Money: Plastic That Pays Back

Reward cards help you spend more at your favorite stores. Should you bite?

Credit card issuers know that you, as a consumer, are more loyal to brands like Avon, Barnes & Noble and Amazon than you'll ever be to them. The first offer of a lower interest rate that lands in your mailbox, and you're likely to be off--which is why card companies are increasingly hitching their stars to other brands. To win your favor, they're offering to help you buy more of your favorite products. Is there a downside to these deals?

The specifics of co-branded cards vary quite a bit, but generally, for each dollar you charge, you receive a point. Points...

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