your lessons.Â
- Some topics just donât work, including complicated topics like global economics. Itâs great for learning about things like mortgages, but you likely wonât become an expert on personal finance in just a few lessons.Â
- Thereâs work upfront to finding and compiling the resources that fit your needs and that you trust. This work pays off in the long-run, though, with easy-to-access lessons.Â
5 Ways to Begin Microlearning
You may not realize it, but youâve probably already prioritized microlearning in your day-to-day life. If youâve watched a YouTube video to learn how to change your oil or customize a spreadsheet, then you know exactly how beneficial short, specific, and detailed lessons can be.Â
Here are some ways you can get started using microlearning as part of your professional development:
1. Game Groups
Gamifying your learning helps make the topic fun and builds a positive relationship with studying. You can get started by setting goals and rewards, or inviting peers to join you with a competitive leaderboard or a trivia night.Â
2. Video Clips
Videos are designed to be relatively short and engaging, and YouTube has made learning largely accessible from anywhere. While YouTube playlists are a great place to learn, make sure youâve done your research on any channels or personalities youâre watching to ensure your lessons are accurate.Â
3. Podcast Playlists
Like videos, podcasts are a great way to consume information on the go and from personalities you enjoy and trust. Theyâve become hugely popular because theyâre easy to listen to while driving, working, or exercising, but itâs important that you give your playlist your active attention if you hope to learn effectively.Â
4. Quiz Collections
Considering a quiz may bring flashbacks of test anxiety and stressful finals weeks, but in this scenario, quizzing isnât about checking a box that you learned something new. Instead, itâs a means to practice your memory recall and retention so you can count on it when you need it most.Â
5. Team Talks
Having a team to study with is not only great for motivation, but it can also improve your lesson retention. Active learning is the process of working or chatting through a subject or problem, and studies show this is the best way to learn and practice your skills.Â
Keeping up with your professional development is the best way to impress your employer and expand your job prospects. Whether you want to climb the career ladder or ease your daily workload, How Microlearning Can Level Up Your Knowledge appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Cash back is a rewards benefit that many credit cards offer to cardholders. By taking advantage of it, youâll receive back a prespecified percentage of certain purchases you make. Many credit card companies will provide higher cash back rates on certain types of purchases, such as airfare, gas, food and more. Cash back is just one way that credit cards offer rewards, as mileage and points are some alternatives.
Before you spend too much money with your credit cards, make sure you have a financial plan in place. Speak with a financial advisor today.
What Is Cash Back?
The most commonly recognized style of cash back is what you have likely seen advertised as cash back credit cards. This specifically refers to earning a certain percentage of your credit card purchases back as cash rewards. However, cash back rates vary widely, as do the categories that they apply to.
You usually wonât see credit card cash back rates higher than 5%, while 1% is the typically minimum you will earn. Cash back categorization is significantly more complex though, with a merchant category code (MCC) system being the main organizing force.
MCCs run the entire cash back industry, as they ultimately decide how each purchase you make is classified. These designations coincide with cash back rates set by the issuer of your card. For example, you could use your card for a $50 dinner at a steakhouse, which has a ârestaurantâ code. If your card offers a 2% cash back rate on all spending at restaurants, youâd earn $1 cash back.
Familiar alternatives to cash back include point- and mile-based programs, though many cardholders are partial to cash back. Cash back affords cardholders an independence that is ideal, since you can redeem it for nearly anything.
Popular Cash Back Credit Cards
Discover, American Express, Mastercard and Visa all have cash back rewards credit cards available for prospective cardholders. Each abide by their own set of regulations, though card issuers decide on cash back rates, promotions and bonuses. Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Capital One represent some of the most active card issuers on the market today.
Below are a few examples of what you can expect to earn when looking for a cash back credit card:
Cash Back Credit Cards Card Name Cash Back Rates Cash Back Bonus Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi 4% cash back on eligible gas up to $7,000 per year, 3% cash back on eligible travel and restaurants, 2% cash back in-store and online with Costco and 1% cash back elsewhere None Bank of AmericaÂ® Cash Rewards credit card 3% cash back in a category of your choosing, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases (up to a quarterly cap of $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/choice category purchases) $200 bonus cash back for spending at least $1,000 over your first 90 days Capital OneÂ® QuicksilverÂ® Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back everywhere $150 cash back bonus when you spend $500 during your first three months Citi Double Cash Card 1% cash back on your purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay your bill None Capital OneÂ® SavorÂ® Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back on groceries and 1% cash back elsewhere $300 cash back bonus for $3,000 spent over your first three months TD Cash VisaÂ® Credit Card 3% cash back on dining, 2% cash back at supermarkets and 1% cash back on everything else Earn $150 cash back when spending $500 within the first 90 days (See Terms) USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything None Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express 3% cash back on up to $6,000/year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on other purchases $150 bonus cash back for spending $1,000 over your first six months Getting Cash Back at Retailers
Picture this: youâre buying some groceries on a Sunday morning, but know youâll need $40 cash to fill up your car with some gas later. You could swipe your debit card at the supermarket and then head over to the ATM. Or you could ask for cash back right from the cashier, eliminating the extra errand.
The above situation represents the alternative definition of cash back. Itâs ultimately the use of a cash register as if you were swiping your debit card at the ATM. When you request cash back from a cashier, your bank account will be charged the amount you asked for. This enables the funds to be pulled from your account so the cash can be placed in your hand.
Although this generally only applies to debit cards, there are a few exceptions for credit cards. DiscoverÂ® allows cardholders to ask for cash back at more than 50 large retail stores without a transaction fee.
There are many benefits to utilizing credit card rewards programs. But spending money that technically isnât yours will always involve some level of risk. If youâre in good financial shape, though, cash back and other types of credit card rewards can help you take more vacations, save money on purchases and more.
Credit Card Tips
- Managing your credit cards and any debt you accumulate using them is a major part of your long-term financial outlook. Consider working with a financial advisor to make sure youâre managing your money with your goals for the future in mind. SmartAssetâs free matching tool can connect you with up to three advisors in your area. Get started now.
- If youâre someone who wants freedom when spending credit card rewards, you may prefer cash back to a points- or mileage-based reward system. However, keep in mind that cash back rates are sometimes less than those in point-centric programs.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authorâs alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/SIphotography, Â©iStock.com/MJ_Prototype, Â©iStock.com/Juanmonino
The post What Is Cash Back? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Surveys consistently show that no credit card reward is more popular than cold, hard cash. Indeed, cash back cards came out well ahead of other types of rewards cards in a recent CreditCards.com survey, which found that close to half of U.S. adults own a cash back credit card.
And for good reason: Instead of having to decipher a complex redemption scheme, you can opt for a simple, straightforward reward and use it in the way that fits you best.
Here we take a look at some of the most common types of cash back redemption, along with some of the restrictions you may encounter when redeeming your rewards.
How cash back cards work
Cash back cards come in a variety of flavors, but they all fundamentally work the same way: As you make purchases with your card, you earn cash rewards at a set rate. There are three major types of cash back cards.
- Flat-rate cash back cards offer the same percentage of cash back for all purchases, usually between 1% and 2%.
- Bonus category cash back cards typically reward some purchases, like groceries or dining, at a higher rate, while rewarding general purchases at 1%.
- Rotating bonus category cash back cards have dynamic bonus categories that automatically change or allow you to select a different bonus category after a certain length of time.
See related:Â What is cash back?
Ways to redeem cash back
Depending on your card and issuer, you may have a variety of choices in how you redeem your cash back rewards. Some issuers even allow you to set up an automatic redemption, meaning your redemption would automatically initiate after a set number of days or after you earn a certain amount in rewards.
The most common ways to redeem cash back are:
- A statement credit
- A direct deposit to a bank account
- A check
- Gift cards
Redeeming cash back as a statement credit
One of the most common ways to redeem cash back is as aÂ statement credit. A statement credit is money credited to your account that reduces your card balance. For example, if you were to spend $1,000 with a card that offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase, youâd earn $15 in cash back rewards; and if you were to redeem this cash back as a statement credit, your balance would decrease by $15 to $985.
Blue Cash PreferredÂ® Card from American Express, for example, requires you to have earned $25 in cash back before you can redeem as a statement credit.
TheÂ Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ®card lets you redeem rewards as a statement credit in any amount, anytime.
Once youâve met your cardâs redemption requirements, you can simply choose a statement credit as your preferred cash back redemption.
Redeeming cash back as a check or direct deposit
A slightly smaller number of credit card rewards programs let you redeem your rewards for âtrueâ cash back in the form of a check or direct deposit to your bank account. Claiming your cash back in this way gives you a bit more leeway since you can save or spend your rewards however you like instead of having them âlockedâ into a particular card account.
As with statement credits, the requirements for requesting a check vary from card to card, with some issuers requiring you to have earned a minimum amount of cash back before you can request a check and others imposing relatively few restrictions.
Direct deposits tend to be a bit trickier across the board, especially if you donât already have a banking relationship with your credit card issuer.
- TheÂ Bank of AmericaÂ® Cash Rewards credit card, for example, will only let you redeem cash back as direct deposit if you have a checking or savings account with Bank of America.
- TheÂ CitiÂ® Double Cash Card lets you redeem your cash back as a direct deposit only if you have a linked Citi account or a checking account from which youâve paid a Citi credit card bill at least twice. While the Double Cash card requires you to have earned at least $25 in cash back to redeem as a statement credit, thereâs no minimum to redeem as a direct deposit.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise VisaÂ® cardÂ lets you claim your cash back via an ATM (in $20 increments only) if you have a Wells Fargo Bank account.
Automatic cash back redemption
Along with manually requesting a statement credit, check or direct deposit, a number of cards allow you to set up automatic cash back redemption. If your card allows automatic redemption, your cash back is generally distributed at set times or after youâve earned a certain amount.
- TheÂ Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and, for example, allow you to schedule automatic cash back redemption via statement credit or check at a set time once per year or once youâve reached a cash back earnings threshold ($25, $50, $100, $200, $500 or $1,500).
- Even some cards designed for credit-builders, like theÂ Credit One Bank American ExpressÂ® Card, allow automatic redemption as a statement credit, offering those looking to improve their financial habits a âset-it-and-forget-itâ cash back savings tool that will periodically knock off a chunk of their credit card balance.
Travel, gift cards and merchandise on an issuerâs online portal
Most credit card issuers also give you the option of redeeming your cash back through a rewards portal for online shopping or as gift cards to select department stores, restaurants, video streaming services and more.
- TheÂ Discover itÂ® Cash Backcard, for example, lets you redeem your cash back for gift cards from shopping partners once youâve earned $5 in cash back (gift cards range from $5 to $200, in increments of $5).
- TheÂ Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card*lets you redeem your points for purchases on Amazon.com, as a statement credit or deposit, or for gift cards and travel â all at a rate of 1 cent per point.
Having the option to use your rewards for travel allows you to enjoy the benefits of travel rewards with a cash back card and is especially common among cash back cards that use points or allow you toÂ choose between cash back and points.
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great example. You can earn unlimited cash back at a rate of 5% cash back on every purchase, which translates to 1.5 points per dollar if redeemed for travel in theÂ Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Similarly, the Citi Double Cash Card lets you transfer your cash back toÂ Citi ThankYou Rewards and redeem for travel rewards, as well as gift cards, merchandise and other purchases through the Pay with Points program.
Cash back redemption options on popular rewards cards
As you can see, cash back redemption options vary considerably from issuer to issuer and card to card. Hereâs a closer look at how cash back redemption breaks down with some of the most popular cash back credit cards.
||Redeem as a statement credit?
||Redeem as a check?
||Redeem as a direct deposit?
|Blue Cash PreferredÂ® Card from American Express
||Yes (once youâve earned $25 in cash back)
|Bank of AmericaÂ® Cash Rewards credit card
||Yes (once youâve earned $25 in cash back)
||Yes (once youâve earned $25 in cash back)
||Yes (into a Bank of America checking or savings account, once youâve earned $25 in cash back)
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
|Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ®
|CitiÂ® Double Cash Card
||Yes (once youâve earned $25 in cash back)
||Yes (once youâve earned $25 in cash back)
||Yes (to a linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account from which youâve paid your Citi credit card bill at least twice)
|Discover itÂ® Cash Back
Best cash back redemption options
With all those options for redeeming for cash, which one is best?
The key point to consider is whether your rewards lose any value when redeemed in a certain way. You want to make sure you are getting the most value back, so be careful if you redeem for merchandise, which can be worth less than rewards redeemed for straight cash.
That said, unless your issuer offers a bonus for claiming your rewards as a statement credit instead of âtrueâ cash back, you should simply stick to whichever option is most convenient.
One drawback to cash rewards is they often donât feel like actual rewards because they get swept up into your ongoing finances. If that bothers you, you might consider taking note of how much you are receiving in cash rewards, then rewarding yourself by spending that amount on something you want, so that you feel like youâre getting a reward.
Either way, thatâs the best aspect of cash back rewards: Itâs your decision.
Choosing the best cash back credit card for you
Your redemption options are just one consideration when choosing a credit card. Consider these factors:
When shopping around for cash back cards, find the card that will work the hardest for you, not the other way around. In other words, a cash back rate of 5% at restaurants is great, but not if you rarely eat out. Bottom line: Find a credit card that matches the largest portions of your budget.
Also, be honest about how much thought you want to give to your credit card. If you prefer a âset and forgetâ approach, a flat-rate card is a better choice than a rotating bonus category card.
With so many great no annual fee cards, you might wonder why you would ever get a card with an annual fee. But often, the rewards rates are so much better that it actually makes sense to get the card with the annual fee. For example, comparing the Blue Cash EverydayÂ® Card from American Express and the Blue Cash PreferredÂ® Card from American Express, we found that consumers who spend more than $3,200 annually at U.S. supermarkets ($267 per month) were actually better off with Blue Cash Preferred, which has a $95 annual fee.
From redemption options to bonus categories, each cash back card is designed for a different type of consumer. If you havenât found your perfect match yet, try our CardMatchâ¢ tool, which can deliver personalized credit card offers in seconds with no impact on your credit score.
All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuers did not provide the content, nor are they responsible for its accuracy.