The Verdict: The Alaska Airlines Credit Card is a solid option for someone with good credit who regularly flies with Alaska Air and its network of 17 partner airlines, both domestic and international. And it’s best suited to be a complementary card, used only for Alaska Airlines expenses to supplement an everyday card with more well-rounded rewards.
You see, the Alaska Airlines Credit Card isn’t one to seek out if you’re looking to take a quick trip on a credit-card company’s dime. Its 40,000-mile initial bonus, which you’ll receive two to three weeks after account approval, is nice, but your good credit can get you a lot more up front. Furthermore, the 1 point you’ll earn per $1 that you spend on most purchases and the ability to earn up to 5 points per $1 by booking restaurant reservations through Alaska’s Mileage Plan Dining program are okay. But the 3 points per $1 that you’ll earn on Alaska Airlines purchases ultimately define the card.
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 1.18 per $1.
The Verdict: The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card is both the best cash rewards card that Wells Fargo has to offer and one of the best cash back credit cards from any issuer. But a limited-time offer has a lot to do with that. New applicants can earn a $150 cash bonus for spending just $500 within 3 months of account opening. That’s tied for the second-biggest cash bonus among consumer credit cards, according to WalletHub’s database of 1,000+ offers.
Without its initial bonus, the Cash Wise card is still very good, just not elite. It doesn’t charge an annual fee, which makes it $20 per year cheaper than the average credit card offer. It gives you at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is roughly 50% higher than the average cash rewards card’s base earning rate. And you even get a bit more (1.8% back) on digital-wallet purchases for the first 12 months.
Amex Green Review Summary: The revamped American Express® Green Card is a charge card for people with good or excellent credit who want to earn extra rewards on travel expenses and dining at restaurants. It is best for high-spenders who plan to pay the bill in full each month and anticipate spending enough to more than cover the cost of the card’s $150 annual fee via rewards earnings.
The Amex Green Card’s best features are its bonus rewards and travel benefits. New applicants can earn an initial bonus of 30,000 points by spending $2,000 within 3 months of opening a new account. All cardholders earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel-related purchases and at restaurants worldwide. And that’s supplemented by hundreds of dollars in credits annually, to cover the cost of expedited airport security screening and airport lounge access.
Although it does charge a modest $39 annual fee and a fairly high regular APR, QuicksilverOne more than makes up for that by offering 1.5% cash back. It’s therefore an affordable means of credit building for any qualified applicant but promises to be especially beneficial if you spend at least $2,600 per year (the breakeven point at which rewards offset the annual fee).
Available to people with bad credit, even a previous bankruptcy
Relatively low APR for the segment
$35-$99 Annual fee
The Verdict: The problems that destroyed your credit standing and are now fueling your search for an unsecured credit card likely don’t represent milestones that you’d care to remember for too long. But the Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered (issued by a WalletHub partner) is a bit different, as opening it could prove to be an important turning point in your credit comeback.
Bear in mind that this card is far from perfect. It charges an annual fee, and its regular APR certainly isn’t cheap. But when you compare those terms to other unsecured cards targeted to people with bad credit, that’s where things get interesting. Such cards often charge expensive “application processing” and monthly fees in addition to annual fees and boast APRs north of 30% to boot.
Possible credit-line increase after first five on-time payments
No reduced introductory interest rates
Above-average regular APR
The Verdict: This is a journey into the world of college credit. No, not the type of credit that’s reflected by a GPA or that culminates in a degree, but rather one that contributes to your money-borrowing history and credit score, thus dictating your financial options following graduation.
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is among the very best college-student credit cards available, offering terms that are above average market-wide. Not only does the card not charge an annual fee, but it also rewards you with 1% cash back — which jumps to 1.25% during months that you pay your bill on time — on all purchases, a great incentive for responsible habits.
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.
The Verdict: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers elite terms on up to $6,000 in purchases per year but is fairly average otherwise. The gems of the offer are a pair of bonus cash back earning rates: 5% back on a total of $3,000 in gas and military purchases each year, plus 2% back on $3,000 in supermarket spending annually. When you consider that the average cash rewards card offers just 1.07% back on purchases, it's clear just how generous Cashback Rewards Plus can be - at least while its bonus rates last.
This card isn’t much of a taker, either, as far as fees are concerned. Cashback Rewards Plus doesn’t charge either an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee.
But not just anyone can get USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card. For starters, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. military or the adult child of a USAA member to join USAA. You also need good or excellent credit to qualify for the card itself.
The Verdict: If you have military ties and a good credit score, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card is a solid choice for low-cost credit improvement. And if you have good or excellent credit, it could provide a pretty low regular APR. But in any event, this offer won't wow you.
The USAA Rate Advantage Visa doesn't offer rewards. It doesn't offer 0% introductory APRs, either. Its best features are fairly low approval requirements and the lack of an annual fee. There's some interest rate appeal, too, but that comes with a few caveats.
The Verdict: If you shop at REI and have good or excellent credit, waste no time in adding the REI Credit Card to your payment arsenal.
The only other qualification is that you must pay $20 for a lifetime REI membership, which is well worth the money even before the card enters the equation, given the 10% rebate it gets you on most REI purchases. This is also the only membership charge you’ll have to worry about as far as the card is concerned, given its lack of an annual fee.
3% intro balance transfer fee for 120 days (5% after)
The Verdict: The Wells Fargo Platinum card is one of the best 0% intro credit cards on the market right now. It offers introductory APRs on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 18 months, trouncing the market averages for 0% cards in those categories: roughly 11 months for new purchases and 13 months for transfers.
However, Wells Fargo Platinum’s balance transfer fee (3% intro for the first 120 days) is above average, too. Similarly, Platinum’s regular APR could be above the 20.24% average among credit cards for people with good credit (which you need for approval). So you may want to think twice about transferring existing debt. And you definitely shouldn’t carry a balance from month to month once the 0% intro rates have come and gone.
“Pay for delete” can mean two things: a shady “credit repair” company promising to remove negative credit-report information for a fee, or a debt collector promising favorable credit-report treatment in exchange for prompt payment of the balance due, plus a fee. Neither scenario, especially the first, is aboveboard. There’s no amount you can pay — other than what you owe, which helps only to a certain extent — to improve your credit score. So, consider “pay for delete” to be more of a trick than a treat.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at both types of “pay for delete” schemes as well as legitimate alternatives.
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.
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. In the case of Q1 2020, credit card debt statistics also give us a tantalizing glimpse at what could have been had the coronavirus not come to town.
Americans began 2020 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt after a $76.7 billion net increase during 2019. Consumers quickly changed course, however, posting the biggest first-quarter credit card debt paydown ever, at $60 billion. That indicates U.S. consumers were on pace for one of their best years before the COVID-19 pandemic turned it into one of the worst. WalletHub now projects that U.S. consumers will rack up more than $140 billion throughout the rest of 2020, ending the year with a net increase of $80 billion in credit card debt.
It’s been decades since the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954, though it took years for schools to actually adopt that ruling. Now, no one can be denied enrollment in a school due to the color of their skin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that educational conditions are equal for all students. A recent study found that school districts that have a high concentration of white students receive $23 billion more per year in funding than those that have a high concentration of non-white students. Lower funding can lead to lower quality education, which can affect not only a person’s income trajectory but also their career trajectory for the rest of their life.
In order to determine which states have the most racial equality in education at a time when protests against racism and inequality are happening all across the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states across six key metrics. Our data compares the difference between white and black Americans in areas such as high school and college degrees, test scores and graduation rates. Read on for the results and a full description of our methodology.
This year, Uncle Sam will take his cut of the past year’s earnings a bit later than usual, on July 15. This three-month delay gave Americans some extra time to get their financial situation in order following the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many taxpayers are undoubtedly still wondering how this year’s Tax Day will affect their finances. Since the tax code is so complicated and has rules based on individual household characteristics, it’s hard for the average person to tell.
One simple ratio known as the “tax burden” helps cut through the confusion. Unlike tax rates, which vary widely based on an individual’s circumstances, tax burden measures the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes. And it isn’t uniform across the U.S., either.
Americans experienced months of heavy restrictions on their everyday life in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but now all states have at least partially reopened and are gradually expanding the types of businesses that are open. In order to determine the states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key metrics. Our data set ranges from whether child-care programs and restaurants have reopened to the presence or absence of a “shelter-in-place” order. Read on for the state ranking, additional insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Americans may feel their patriotism dampened this year amid the recent surge of protests against police brutality. Many people may find it hard to celebrate a country in which racist incidents persist. However, an expression of love for fellow citizens is patriotic in itself.
These protests come on the heels of another crisis that has made it difficult to have big displays of patriotism: the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus has ravaged the U.S. and kept Americans apart from one another for months. While many states are starting to reopen, it’s unlikely that on July 4th we’ll see many grand parades, fireworks displays attended by hundreds of people, or massive cookouts celebrating our independence, since any of those activities could lead to a resurgence in the virus.