Did you know that around 42 percent of credit cards in the UAE offer a cashback programme? But not all cashback credit cards are created equal! You’ll know what this means if you’ve ever got stuck with a credit card that doesn’t really work for you. Isn’t it an absolute pain to keep paying the annual fee every year, without reaping any major rewards in return?

But the good news is that you CAN maximize the cashback you earn, and it all starts with choosing the right card. We did a little digging and came up with a list of cashback features, terms and conditions you should be looking out for, when choosing a cashback credit card that’s worth a slot in your wallet.

Keep an eye out for offers & promotions

If you’re in the market for a new cashback credit card, make sure you stay abreast of the latest offers and introductory promotions offered by various credit card providers. We found one that packs a good punch in the ‘bonus’ department. Check out this introductory offer on the Standard Chartered Titanium Card.

  • What’s the offer? – You get a brand new iPhone 7 Plus when you apply for this card, and pay an additional AED 499.
  • How can you qualify? – You have to meet a minimum spend requirement of AED 10,000 per month for the next six months. You’ll also have to make your first retail purchase on the card within 30 calendar days from the date of delivery of the card.

This is a special promotion running until 31 December 2016. So if you’re looking for a new cashback credit card, and want to upgrade to a new smartphone, you can now kill two birds with one stone.

Get a cashback card to fit your spending habits

Credit cards may offer different cashback percentages for different spend categories. Make sure the categories that you spend the most on are covered. For instance, the Standard Chartered Titanium Card not only covers some of the most essential purchases and payments, but offers a whopping cashback of up to 10% on them. Here’s how:

  • Save up to AED 4,800 annually on supermarket spend – Who said buying groceries is boring? This card adds some serious incentives to grocery shopping, with up to 10% cashback. How amazing is that?!
  • Save up to AED 2,400 annually on utility bill payments – We all pay our utility bills every month, and it’s probably the dullest of all our chores. But who knew paying for electricity, water, Salik, Du/Etisalat and others, could get us up to 10% cashback?
  • Save up to AED 4,800 annually on school fee payments – The parents will definitely love this feature! The cashback reward of up to 10% is also applicable on all school fee payments made with the Standard Chartered Titanium Card.

Check for exclusions and limitations

All set to apply for a new cashback credit card? Don’t skip reading the terms and conditions beforehand. We know it’s boring, but it will save you a lot of trouble later on. Here are the top three limitations you must definitely check about:

  • What is the maximum cashback you can earn? Banks may limit the amount of cashback you can earn, by way of a monthly or annual cap.
  • Is there a minimum monthly spend requirement? You may be required to spend a predefined minimum amount every month, to be able to qualify for cashback.
  • Are there any penalties on cashback? For instance, you may be denied cashback rewards if you miss your repayments or exceed your credit limit.

[Related: 5 ways credit cards can save you money]