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No. of Recommendations: 3
First, I currently have no credit cards at all. I have been paying cash for everything for decades. My FICO is over 700.

Because of not currently having any credit cards, your best bet to get a credit card that will offer you a decent credit limit (so you will have enough of a limit to charge a month's worth of expenses, without jeopardizing your >700 score), you should probably start with looking at the credit cards offered by the financial providers you have a relationship with. You are more likely to get a credit limit that will allow your spend without impacting your score significantly (see below) from a financial institution that you already have a relationship with.

However, I recently went to work for a company and now have to charge and file expense reports, so I want a dedicated card to make this easier and stop using my cash, while possibly earning rewards or cash back.

I would strongly recommend getting at least 2 cards. You don't want to be stranded someplace without a card and without cash if your main card gets hacked by fraudsters, it has to be shut down, and the card company can't get you a new physical card for a day or two.

My expenses can run $500-$1,000 per month.

With potential $1k spending per month, the minimum credit limit you should be looking for is $10k, and more would be better.

Permit auto pay from my checking to ensure no interest charges.

This is a pretty universal service - I haven't seen a credit card that doesn't offer this service in a long time. (They want to get paid, they want to know that they will get paid and they want to do it electronically, so they don't have to pay to handle the check)

Offer generous cash back, with low or no annual fee, since I will have to cover that.

I have all 3 of these cards. I use my Chase card for purchases in the quarterly bonus category; my Bank of America card at warehouse clubs, grocery stores and gas purchases, and my Fidelity card on most everything else. (I do get the 75% bonus on the Bank of America card.)

Fidelity Visa - 2% cash back on everything with no annual fee - you just have to have a Fidelity account

Bank of America Cash Rewards - 3% on gas, 2% on warehouse clubs and grocery stores, 1% on everything else, plus if you have an account with Bank of America and/or Merrill Lynch, you can earn up to a 75% bonus on the rewards, so 5.75% on gas, 3.5% on warehouse clubs and grocery stores, and 1.75% on everything else

Chase Freedom (the 'limited' one) - 5% quarterly bonus categories (this quarter's is restaurants and movie theaters, next quarter's will be WalMart and department stores); 1% on everything else

Possibly extra rewards focused on dining, hotel, airline purchases, since they are the focus of expenses.

I don't have any of these, but I have looked into several of them. I just don't do enough traveling that it's worth it.

Chase Sapphire Preferred - 2 points per $ on travel/dining; 1 point per $ on everything else; points are generally redeemable for at least $1 per 100 points, but can be redeemed at better rates if you use Chase's programs to redeem; $95 annual fee after the first year

Bank of America Travel Rewards - 1.5 points for every $ spent; points can be redeemed for travel at a better rate than for cash or gift cards; Similar to the Cash Rewards above, up to a 75% in additional bonus points can be earned

Lots of brand specific cards - so if you have a particular hotel or airline that you use a lot - look for offers from them. They offer things like upgrades, access to airport clubs, free companion tickets and free checked luggage, etc. in addition to points that can be used for free trips/stays.

Most cards nowadays have some type of 'sign up bonus' - generally in the $100 - $200 range, although for cards that charge annual fees, I have seen sign up bonuses up to $625. The bonus typically requires that you spend a certain amount during the first 60 - 90 days after you are approved for the card.

AJ
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