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The Direct Express Prepaid Card is very useful for a select group of people, and not much use to anyone else. If you need a card to manage Direct Deposit from your workplace, and you either don't have a bank account or don't want to share that info with your employer, this could be a very helpful card. Otherwise, there's no real advantage to using this. There's no hidden or annual fees with this, nor any flat rate taken from each deposit, which definitely makes this better than some of the scams you may have read about. But only 1 free ATM access a month does make it a little tricky to use. Still if you need something like this, this may be one of your best options.
The toys-r-us credit card seems like a good deal, but rarely ends up being worth using. First off, the APR is ridiculously high, so theres no point at all for rolling your balance over month to month. And it looks like the 'base pay' is 4% but really it's not; it's 1% for almost everything you buy there, and only 4% on 'select items'. Plus toys-r-us is always so pricey that even with the 4% back you end up spending more money than if you went to somewhere else, even if you didn't use a reward card there. Plus you have to cash out in increments of 500 points, which can end up leaving savings on the table. Just skip this one.
The Gap store credit card is a real nice one to pick up. First off, you can use it at stores other than the Gap, including Old Navy and Banana Republic. It's great to pick up when you go out and get a bunch of clothes at the change of the season, as you get a 20% off on your entire first purchase. You get free coupons all the time, as well as access to deals only for card holders, both in the brick and mortar store and online on their website. If you're a frequent shopper at any of these stores, or even just an occasional one, it's a good way to save money. The only caveat to this is the APR is atrocious. Use it to make purchases and pay it off the next day. This isn't the card to put back to school clothes for your 6 kids on.
The Sunoco Card can be a helpful tool for families with multiple cars that do a lot of driving. You won't really start seeing good benefits until the 3rd time you fill up in a billing cycle; before then it's only 3 points per dollar spent, not 10. With fuel economy on the rise, more and more people won't be able to get the maximum benefit for this type of card, as you find yourself timing your fillups to maximize one month at the expense of another. Compare that to the .15/per gallon flat rate of the Exxon/Mobile card and you really can do better than this. Now, if you drive a lot and there's some convenient Sunoco locations, this might be a helpful card. But realistically, there's plenty of non gas related reward cards that give you better returns. Just because you're buying gas doesn't mean you have to use a gas card.
For most people, theres no real reason to get a Platinum Card from American Express. Unlike, say the Chase Freedom card many people use, few people will even be able to qualify to get one of these cards, and being rejected will just lower your credit score. There's no "preset spending limit" but that's mostly a lie, as they will reject purchases they feel you don't have the ability to pay back, based on the info you gave. So there's no limit but you can't make large purchases, so really there is a limit. Then you have to pay it off in full that month, so even if you wanted to make a medium sized purchase you wouldn't be able to stretch the impact over a few months. Additionally, there's a $450 fee every year. End of the day, this is the perfect credit card....for people that don't need a credit card. It's a status symbol that no one else cares about. Don't bother with this card.
If you use Priceline, or just travel a lot, the Priceline Credit Card is a helpful tool when you first open it. If you use the card for $1000 you'll accrue 10,000 points, enough to get a $100 voucher towards traveling through Priceline. The APR is pretty competitive as well, so it won't kill you to make a large purchase of say, airline tickets, that you don't pay off immediately. After that, however, the rate drops to 1/1 which ends up being a 1% return on your purchases; lower than other travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Card, which at least doubles your contribution from some purchases. Even if you use priceline consistently, after the initial rewards theres very little reason to make purchases with this card.
The Kohl's Card is pretty good, at least as far as store credit cards go. The 15% off your initial purchase is lower than most cards will give you for applying, and the interest rate is pretty sub-par even if you have top credit. That being said, the 25 day grace period could be worse. Also, as with any store card, you get this for the extra access to sales and discounts this gives you through out the year. It serves that purpose well, but this is not a credit card you want to use to make large purchases. You'll also get extra coupons that amount to about 20% off during the course of the year, which is a nice bonus.
The Blue Sky from American Express card looks like a pretty blah travel card, that's only helpful if you really want an American Express card. The intro period is pretty long, which is good because the interest rate after is nothing to write home about. There's no annual fee, which is decently rare for an American Express card. But the bonus system isn't that great. Getting 7500 points for $1000 worth of purchases is a nice jumpstart of 10% cash back that you have to use for travel, but after that the rate is really unfavorable and behind a lot of competitive cards like the Chase Freedom Visa or even the Amazon card. Even if you're a frequent traveler, there's better ways out there to get more return on your purchases. If you know you're about to buy a travel ticket, get this, spend $1000, get $100 bucks off, but don't pull this out very often afterwards.
I have the Walmart Credit Card, but I never find myself using it. The reward system is horrible; you really have to do nearly all your shopping at Walmart just to qualify for the 1% bonus. The APR is not good at all, and there isnt even an introductory rate. There's only two real reasons to use this card. First, you get $20 dollars back if you spend $100 or more the day you open your card, which is nice if you're buying something right around $100. Secondly, you get a free credit score every month with your statement, which is nice because you don't get a score with your bi-annual free credit reports. Otherwise, there's no real reason to use this card. Even the 15c off gas at walmart isn't a great savings. Unless you're paying under $3.00 a gallon, any card with 5% rewards gives you a better savings.
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a solid card, but with nothing that makes it stand out from the pack. You need top level credit to even get the card, which makes it somewhat surprising there aren't bigger advantages to using it. The 18 month intro rate of 0% APR is the only thing that stands out as better than a typical credit card such as the Capital One Platinum Prestige card that I currently use, which has nearly identical features but isn't as difficult to get. If you qualify for it, it's a helpful card, but if you qualify for this you should be able to find a card that gives comparable interest rates with much better perks or rewards. At best this gives you an 11.99% rate after the introductory period which is nice but certainly not the best you could do.
The functionality of credit cards has shifted, and today most cards are picked based on the rewards or savings it gives you, rather than as a tool to spread payments out over a period of time. However, sometimes you do need to make that big, emergency purchase you don't have the cash on hand for, and that's where the Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card really shines. The 0% APR introductory rate lasts for much longer than most of its competitors cards, and the regular rates are about as good as you're going to find anywhere. The intro rate also applies to balance transfers, so this is even a card you can pick up to 'fix' a purchase you had to make on another, less APR friendly, card. The travel perks are also nice, but really the interest rates is what makes the Capital One Platinum Prestige card shine.
The Target Store card is a great card to have in your wallet. You get 5% off of any purchase made in store or on the website, making it a great way to save some cash on pretty much anything, especially if you have a target with a grocery store near you. The free shipping from the online store is also a nice bonus, as those costs can really add up. The downside to the Target card is that the interest rate is not very competitive, so your savings can vanish quickly if you're not on top of making payments. Still, the flat 5% savings is a step above comparable stores, making this a great credit card to have.
Unfortunately, I don't see myself getting a lot of use out of a Sears Credit Card. It's similar to other department store cards such as the Macy's Credit Card I already have. The interest rate is well below average, so it's not great to use for large purchases you need time to pay off fully. For this Sears card, you don't even get a discount off your first purchase like you do for most department store cards. Thankfully, there's no annual fee either, so your best bet is to get this card for the sales events, and then use another card to make the actual purchases.
The Amazon.com Credit Card is a great card to use if you do a lot of online shopping. First off, the $30 visa gift card you get just for signing up is a nice perk. Then, for every purchase you make on the amazon.com website, you get 3% back for your next purchase on amazon.com. Every time you use your card for anything else, you get 2% back towards your next purchase. The only reasons this isn't a 5 star card is there's only a 21 day grace period to make payments, and the interest rates are just OK. Still, if you're a frequent online shopper it's a very easy way to get a competitive cash back percentage towards future purchases.
The Carnival Cruiseline Credit Card is one of those cards that is very helpful to a very small number of people. If you're someone who takes a lot of cruises, it's worth looking into. It's similar to those GM or Ford credit cards where if you're 100% certain you'll be patronizing the corporation that sponsors the card, you can get a lot of mileage out of using it. The 5000 free points for signing up is great, as is the 5000 points for a balance transfer. The thing to be cautions of, however, is that the grace period for making payments is only 23 days, not a full month, and with a variable interest rate that isn't anything to write home about, it's important you don't let things sit for too long. The good news is there's no annual fee, so while this may not be a card you use regularly, you won't have to pay for the privilege of not using it.
There's really not a lot of reasons to get or use the GM credit card. The interest rate isn't really any better than any other credit card you could get. There's not any extra or special benefits, or any reasons to use it in one particular situation over another situation. The 5% rate is nice, but there's other cards that give you similar (or in some cases better) returns, and with those cards you get the actual cash back, instead of them just holding your money and only being able to apply it to a GM car. So, if you are 100% certain you're going to be in the market for a GM car in a few years, and you're horrible at managing your money and theres no way you can help save up for it without a 3rd party institution holding your cash so you can't spend it on something else, then this is the card for you. Otherwise, stay away and explore other options with better rates or more flexible benefits.
The Macy's card is pretty average when it comes to store credit cards I've used. In its pro column, the initial 20% off your first purchase is a nice perk. They're very good with emailing promotions and discounts available exclusively to card holders as well. On the flip side, there's no real reason to use it otherwise. There's no flat discount, and no real perks to repeated uses. Basically, it's best to just view it as an access pass to sales you wouldn't normally be able to take advantage of. Of course, the initial 20% is the biggest reason to use this, as it can be a nice discount on a big purchase. As with any store card, the interest rate is high so be very proactive at paying your balance off as quickly as possible. It's a discount card, not a credit card.
The Staples card has been a, well, staple of my purchasing for awhile now. Like a lot of these store type cards, the interest rate is generally pretty high so it definitely doesn't pay to carry a balance, but there are more than enough benefits to using it that makes it worthwhile to pay off your balance each month. The flat 5% off your purchases is worth it, even if you are not a frequent staples shopper. it's a great card to use to save some money and use as a credit score booster by paying off your small purchases each month.
The Shell Gas Card is probably the most horribly named, yet still useful, credit card I've ever used. It has nothing to do with gas, and I don't think I've ever used it at a Shell station. What it is good for is all the aspects of travel /except/ gas. Off the bat, it has a $25 annual fee, so if you dont see yourself using it a lot it might not be a good fit. If you book a lot of airfare, or stay in a lot of hotels, you can really get a lot of savings using this card. Just make sure you pay it off quickly, as the high interest rates can really ding you. Just think about it not as a card to buy things you can't afford, but as a way to spend less money when you pay your bill in 30 days.
Diane Brant has made my State Farm insurance experience very simple and painless. I've always been able to contact her with any questions I have, and she's been proactive with me in bringing up possible issues, as well as new opportunities to extend my insurance and, more importantly, possible ways to save me extra money. Her office has even gone above and beyond at times; I needed my Vehicle Identification Number to fill out some forms when I was out of town one day and I called and they were very happy to look it up in their records for me. She's certainly earned my loyalty, and my thanks.
The Lehigh Valley Educators Credit Union is hands down the best banking institution I have ever had the pleasure of conducting business with. You get all of the benefits of a big chain bank, with none of the icky feelings, or having to worry about the next policy change that's going to cost you money. Every one I have ever dealt with, from starting my checking account to the last check I deposited, has been knowledgeable, courteous, and extremely competent. Their ATM partnership makes it easy and convenient to access my funds without unneeded surcharges, and they have all the little touches you never knew you always needed from your bank, like free coin counting, partnerships with local businesses, and access to e-banking. The only slight downside is the lack of a mobile app, but that's more of a helpful luxury than any sort of missing necessity. Definitely a small price to pay to avoid all the headaches that went along with my previous banking experiences with the large nationwide banks (or with the smaller banks that always get gobbled up by the bigger ones sooner or later). All in all, I'm proud to bank with the LVECU.