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Maximize rewards offered by your credit cards

(MoneyWatch) Consumers often have plastic in abundance in their wallets yet know little about their features, and thus few attempt to determine which card works best for which purchases. As a result, cash-back rewards often are overlooked.

Reward Boost is a new website that will correct this oversight. Modeled after sites like Mint that make credit card recommendations for credit cards that can help you save money, Reward Boost was created by Kevin McKee, founder of the personal finance blog Thousandaire.

The idea is simple: You enter the credit cards you already own (no personal details -- just the names of the cards) and specify your approximate budget in categories like gas, restaurants, and shopping. Reward Boost then shows you which of your cards offer the best deal in each category and recommends new cards whose rewards will help your bottom line. The site shows you your total annual savings, offset against any annual fees.

It's a great concept because -- like Mint -- Reward Boost bases your savings on what you're actually spending, not a hypothetical number.

The site is still young -- it's currently in beta. If it doesn't list your credit card, you can request that it be added to the database. I was surprised to find that Reward Boost didn't appear to have the seemingly ubiquitous Discover card, though it did have my other three credit cards in the system. It's free, easy to use and doesn't capture any personal financial information like credit card numbers. The savings it brings should be enough to lure you to the site.

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