The Verdict: The Total VISA® Credit Card
is the exact opposite of the complete package, charging you an arm and a leg for a very modest unsecured credit line.
You have to pay an $89 program fee just to get the Total VISA®. And once your account is open, you will be responsible for a $75 first-year fee, which jumps to a total of $123 in subsequent years between annual and monthly fees. Furthermore, if you carry a balance from month to month — ostensibly what this type of card is intended for — interest will accrue at a ridiculously high 34.99%
APR, one of the highest rates on the market.
There are four different Bank of America rewards programs for credit cards, extending coverage to both business and consumer cardholders. These programs vary in terms of the system by which members earn rewards and redeem rewards earnings for perks. For example, some Bank of America rewards programs only offer cash back while others allow members to redeem for gift cards, travel accommodations or charity donations. However, not all Bank of America rewards programs are open to new cardholders. One of the programs, WorldPoints, only applies to credit cards that have been discontinued. Current cardholders can still enjoy its privileges.
Details for earning and redeeming rewards vary drastically across the BofA rewards programs. So it can be hard for newcomers to gauge how much value they can get out of each. But don’t worry – WalletHub has collected and assessed all of the insider details to provide you with the best information and tips regarding Bank of America’s credit card rewards programs.
Interest is the cost of borrowing money, and an interest rate tells you how quickly those borrowing costs will accumulate over time. For example, if someone gives you a one-year loan with a 10% interest rate, you’d owe them $110 back after 12 months. Interest rates obviously work against you as a borrower. But they benefit you as the lender, such as when you put money in a bank account or certificate of deposit.
That’s what an interest rate is and how it works in its most basic form. But things can get more complicated when you bring in compound interest (i.e. interest on interest). Loans, lines of credit and other financial accounts may also have several different kinds of interest rates. Before we get into introductory rates, penalty rates and the like, however, let’s first get one major distinction out of the way: the difference between interest rate and APR.
A credit card security code is the 3-4 digit number that is printed – not embossed – on all credit cards. The length and location of a credit card’s security code depend on what network the card is on. On Visa, Mastercard and Discover credit cards, the security code will be three digits on the back of the card, just to the right of the signature panel. But an American Express credit card’s security code is a four-digit number listed on the front of the card, slightly above and to the right of the card number. In the event your card displays longer numbers, simply use the last three or four digits.
Regardless of what kind of card you have, credit card security codes serve the same purpose. When you give your security code to a merchant, along with your credit card number and expiration date, the information is immediately sent to the card issuer for authentication. Once that is approved, your transaction will go through. If not, the transaction is instantly cancelled. So it’s a no brainer why it’s called a “security code.”
Yes, you can pay your rent with a credit card. However, making rent payments with a credit card can be difficult. Many landlords do not directly accept credit cards, forcing renters to rely on third-party apps that charge fees. Plenty of people still do it, though. Paying rent with a credit card can help keep a roof over your heard if you’re short on cash. It also provides the benefits of fraud protection and rewards.
Below, you can find out the different methods for paying rent with a credit card. You’ll also find a discussion of the pros and cons of doing so, so you can make an informed decision on whether to pay by card or use an alternative payment method.
The Verdict: The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
is a solid choice for anyone who’s currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university, particularly international students and fans of Amazon.com. Deserve EDU doesn’t charge an annual fee, as is the norm with student credit cards, and it offers rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases. That’s roughly average among all rewards credit cards, not just those for students.
Deserve also gives you a year’s membership in Amazon Prime Student, which offers savings on everything from textbooks and electronics to music and movies. And while many student credit cards require you to have a Social Security number (SSN), Deserve EDU is available to students who were born abroad. International students simply need a passport, U.S. bank account and Student Visa.
You can’t get an accurate sense of the consumer debt situation without considering credit card delinquency and charge-off rates. These metrics speak to the sustainability of consumer spending habits, indicating the ability of credit card users to stay current on their bills. For example, high delinquency rates may foreshadow a rash of defaults as well as the potential for a downturn in the economy, while a downward trend in default rates could indicate economic or habitual improvement.
Furthermore, consumers continue to owe charged-off debt for years, which means ignoring such sums will paint a misleading picture of the debt landscape.
Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households. They can also foreshadow over-borrowing bubbles, changes to lending standards, and other trends with the potential to impact our wallets.
Americans began 2019 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt. Although the forecast initially appeared brighter, thanks to consumers repaying $38.2 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2019, poor second-quarter results nearly erased that effort. U.S. consumers added $35.5 billion in new credit card debt during the second quarter of 2019 – the largest second-quarter build-up ever. And in the third and fourth quarters, total debt went up by another $21.5 billion and $57.9 billion, respectively. As a result, there was a $76.7 billion net increase in consumer credit card debt for 2019 overall.
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
is one of the best rewards cards for people with excellent credit who like to travel and dine out. In fact, it ranked 9th overall in WalletHub’s 2019 Credit Card Rewards Report for the net value that the average person can expect to earn in two years: $1,534.
The premium rewards start with an initial bonus of 50,000 points
after you spend at least $3,000 within 90 days of opening your account. That’s worth $500. And the perks keep coming, with 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, plus 1.5 points per $1 on everything else. The average points card gives you just 1.17 per $1.
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
is an attractive everyday spending vehicle for people with excellent credit. Things begin on a positive note, with no annual fee to worry about and the ability to earn a $200
initial bonus for spending just $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
even supplements its base 1% cash-back earning rate with 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs and 3% back on a category of your choosing. But there’s a catch. Those bonus earning rates apply to only the first $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale clubs and gas purchases each quarter. So if you spend more than $833 a month on such everyday necessities, you will wind up hitting that limit and earning only 1% back — slightly less than the market average of 1.07% — on all your purchases for the rest of the quarter.
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
is a very good option for people with excellent credit who want to reduce the cost of travel without paying an annual fee. But it’s only a truly great choice for fairly low-spending Bank of America banking customers with a lot of cash saved.
The party starts with a 25,000-point initial rewards bonus, worth $250 in travel, when you spend $1,000 or more within 90 days of opening your account. That’s well above average for a card offering a points-based bonus. Still, if you’re someone who spends $1,000 per month, rather than every three months, you can get at least twice as much dollar value from competing offers.
|Points Needed for a Free Night:
|Average Point Value:
||1 point = 1.12 cents (toward Bonvoy reservations)
1,000 points = $11.20 (toward Bonvoy reservations)
Delta SkyMiles, Southwest Rapid Rewards and United MileagePlus
|Marriott Bonvoy Hotel Brands:
Marriott Rewards Review Summary: Marriott Bonvoy is the 5th best hotel rewards program, according to WalletHub’s latest report comparing the major hotel loyalty programs. Some of the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program’s biggest strengths include points worth an average of $1.12 apiece when redeemed for free nights, lots of redemption options and few earning limitations.
The program’s scale is another major advantage. Marriott Bonvoy includes more than 1 million rooms across more than 7,000 properties in well over 100 countries and territories. It also features nearly 30 different hotel brands, including Courtyard, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Sheraton, The Ritz-Carlton and Westin – just to name a handful. That gives hotel-goers of all budget levels a suitable place to stay.
According to JD Power and Associates’ 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high for the last thirteen years they have been conducting the study. Using a 1000 point index, the study measures customer satisfaction with credit cards by examining six key factors: interaction; credit card terms; billing and payment process; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution. The 2019 study found that only about one third of customers fully understand all the benefits offered, which translates in higher satisfaction scores, while the rest are overall less satisfied with their card.
Overall satisfaction is at a record high of 806, surpassing the previous high of 802 in the 2017 study. Nevertheless, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported 15,232 consumer complaints relating to credit cards in 2019.
The Verdict: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
is like jet fuel for your travel budget, offering about $700 in airfare from first-year rewards alone. You get 40,000 points
for spending at least $1,000 during the first three months your account is open and another 6,000 on your first account anniversary. The secret, however, isn’t necessarily how many points you get – although that is important – but rather what each point is worth.
Unlike most travel rewards cards, whose points and miles tend to carry no more than one cent of value apiece (far less in the case of many hotel-branded cards, for example), each Southwest Rapid Rewards point equates to a bit more than 1.7 cents, on average, when redeemed for a free flight. In other words, 40,000 points
are redeemable for over $688 in airfare and the 6,000-point bonus you’ll receive each account anniversary will nearly cancel out the previous year’s $99
annual fee. This puts the card’s ongoing earning structure – 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards-family purchases and 1 point per $1 on everything else – into a new light as well.
The following represents historical data on credit card interest rates in the United States. These rates are presented as functions of credit card delinquency, national unemployment and credit card charge-offs. The margin reflects the differential above the Prime Rate.
Credit card interest rates are quite revealing, as they speak to changes in the economic environment, allow for historical comparison, and enable consumers to determine if they are getting a good deal on their credit card. Furthermore, they can be used to unearth seasonal trends in credit card offers and therefore time applications more fortuitously.
Apple Card Review Verdict: The Apple Card
is a rewarding option for people with good credit or better who regularly buy Apple products and services, as well as for iPhone, Mac and iWatch users who are comfortable making purchases using Apple Pay. Having the new Apple Credit Card from Goldman Sachs in your wallet doesn’t have to cost you a thing, considering the card’s $0 annual fee (and lack of other major fees). But it can help you save money with elite rewards rates of up to 2% - 3% on select purchases, as long as you pay the bill in full every month.
The Apple Credit Card is not a good choice for people who plan to carry a balance from month to month, thanks to an APR that could be anywhere from 12.49% to 23.49% (V)
, depending on an applicant’s creditworthiness. There are much better credit card rates available to people with the good-to-excellent credit needed to be eligible for Apple Card
The Verdict: The BankAmericard® credit card
is a very good tool for avoiding interest on credit card debt, whether you’re planning a big purchase or need a way to reduce the cost of an existing balance. The stars of the show are BankAmericard’s $0 annual fee and its 0% introductory APRs, which apply to purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 billing cycles. If you transfer a balance, you just have to do so within 60 days of opening an account to get that rate.
Those features compare favorably to most competing offers. The average 0% purchase APR lasts for about 11 months. And the average 0% balance transfer deal gives you about 13 months. But that is not to say BankAmericard’s financing offer is flawless. The most important imperfection for folks with expensive debt is the card’s 3% balance transfer fee. Although this is the average for a balance transfer credit card, it’s a distinguishing factor between the BankAmericard credit card and its biggest competitors.
The Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
is one of the best rewards credit cards on the market. With Sapphire Preferred, the average person would earn roughly $1,475 in net rewards value over the course of two year’s use. And that’s with the card’s $95
annual fee factored in, too. The core of this offer is a $600 to $750 initial rewards bonus, which can cover the cost of the card’s membership fees for over six years.
Sapphire Preferred continues to pay for itself by providing two points per dollar spent on travel and dining as well as one point per dollar spent on everything else. When redeemed for cash back, these points are worth a penny each but jump to 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Visa and Mastercard are the largest card networks in the world. That means they dictate where credit cards and debit cards can be used as well as what secondary perks they provide.
Note: This card is no longer open to new applications. Information listed here is accurate as of Jan. 27, 2020.
The Verdict: A secured credit card is the best tool for building or rebuilding credit at the lowest possible cost. And though the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card
isn’t the absolute cheapest card of its kind, it’s in the conversation.