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The most enticing thing about this discover card is the 18 months of zero interest on balance transfers. I took a higher interest chase card and balance transferred saving me over $50 a month! The rewards are not as good as competing cards but what I save in interest charges more than makes up what I would get in rewards.
The bonus attached to this card is absolutely amazing if you have a mortgage through Wells Fargo. Basically you get a cent back for every dollar you spend on normal purchases and 5 cents back on groceries, gas and drug stores. This card isn't like other cash rebates though, the rewards are deposited directly against your standing mortgage balance in $75 increments. Anyone who owns there own home knows how big of a deal this is because the first 5-6 years of paying a mortgage is mostly paying interest. According to Wells Fargo, if you make $1000 in purchases a month on the credit card, you can cut out 8 years on your mortgage. Of course this only works if you have the discipline to pay off the card quickly!
While the Home Depot card has a very high interest rate of 26.9%, it also comes with six months of free interest. It is great if you are remodeling or making other major appliance purchases. It is also good as a "back pocket" card. It's the kind of card that you keep at zero balance but on the off chance that your fridge or washing machine breaks you know you have the means to purchase a new one right away. Plus, you get an extra 10% off appliances when you use the card!
The Chase Sapphire card is very beneficial *if* you frequently travel. For everyone else, it's really just so so. The interest rate is quite high for a top shelf credit card but the rewards have to be recouped from somewhere. Overall, it's very good for business travelers and only so so for everyone else.
Bank of America is a great bank if you live in an area where they are popular but if you ever move watch out! Growing up in Southern California I always had a savings account at Great Western Bank and when it became time for me to get a checking account I also went there. In the 90's Great Western was absorbed by Bank of America and I became a "valued" customer of BoA. All was well until I joined the Air Force and got stationed in Okinawa, Japan. On the west coast I could find Bank of America ATMs everywhere, from the grocery store to Petco Park but on an overseas military base all the ATMs were operated by Community Bank, a division of Bank of America. However, Bank of America did not recognize Community Banks ATMs as their own and charged me a $2 ATM fee every time I withdrew money. Since most Japanese stores did not take American credit/debit cards at the time, I would sometimes see over $40 in ATM fees on a monthly statement! As a young A1C making less than $500 every two weeks, $40 was a brutal charge. After contacting customer service and telling them my dilemma they instructed me to either withdraw a large sum of cash at one time or change my bank. Needless to say, I am no longer a customer for Bank of America.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about USAA, they're great! From the free checking to their outstanding customer service, they are easily the best bank that I have ever used. USAA originated the deposit a check by phone and the customer service reps can always figure a creative way to solve any sort of random problem. The only issue that I have with USAA is lack of brick and mortar establishments since I do not live near a large military area. However, that problem is conveniently solved since a large amount of banking can be done at most UPS stores.
About 10 years ago while stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan I got really fed up with BoA due to their crazy ATM fees. Luckily for me, there was a Pen Fed on base that I promptly switched to. I have since, never looked back. The best thing about Pen Fed is their customer service, any problem that I had was promptly expressed and almost every situation was ratified in a short amount of time. One prime example of this was in 2006, I was stationed in England and needed money quickly to put down a deposit and first months rent on a flat (over $3,000 bucks!) The bank on base (ran by BoA non the less) was going to charge me over $200 in conversion rates and said that the money transfer would take 5 days once I received it. After a short phone call to Pen Fed, I was instructed to go to a bank of base that dealt strictly in pounds and I had my money that day!
After getting a 4% hike in my car insurance policy through my old insurance company, I saw an Esurance commercial on TV and decided to give them a call. From the get go the agent on the phone was extremely helpful and guided me through the fairly quick and painless application process. I was amazed to be quoted a policy that was half of what I was paying! Needless to say, I'm enjoying the extra money. However, I have not had to make a claim with them so I have no rating on how they treat customers at that point.
For a store based card, the Cabela's credit card is actually pretty competitive. Most store cards tend to have exorbitantly high interest rates, sometimes in the 26.9% range and this card has a variable interest rate as low as 9.9%!!! While the rewards are not fantastic, in fact if you do not shop at Cabela's the points scheme is useless, the availability of such a low rate is definitely worth consideration and an application. If you are an avid hunter, fisherman or an outdoorsman in general, the discounts that you can earn at Cabela's will make this card worthwhile!
I love my USAA Master Card! The interest rate is very low, hovering at 10% and I receive impressive rewards. I get at least a 1% payback rate and am supplied with tons of special offers and discounts from all different sorts of retailers. The best thing about USAA has to be how the interest rate is suspended due to a deployment. Whenever I deploy to a combat zone, the interest rate is suspended for a whole year, regardless of the length of the deployment! The interest rate is also reduced to 4% whenever you PCS! This is a must have card for anyone connected with the armed services!