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You know what? I feel bad for anyone out there who needs to build up their credit score but either hasn’t yet come across the Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card or just overlooked it because of its motorcycle branding. I mean, the Harley Davidson Card is the best secured credit card on the market, in my opinion. Here’s why: Background: - Secured credit cards are generally recognized as the best credit building vehicles because they report to the major credit bureaus and tend to have lower fees as well less strict approval criteria than other cards targeted to people with no credit or damaged credit. The reason for that is you’re required to place a refundable security deposit that acts as your credit line, preventing you from spending more than you can afford to pay back and shielding the issuer from risk. - Nevertheless, most secured cards charge tens of dollars in annual fees, and rewards are virtually unheard of in this card segment. -The biggest priority for secured card users is to minimize costs in order to save as much money as possible for when they can actually get attractive rewards and low rates (you often have to pay an annual fee to get the best terms, even when you have excellent credit). Harley Card: - The Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card does not charge an annual fee, which means it offers free credit building. It’s the only secured card issued by a major bank (as opposed to a credit union) that does not charge an annual fee. - The Harley Card also gives you some rewards on each dollar you spend. - U.S. Bank (the issuer of the Harley Davidson Secured Card) will automatically review your account for a potential upgrade after 12 months of responsible use. - You can place a deposit between $300 and $5,000. The ability to essentially give yourself that much available credit (remember, your deposit equals your credit line) means you can boost your credit building efforts at will. Who should use it: Secured cards are generally best for people who haven’t had much experience using credit or who’ve made mistakes in the past. For those in the “inexperienced” bucket, it’s important to note that you might want to check out a good unsecured card for newcomers (such as the Capital One Cash Rewards for Newcomers Card) or a student credit card first and only apply for a secured card if you don’t get approved or want some forced spending discipline. If you have “bad” credit, a secured card is likely your best bet. The only caveat is if you need an emergency line of credit (for example, to pay car bills in order to get to work). The Harley Davidson Card, like most other secured cards, won’t help in that regard because you’re putting down the money for your credit line. The Capital One Secured Card could be of help because it’s a partially secured card, which means the credit line for which you’re approved might exceed your deposit. Otherwise, you’re stuck with an unsecured credit card for bad credit.
Another new prepaid card! And one that doesn’t have a celebrity endorser! Wow, big news. Still, I’m sure a lot of people out there are wondering how the new Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card stacks up (and where the heck they got the name Kaiku), so here’s my two cents. First of all, you have to know how prepaid cards are used in order to determine if one’s any good or not. So, there are basically three ways you can use them: as sort of checking account fill-ins, to give allowances to your kids, and to cash checks in lieu of going to a check cashing store. The Kaiku Card won’t work as a checking account because it charges $0.95 for each monthly bill you want to pay, which together with its $1.95 monthly fee, makes it much more expensive than the GreenDot Prepaid Card, which I believe is the best on the market to use as a checking account. You also can’t load checks directly onto the Kaiku Prepaid Card, so it’s not a good fit for that use. The Kaiku Card would be a good way to give you child his or her allowance though because it has all of the features you need for that purpose (the ability to load money from a bank account, free in-network ATM withdrawals, no purchase fees, no customer service fees, etc.). All things considered, it would actually be cheaper than Suze Orman’s Card, which I saw somewhere is the best financial literacy teaching tool. So I guess the main point you should take from this is that the Kaiku Card is a good card to give your kids, but probably isn’t an ideal fit for you. Or you can just ignore my advice, your choice!
I’ll tell you what, I would feel pretty silly carrying around a Farmville Prepaid Card in my wallet. I mean imagine whipping that out to pay for a meal at a nice restaurant. On the other hand, I always preach evaluating cards on their terms rather than their branding, so I have to practice that. The Farmville prepaid card has very few fees, which might make it immediately more appealing to you than many of the fee-laden cards out there like the Suze Orman Card. But you have to consider how expensive the card would be practically, and if you’re someone who makes a few ATM withdrawals per month, the fees could add up. You only get free ATM withdrawal per month, and after that you’ll likely have to shell out around $4 for each transaction (the Farmville Card’s $2.00 ATM fee, plus an owner surcharge). So, if you are using a prepaid card as a replacement checking account, you can likely find a less expensive option. I like the GreenDot card since it does not charge a monthly fee when you deposit at least $1,000 per month (you could easily meet this requirement by directly depositing your paycheck) and offers free ATM withdrawals. If you’re using the card as a teaching tool for your child, well, the Farmville Card could be a decent choice since it has low fixed costs. I would probably just get them the standard American Express Prepaid Card though because it has the same fees and does not bring the Farmville aspect into things. I would be nervous that my kids would overspend just to earn some stupid in-game rewards. I suppose that could be a quality teaching opportunity though because I would just laugh if they tried to hit me up for more cash! Ultimately, the Farmville Prepaid Debit Card is decent, but that’s not because it’s Farmville branded, it’s because its terms mirror the standard Amex Prepaid Card. The Farmville aspect doesn’t really bring much to the table, aside from the dubious lure of earning virtual rewards on your real money.
Every parent wants to do the best thing for their child’s future, and that entails providing for their education. Ideally, your kids will finish school free of debt and will be able to pursue their dreams without having to take a job purely for financial reasons. That of course necessitates funding some sort of college savings fund, which may have brought you to the Upromise Credit Card. The Upromise card is marketed as a college savings tool, and it’s true that if you could transform the rewards you earn on every purchase into additional money in your account, that would be helpful. But since you could take the rewards you earn with any cash back credit card and deposit them into a college savings fund, you don’t want to sacrifice value for a card that is marketed specifically for college savings. The Upromise Credit Card doesn’t really offer anything unique in the sense that your rewards aren’t automatically deposited into a college savings account. They go to your Upromise account, and you can then deposit them into a 529 plan or a Sallie Mae High Yield Savings Account. That pretty much eliminates convenience as a deciding factor of whether or not to apply for the Upromise Credit Card, so let’s see how its rewards stack up. The Upromise College Savings credit card offers 5% cash back through Upromise’s online shopping mall, but credit card shopping malls tend to have marked up prices to begin with, so this won’t be that practically beneficial. It also offers 4% at participating restaurants, and while this is certainly attractive, how worthwhile it will be for you depends on how many participating restaurants there are in your area. In addition, the card gives you 3% cash back at Exxon or Mobil stations, 2% at movie theaters, and 1% on everything else. You can get more on gas purchases with the PenFed Platinum Card, which offers 5 points per dollar spent on gas at any station as well as 3 points per dollar at supermarkets, but the 2% at movie theaters is pretty good. Ultimately your decision will come down to whether the Upromise Credit Card’s rewards complement your biggest expenses or not. If you spend a lot on dining, movies, and Exxon/Mobile gas it will be pretty lucrative. If not, you should find a different card. Two of my favorite everyday cards are the PenFed Card that I mentioned before and the Blue Cash Preferred from Amex, which gives you 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% at gas stations, and 1% on everything else for a $74 annual fee. If you travel a lot, the Capital One Venture Card is a good choice.
Secured cards are your best option if you want to build credit because they usually have lower fees than credit cards for bad or limited credit (with the exception of student credit cards). The reason why they’re cheaper is they require you to place a refundable security deposit that acts as your credit line and lowers the risk of losing money for your creditor. With that being said, not all secured credit cards are created equal, and while you won’t find rewards or low interest rates on one, you can strive to minimize costs. That’s what you should have in mind when comparing secured cards and evaluating whether or not to apply for the Open Sky Secured Credit Card. Right off the bat, you can tell that the Open Sky Secured Card has a $50 annual fee. That’s not terrible, considering what some other cards charge, but it’s certainly not great. With cards that have lower or no fees, you have the option of building credit without actually making purchases since information is sent to the major credit bureaus regardless and this will reflect positively on you if your account is in good standing. However, you might feel bad paying $50 for something and not using it. The problem is, if you do use the Open Sky Secured Visa, you’re opening yourself up to even higher costs. The card doesn’t have a grace period for new purchases, which means interest will start accruing immediately when you buy something. Ordinarily, interest won’t be assessed until after your next due date. I’d therefore say the Open Sky Card isn’t the best choice. If you’re looking for a secured card, the Capital One Secured Card is a much better option. It only charges a $29 annual fee and has a 25 day grace period for new purchases.
Should you get the Matrix Credit Card or not? That’s kind of like when Neo had to decide whether to take the red or the blue pill, huh? I don’t know whether Continental Finance is trying to attract the sci-fi crowd or whether the Matrix Unsecured Credit Card is at all related to the movie, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. You don’t want to choose a credit card for its branding; it’s not a lunchbox, after all. You need to judge cards on their merits alone, so let’s go ahead and do that. The Matrix Card is for people with bad credit, so its $75 annual fee in somewhat understandable. The other fees it charges aren’t, though. A $12 monthly fee starts being assessed during the second year, and while you may be able to rebuild your credit standing enough to get a credit card for fair credit by then, you might not and you don’t want to end up paying $219 per year for a credit card, especially one that doesn’t offer rewards or low interest rates. You don’t want to pay the $30 fee the Matrix card charges to increase your credit limit by $100 either. The only reason to get an unsecured credit card for bad credit is if you have an emergency and need access to additional credit. Short of this, a secured credit card is a much better choice. Secured cards don’t have the same high fees as unsecured credit cards for bad credit because the refundable security deposit that you place protects issuers from default. The deposit also acts as your credit line, so you can increase your deposit whenever you want for free by simply adding to your deposit. The Orchard Bank Secured Card would have been a good option because it didn’t charge an annual fee during the first year. Unfortunately, after Capital One bought HSBC’s US credit card business, they discontinued this offer. The Capital One Prepaid Card isn’t bad, though; it only charges a $29 annual fee.
I wonder if they put these WalMart Prepaid Cards at the checkout line with all the iTunes gift cards and candy? It certainly seems that’s where the prepaid card market is headed. But since that’s the place in the store where they put things people make quick decisions about whether or not to buy and often spend frivolously, you need to know whether the WalMart Prepaid Card is any good or not. When judging prepaid cards (or any financial products, really), you need to think of how the card will fit in your lifestyle, how you’ll use it, and how expensive it will therefore be. Most people use prepaid cards as replacement checking accounts, and while the fact that the WalMart Card offers free direct deposit makes it well suited to this purpose, its lack of an online bill pay feature does not. Neither does its $2 ATM withdrawal fee. It means you’ll have to pay over $4 (including ATM owner surcharge) just to get ahold of your own money. That fee alone will make the WalMart Prepaid Card more expensive to use than most traditional checking accounts. Plus, if you load less than $1,000 in a month, you’ll have to pay a $3 monthly fee the next month. Ok, so if the Wal-Mart Prepaid Card isn’t a good fit, what is? The GreenDot Prepaid Card is a good choice if you have access to direct deposit because it does not charge a monthly fee during months that you load at least $1,000 in a month. It’s also offers free withdrawals at in-network ATMs. The Chase Liquid Card is good if you can’t use direct deposit because you can just go into any Chase bank branch and load money onto your card for free. It has a $4.95 fee though.
This sounds like something a rapper would crow about, doesn’t it (“I got that SilverCard”)? Anyway, the way rappers spend, I bet they have some pretty good plastic, and that’s what anyone who visits this page wants to know, whether the SilverCard Prepaid MasterCard is any good. As you may know, prepaid cards are usually used by people who either can’t get a checking account or don’t want one for one reason or another. Cost is therefore your main concern when comparing different offers, especially the monthly fee and ATM withdrawal fees. Well, a quick glance at the SilverCard Prepaid Card’s fees should leave you pretty concerned. It charges nearly $10 for activation, $4 per month, $1 for making a purchase that requires you to enter your PIN, and $2 per ATM withdrawal. Furthermore, it charges $2 for live customer service, $4 per month if you don’t use your card for 6 months, and $15 to cancel your account. Wow, what doesn’t the Prepaid SilverCard charge for? This type of fee structure is what you want to avoid when looking for a prepaid card. You see, there are cheap cards out there, you just have to know where to look. The GreenDot Prepaid Card, American Express Prepaid Card, and Chase Liquid Card are good starting points. The GreenDot is free if you load $1,000 per month via direct deposit (e.g. paycheck), the Amex is free if you only make one ATM withdrawal per month, and while the Chase Liquid Card costs nearly $5 per month, it doesn’t charge for much else. Any of these cards would be a far better option than the SilverCard MasterCard Prepaid Card.
So AccountNow has two prepaid cards, a MasterCard and a Visa. The Visa isn’t a very good option because it has a very high monthly load requirement ($2,500) to avoid the nearly $10 monthly fee, you have to pay almost two bucks every time you want to withdraw cash from an ATM, and you have to pay out the you know what if you want to close you account. As far as the AccountNow Prepaid MasterCard is concerned, well, let’s put it under the microscope. Your goal in comparing prepaid cards should be to find the least expensive option for your needs and lifestyle. That means fees should be your top concern (I mean, you’re not going to get much in the way of rewards or anything like that). Well, the Prepaid AccountNow MasterCard doesn’t charge for activation, which is good, but that’s basically where the benefits end. If you got this card, you’d have to pay $9.95 per month, $2.50 for each ATM withdrawal, $0.50 - $1.00 for customer service if you don’t sign up for direct deposit. You also have to pay $15.95 to get a check that will bring your account balance to zero once you close your account. The AccountNow Prepaid MasterCard is therefore even worse than the Visa because you don’t even have the option to avoid the monthly fee. As far as alternatives are concerned, I’d take a look at the GreenDot Prepaid Card, the American Express Prepaid Card, or Chase’s Liquid Card. All can be very inexpensive if used right. The Green Dot will cost you nothing if your directly deposit $1,000 each month and use Green Dot ATMs, the Amex Card is the same if you only make one ATM withdrawal per month, and the Liquid Card costs $4.95 per month but gives you the ability to load money for free at Chase bank branches and withdraw cash for free at Chase ATMs.
I always get a kick out of credit card and prepaid card branding. Prepaid cards are often used by people who can’t get approved for a traditional checking account, so it makes perfect sense that there is a prepaid card called the AccountNow Prepaid Visa. The name alone seems to satisfy a major need for the target audience. But simply being able to get a prepaid card isn’t your only consideration, you should strive to minimize costs too. (Another reason people get prepaid cards is that they want a cheaper checking alternative in the face of new bank fees). Does the Account Now Prepaid Card allow you to minimize fees? That is indeed the question and it unfortunately does not have a positive answer. First of all, the AccountNow Visa Card charges almost $5 for activation, and a lot of its competitors don’t charge anything at all. While it doesn’t have a monthly fee, it does charge $2.50 for each ATM withdrawal, $1 per purchase, $1 for live customer support, $0.50 for automated customer support (I mean, c’mon!), and a $15.95 check fee to bring your balance to zero when you want to close your account. That’s just ridiculous. You have to pay for everything with this card, and it’s obvious how quickly this annoying little costs can add up. Now, if the AccountNow Prepaid Visa Card offered the best terms on the market, that would be one thing, but it doesn’t by a long shot. The GreenDot Prepaid Card can be free to use if you load $1,000 per month (i.e. your paycheck), the same goes for the American Express Prepaid Card if you don’t need to withdraw cash more than once a month. The new Chase Liquid Card is fairly cheap as well, only $4.95 per month. In light of these fees, I’d say not now to the AccountNow Visa Prepaid Card.
So, here’s the million dollar question: Is there any upside to opening the UPside Prepaid Debit Card? It all depends on the fees, baby. Prepaid Cards are generally used as fill-ins for normal checking accounts, and no one likes to waste their hard earned money on fees for the accounts they store it in (actually one of the main reasons people gravitate toward cards like the UPside Prepaid Card). Well, the Upside Prepaid Card doesn’t charge for activation, which is a more than a lot of prepaid cards can say. The monthly fee is tricky; you either pay $0.99 if you load $500 or more or $4.95 otherwise. I’m not quite sure why the good folks at Upside charge a buck if you meet their monthly load requirement, seems like there’d be more upside in making it free, but oh well. Moving on, the fact that purchases are free isn’t all that special since most prepaid cards (at least the good ones) don’t charge for that anyway. A lot offer free ATM withdrawals (at least in-network) which is more than the Upside Prepaid VISA can claim; it charges $1.95 for every withdrawal. Furthermore, it charges for both live and automated customer service which is just a joke. It’s beginning to look like you’ll need some alternatives to the Upside Prepaid card, huh? I recommend the GreenDot Prepaid Card, the American Express Prepaid Card, or even the Chase Liquid Card instead. The GreenDot Card is free if you deposit at least $1k per month, which shouldn’t be a problem if you sign up for direct deposit of your paycheck. The Amex Card is free as long as you only make one monthly ATM withdrawal (you don’t get any for free with the Upside Card). And the Chase Liquid only costs $4.95 per month. Ultimately, we just have to conclude that the Upside Prepaid Card got things a bit upside down, and if things were turned upside down, it wouldn’t be one of the best prepaid cards on the market. Let’s stay right side up, though.
When I think of Western Union, I think of being able to get money fairly fast when I really need it. It makes sense that they have their own prepaid card then since prepaid cards are usually used by people who need a place to put their money, either because they want to escape new bank fees or because they can’t get a bank account. Nevertheless, you have to make sure that the Western Union Prepaid Card doesn’t take money from you fast (at least compared to the competition), and that necessitates checking out its fees and how it fits in the prepaid card market hierarchy. The first thing I notice about the Western Union Prepaid MasterCard is how much is free. There’s no activation fee, no monthly fee, no purchase fee, and no fee for customer support. When you look closer, though, you see how quickly costs can mount. The Western Union Prepaid Debit Card charges $1.95 for every ATM withdrawal, making getting cash prohibitively expensive. It also charges you up to $25 to get money from your account back when you close it and $2.50 per month if you don’t use your card for 13 months straight. Those fees pretty much defeat the purpose of getting a checking account, so it’s a better idea to check out cards like the GreenDot Prepaid Card or the American Express Prepaid Card than the WesternUnion Prepaid Card. The GreenDot Card is free as long as you do direct deposit for your monthly paycheck and the Amex Card is free as long as you only make one ATM withdrawal per month.
I like the Chase Liquid Prepaid Card’s branding a lot. It’s got a sleek look and a catchy name that reminds people of water (which is calming) and cash (which we all obviously love), but you shouldn’t open any card for its branding. You want it to save or make you the most money possible; that will make you far happier than having a pretty card that hurts your wallet. Anyway, let’s see if Chase’s first prepaid card is more than just a pretty face. The first thing that strikes me about the Chase Liquid Card (besides its look of course) is the small number of fees that it charges. Besides the $4.95 monthly fee, you won’t really get charged for much. Chase ATM withdrawals are free, customer service is free, there’s no inactivity fee or anything. From what I’ve seen prepaid cards are best used as fill-ins for checking accounts or to teach kids how to handle money. I wouldn’t use the Liquid Card as a checking account because the Orchard Bank Prepaid Card is free if you load something like $1,000 a month. The Liquid Card doesn’t allow you to escape the monthly fee, and it doesn’t have a bill pay option as far as I’ve seen. Using it for teaching your child isn’t a bad idea though because kids aren’t going to deposit that much anyway. Bottom line, the Chase Liquid Prepaid Card is an interesting offer because it’s likely to be one of the first big bank prepaid cards introduced in the coming months, and it’s interesting to see whether the offers the big boys come up with can compete with the top dogs already in the prepaid card market. Also it will be interesting to see whether Chase adds a way to escape the Liquid Card’s fees to let it compete more with the Orchard Card.
Out of the three travel rewards credit cards that Bank of America just launched, this is the option geared toward small business owners (obviously). To get a true sense of this card’s place in the business credit card hierarchy, I think it’s important to remember that BofA is the only credit card company that abides by the rules of the CARD Act, at least as far as interest rates are concerned. Other companies can raise your interest rates on debt you haven’t paid off yet whenever they want. Bank of America only does that if you miss two payments. The advice I’ve seen based on this is that you can either use a single Bank of America business credit card for small business or a standard credit card for funding and a business card for making smaller purchases and earning rewards. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business Visa Credit Card. It doesn’t have an annual fee, which is nice, gives you 1.5 points per dollar you charge and 5,000 bomus points after your first purchase, and has 0% on purchases for 9 months. As far as rewards are concerned, the WorldPoints Travel Rewards Business Credit Card doesn’t really compare to some of the other business cards out there. I mean, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business gives you 2% cash back on all purchases and a $100 initial bonus, and sure, it has a $59 annual fee beginning in the second year, but you can recoup that after spending $2950. The Ink Cash Business Card from Chase is another great option since it offers a $250 initial bonus, 5% cash back on the first $25k you spend on office supplies and telecom, 3% on the first $25k spent on gas and dining, and 1% on everything else. Like the BofA WorldPoints Travel Card, it doesn’t have an annual fee either. Overall, I’d say get the WorldPoints Travel Rewards Business Visa if you want the simplicity of using one card for business, but you can get a whole lot more value with the Ink Cash for Business and a 0% card like the Citi Simplicity.
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card is I guess the standard option in Bank of America’s new suite of travel rewards credit cards (I mean the other consumer card has Privileges in the name and the WorldPoints Card is for business). Anyway if you’re looking for a travel rewards credit card, you need to figure out whether the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card is going to be the most rewarding option in light of your spending habits and interests (you don’t want a card that gives you hotel rewards if you never stay at hotels). As you can see from the top of this page, the Travel Rewards BankAmericard gives you a 10,000 point initial bonus. I looked at the terms and conditions page, and you get these if $500 in purchases post to your account within the first 90 days. You also get 1.5 points per dollar spent across all purchases, which you can ultimately redeem for travel purchases that appear on your statement. (You can also redeem for cash, merchandise and charitable contributions, but I don’t know if you get the same value that way). Aside from the 0% on purchases the BofA Travel Rewards Card offers, that’s basically it for its benefits. You also get 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchased through BofA, but prices are usually jacked up on credit card travel programs, so I doubt this is much of a benefit. When you get down to it, this new Bank of America Travel Credit Card is decent. Whether it’s the right card for you depends. The Capital One Venture Card is a better option for people who want a card for just one year or who spend a lot on travel because it offers 2 miles for every $1 but has a $59 annual fee starting in the second year (the Travel BankAmericard doesn’t have an annual fee). If you want the best possible initial bonus, I’d go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500). And if you don’t travel that much or always use the same airline or hotel chain, I’d get the Blue Cash Preferred Amex or the card tied to your favorite travel provider. Aside from that, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card is a good option, so get it if you travel a moderate amount and won’t be able to earn enough with another card to warrant paying its annual fee. I’d love to see what Won Buddy Lee has to say about this card too!
Bank of America is giving the people what they want: travel rewards. Travel rewards cards are some of the flashiest and most sought after cards issuers offer and BofA launched THREE new offers in ONE day. That’s a lot to digest, but I’ll give breaking down these offers a whirl, starting with the BankAmericard Privileges with Travel Rewards Credit Card. Don’t thank me, it’s my PRIVILEGE (ha, I crack myself up). The BankAmericard Privileges Card is obviously focused on travel rewards, as I’m sure you can tell from its name. It doesn’t offer any 0% introductory interest rates either. It does give you two rewards points for each dollar you spend across all purchases and lets you redeem them for travel purchase made anywhere rather than forcing you to redeem them through a BofA rewards site or something. You might think this seems eerily similar, and you’d be right. Tha Capital One Venture Card offers basically the same rewards program, right down to the 10,000 point initial bonus. Unlike the Venture Card though, the Privileges BankAmericard charges a $75 annual bonus beginning in the second year, while the Venture Card only charges $59. As you might guess, I am still a bigger fan of the Venture Card as far as ongoing rewards are concerned. Neither boxes you in in terms of logistics, though, which is nice. Finally, let me say that if you want a card that will help you benefit this summer, I wouldn’t choose either the Bank of America Travel Rewards Privileges Card or the Venture Card. I’d probably pick the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card instead.
If you have bad credit, like Margie said, you want a card that allows you to build back your credit and save as much money as possible. I mean you don’t want to repeat past mistakes that led you to miss payments and that kind of stuff. You also don’t want to overspend, so if you’re concerned about that, you want to find a way to force some discipline on your card use. Unfortunately for the Credit One Platinum Credit Card, all signs therefore seem to point to a secured credit card. Here’s why: The Credit One Platinum Card charges a $75 annual fee during the first year, so by opening it, you’ll have $75 less dollars to make payments or spend on a really lucrative card when you get excellent credit. Also not all of the cards that you can get when you have bad credit charge such annual fees, so you’re really just wasting dough if you get this Credit One Card. What’s more, this is an unsecured card, which means the approval criteria will be a bit stricter than with secured cards and if you have significantly damaged credit you might not get it. The only good thing about the Platinum Credit One Card is that you can get a credit line up to $1500 so if you need an additional line of credit to cover unextend expenses, it could come in handy. Short of that, I’d go with the Green Dot Prepaid Card. It doesn’t charge an annual fee in the first year, and that’s all you need to build up enough credit to get a decent unsecured card without a fee. You will however have to place a security deposit that acts as your credit line, so while you will set your own spending power, you won’t get access to cash that you don’t already have.
We as consumers must not have done very much for Citi lately because their thank you seems to be a bit lacking. I mean 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers is pretty good, but Citi itself offers three different cards that give you 0% on both for 18 months. And if you want a really good balance transfer card, you’ll probably opt for the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase, which offers 0% for 15 months. Moving on to rewards, the Citi Thank You Credit Card gives you 1 point per dollar spent across all purchases, which isn’t competitive to say the least. This ThankYou Citicard, which requires excellent credit for approval by the way, doesn’t offer an initial bonus either. So semi long story short, I wouldn’t open the Citi ThankYou Card. What would I get? Well, my favorite cards are probably the aforementioned Slate Card, the Chase Sapphire Card ($500 travel oriented initial bonus), the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard and Diamond Preferred Card (0% for 18 months), and the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express (great everyday rewards). If you get the right ones of these for your needs, youre in a much better situation than if you get this Citi ThankYou Card. (Note: There are a few different Citi ThankYou Cards, and while the others offer some value via modest initial bonuses, they aren’t too great either).
The last time I took a look at the Chase Ink Cash Business Credit Card, it only offered 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months, which wasn’t very competitive. Chase has obviously upped the ante with its revamped Ink Cash offer since it now offers 0% for 12 months. Since business credit cards don’t have the same protection against random interest rate increases as personal credit cards, having a year of an assured 0% rate would be helpful for a small business owner looking to use a single credit card for business spending and funding. It also lets people who want to do a balance transfer make purchases with their card without wasting a bunch of dough on interest that comes from not having a grace period (when you revolve a balance you don’t have one!). If I were in the market for small business cards, I still think I’d go with the Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards and either the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card or one of the Citicards offering 0% for 18 months, depending on if I wanted to transfer a balance or just avoid interest on new purchases, instead of the Ink Cash. The Ink Bold just offers better rewards and the others are personal cards with way longer 0% rates than the Ink Cash. Whichever way you turn though, it’s clear that Chase is sure stepping up its game and is a major player in the low interest and business card areas. I bet my man Won Buddy Lee is loving it, isn’t that right?
The Washington Redskins recently made a big splash, trading up in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft presumably to get Robert Griffin III. But is this going to be the only big move made in regards to the Skins. Course not, as there are sure to be a couple free agent signings in the near future and all this excitement swirling around the team might lead to a number of fans considering the Washington Redskins Extra Points Credit Card. I’ll leave the free agent signings to Bruce Allen, Shanny, and all the media “experts” (though Vincent Jackson and Mario Manningham would sure seem like good fits); however, the issue of the Redskins Credit Card is one I can weigh in on quite a bit more. Whether or not the Skins Extra Points Card makes sense for you depends on a number of things, namely what exactly it offers and how well these terms fit your spending habits. Beginning with rewards, the Redskins Credit Card offers 20,000 bonus points after your first purchase (worth $200), 20% off NFLShop.com purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. As far as rates are concerned, the Redskins Credit Card offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, but charges a 3% balance transfer fee. So is the Redskins Extra Points Card good? Yes, it’s decent, but whether or not it’s good for you is another story entirely. You have to consider what this card offers that is unique compared to the competition, all other credit cards that require good or excellent credit for approval. Well, it’s not the initial bonus since the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers $500-625 if you spend at least $3,000 during the first three months. It’s not the ongoing rewards either because any number of cards can beat 1% (some of my favorites are the Capital One Venture Card and the Blue Cash Everyday Amex). The rates wont get it done either in light of the fact that the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and doesn’t charge a transfer fee. So it appears that only the 20% off at NFL Shop makes the Redskins Card unique (well, as unique as you can get when every NFL team’s credit card offers the same terms). If you consistently spend a lot at NFLShop.com, then the Skins Credit Card could be good for you. Otherwise, you’d be overpaying for branding and well served getting one of the alternatives mentioned above.
Sorry, Cleveland, you aren’t going to get RGIII. Matt Flynn, Colt McCoy, or Ryan Tannehill it is. Whether you’re excited about those guys (and not going up a ton to get an unproven college player) or need some retail therapy to cope, you might be interested in opening the Cleveland Browns Extra Points Credit Card. However, just like people say you shouldn’t bet on your own team because emotions cloud judgment, you need to be careful about overpaying for branding, especially since you could personalize the entire front of any Capital One Credit Card with the picture of your choosing. In other words, you shouldn’t get the Cleveland Browns Credit Card because it’s the Cleveland Browns Credit Card; you should get it if it’s the best card available. You’re drafting for value here, not hype. Taking a look at what the Browns Credit Card has to offer, it gives you a $200 initial bonus, 20% off every purchase at NFLShop.com, 1% cash back on everything else, and 0% on balance transfers for 15 months (3% balance transfer fee). So is that value? Well, the Browns Card’s initial bonus is bested by the $500-625 offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Its base cash back rate is worse than the 1.5% across all purchases offered by the Capital One Cash Rewards Card and the 2% you get from the Cap One Venture Card as long as you redeem miles for travel. It’s 0% intro rate isn’t as good as the 0% on purchases and transfers offered by the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase. Only the 20% discount it gets you at NFLShop.com makes it stand out, so only get the Cleveland Browns Credit Card if you spend a ton at NFLShop.com. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it.
So will Randy Moss be decked out in purple and black this season or what? That’s the scuttlebutt at least. Maybe Bisciotti will even make a run at Peyton so as to take full advantage of an aging defense? While that last notion isn’t very likely, if you’re a Ravens fan, it’s a bit more likely that you’ll consider opening the Baltimore Ravens Extra Points Credit Card. Be careful here, though, you don’t want to overpay for credit card branding. That means you need to impartially judge what the Ravens Rewards Card has to offer. Starting with its rewards, the Ravens Credit Card gives you 20,000 bonus points (worth $200) after your first purchase, 1% cash back across all purchases, and 20% off purchases at NFLShop.com. In evaluating this rewards program, consider what stands out and what does not. The initial bonus, while nice, is not nearly the best on the market. Neither is the 1% cash back rate. The only truly unique factor in the 20% off at NFLShop.com, so if you are a heavy spender there, it would be a pretty good option for you. Moving on to rates, the Ravens Extra Points Card gives you 0% on balance transfers for 15 months and charges a 3% balance transfer fee. Again, this is decent but not the best among credit cards for good or excellent credit, which is what it’d take to get the Ravens Credit Card. For most people, options are now in order. If you want a good initial bonus I’d go for the $500-625 offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you want good ongoing rewards, the Capital One Venture card or the Blue Cash Everyday Amex are nice. Finally, if you’re in search of low rates, the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase is the way to go.
Man, I bet a bar association credit card could buy a heck of a lot of drinks. Oh, wait…it’s not that kind of bar...it’s lawyers. Oh, well, still applies. That awful lawyer joke I made up as I was writing it aside, if you’re an American Bar Association member, you might be interested in showing your affiliation by getting an American Bar Association Business Credit Card. You shouldn’t really think of it as the American Bar Association Business Credit Card though; think of it instead as Credit Card X and evaluate it based on its terms rather than its name. In other words, you don’t want to overpay for credit card branding. Starting with rewards, the American Bar Association Business Card offers 1 rewards point per $1 spent. That’s it. Moving on to rates, the Bar Association Business Card gets you 0% on purchases for 9 months. That’s it. As you can probably tell, I’m not wild about the Bar Association Card. At this point you might be thinking, “what are you talking about, it gives you rewards and a 0% intro rate, what more could you ask for?” First of all, you don’t want to settle for an average overall card because it meets two needs. It would be much smarter to get a rewards card for everyday spending and a 0% card for saving on big ticket purchases or transferring debt. You’d get better terms overall that way. Also, there are simply way better cards that you can get with the good or excellent credit you need to get the Bar Association Credit Card. What are those cards, you ask? Well, if you want rewards, I’d go with the business credit card offering the best terms of your biggest expenses. The Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards and the American Express Simply Cash Card are pretty good options. If you want low rates, I’d go with the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase, which offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and does not charge a transfer fee. Yes, that is a personal credit card, that is intentional. You aren’t put at any additional risk by using a personal credit card and get to benefit from the fact that issuers cannot increase interest rates on personal credit card unless you’re at least 60 days delinquent.
Bookstores these days aren’t just about books. In order to keep up with technological progress, they also offer CD’s, DVDs, gift cards, and often even full service cafes. It’s therefore not hard to imagine how someone could wind up spending quite a bit of coin at their local Barnes & Noble, which makes you wonder how beneficial the Barnes & Noble Credit Card would be. The only way to answer that is to take a closer look at what exactly it offers. Starting with rewards, the Barnes & Noble Card offers a $25 gift card after your first purchase, 5% points for every dollar spent on Barnes & Noble Purchases, and one point per dollar spent on everything else. For every 25,000 Barnes and Noble Points you accrue, you get a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card. In other words, the most you can expect to get from the Barnes and Noble Card’s rewards is $25 for every $5,000 you spend. Moving on to rewards, the Barnes & Noble Card gives you a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, but charges a 3% balance transfer fee and does not offer a low intro rate on new purchases. All in all, I’d say it’s time to turn the page on the Barnes & Noble Credit Card. There are simply better alternatives for people with good or excellent credit, which is what it takes to get the B&N Credit card. To name a couple, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card gives you $500-625 for spending $3,000 in the first three months and the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Card offers 5% cash back on gas purchased at any station. The No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card also gives you 0% on both purchase and transfers for 15 months and as it name suggests does not charge a balance transfer fee.
Diamondback fans have gotta be wondering, will Trevor Bauer make the opening day rotation or assume a role in it shortly thereafter and would the Arizona Diamondbacks Credit Card make a good addition to your wallet? As far as Bauer is concerned, he’ll have to work for it, but he should soon join Hudson and Kennedy in the rotation. Deciding whether or not to get the Diamondbacks Credit Card depends on what exactly it offers since you do not want to overpay for branding, especially when you can personalize the entire front side of any Capital One credit card with the picture of your choosing and effectively turn it into a Diamondbacks Credit Card. The Diamondbacks Credit Cards rewards are as follows: 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries and 1% on everything else and a 10% rewards bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America bank account. In terms of rates, the Diamondbacks Card offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months but charges a 4% balance transfer fee. The rewards offered by the Diamondbacks Credit Card are pretty good, especially if you already have or can get a free Bank of America bank account. However, most people probably spend more on groceries than they do on gas, so for them the Blue Cash Everyday Card from Amex would be better since it offers 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores and 1% on everything else. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also offers a $500-625 initial bonus, which makes it a good option. The rates offered by the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase are also attractive. It gives you 0% on purchases and transfers for the same 15 months as the Diamondbacks Credit Card but does not charge any transfer fee. Depending on the size of your transferred balance, this could save you a bundle.
There are two questions Cards fans who arrive at this page likely have in mind right now: 1) will we sign Peyton Manning and 2) Would getting the Arizona Cardinals Extra Points Credit Card be a good move? As far as the first question is concerned, I don’t think you sign an expensive veteran a year after selling the farm for a big-time prospect at the same position. No, I see Peyton as being more likely to land in Miami or maybe even New York as a Jet. Moving to the second question, you never want to overpay or waste credit card potential for branding alone, so we need to consider what the Cardinals credit Card offers and how this stacks up against the terms offered by other cards that require good or excellent credit for approval. The Cards Card offers 20,000 bonus points after your first purchase, 1% cash back on all purchases, 20% off at NFLShop.com, and the ability to redeem for exclusive NFL experiences and products, like Super Bowl sideline passes and stuff like that. It also gives you 0% on balance transfers for 15 months but charges a 3% balance transfer fee. The rewards offered by the Cardinals Credit Card are decent and in fact great for the heaviest of NFLShop.com spenders. For most people, however, you’re going to get more value from a card offering either a significant initial bonus or ongoing rewards tied to big expense categories. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers an initial bonus worth either $500 cash or $625 in airfare and hotel accommodations, which could sure come in handy when traveling to away games. The same can be said for the Capital One Venture Card, which basically gives you 2% cash back across all purchases as long as you redeem your miles for travel related expenses. The cool thing about Capital One cards is that you can personalize their entire front with the picture of your choosing, so you can turn any one into an Arizona Cardinals Credit Card of sorts. If low rates are what you’re after, go for the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase because, like the Cardinals Credit Card, it offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months, but unlike the Cardinals Credit Card, also offers 0% on purchases for 15 months and does not charge a balance transfer fee.
Hey, I’ll tell ya what this is one credit card with some Natitude. While I’m certainly an entrenched Yankees fan, I can appreciate the fact that the Nationals are poised for big things, I’m just mad we didn’t keep Tyler Clippard. Anyway, you’re here because you want to see if the Nationals Credit Card is worth applying for and the biggest concern you should have is about overpaying for branding. Basically you don’t want to sacrifice money or card terms just to have a Nats symbol emblazoned on your card, especially since you can make that happen for free with any Capital One credit card. That being said lets take a gander at what the Washington Nationals Credit Card has to offer. Starting with rewards, the Nats Credit Card gives you 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries and 1% on everything else. You also get a 10% rewards bonus if you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America bank account. How does this stack up to the rest of the good or excellent credit credit card market? Pretty well, actually. The Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card, which is one of the best everyday rewards cards, offers 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% on everything else. I guess which one is better depends on whether you spend more on groceries or gas and how much you spend at department stores. As far as rates are concerned, the Nationals Credit Card offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 12 months but charges a 4% balance transfer fee. This does not compare favorably to the likes of the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase, which doesn’t have a transfer fee and gives 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months. Ultimately, I’d probably have to take both alternatives to the Nationals Credit Card instead of it because unlike a Stephen Strasburg fastball, it doesn’t blow me away. See you guys in June.
For all you O’s fans out there, its unfortunately pretty clear that your team is going to be, well, terrible this year and for the foreseeable future. After all, the destructive management is still in place and ESPN did pick the O’s last in its future rankings. What remains to be seen however is whether the Baltimore Orioles Credit Card is doomed for the same fate or could be a home run, so to speak. Usually I’d take you through the Orioles Credit Cards’ terms before revealing the answer, but I sympathize with you guys so I’ll tell you now. The Orioles Rewards Card has the same terms as all of the other MLB-team-branded credit cards and while pretty good they are not necessarily the best available for people with good or excellent credit (what the O’s Credit Card and other teams’ cards require for approval). Here, I’ll show you why. The Orioles Card offers 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries and 1% on everything else. Compare this to a card like the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express, which offers 3% at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores, and 1% on everything else and it doesn’t quite stack up. I mean I suppose the O’s card could be better for people who spend more on gas than groceries and never shop at department stores, especially people with Bank of America bank accounts because the MLB Team credit cards give you a 10% rewards bonus when you deposit your cash back into one. At any rate, I’d probably take the Chase Sapphire Preferred over the Orioles Card because the former gives you a $500-625 initial bonus. The difference between the Orioles Credit Card’s rates and those of the best good or excellent credit credit cards is even more obvious. The Orioles Card offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 12 months but also charges a 4% balance transfer fee. The No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card, on the other hand, obviously doesn’t charge any sort of fee for transfers and offers 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. On other thing to point out is that if Orioles branding is all you’re looking for, any Capital One credit card allows you to customize the front of your card with the picture of your choosing, so you can of course slap an O’s logo or picture on there. That’d sure look good payin a tab at Pickles.
If you’re an American Legion member, have played for an American Legion summer ball team, or are simply a supporter of the organization, you might want to get the American Legion Credit Card. However, there’s a very important question you must ask yourself before deciding whether or not to apply: Are you overpaying for branding? In other words, does the American Legion Card donate money to the American Legion, either your rewards or a portion of American Legion Credit Card sales, and if so, are these rewards better than what you could donate yourself with another card. The first step in answering this question is to see what rewards it offers. The American Legion Rewards Card gives you 2,500 bonus points after your initial purchase as well as 1 point for every dollar you spend. Points are redeemable for flights at a 1% clip, for gift cards at a 0.71% rate, and for cash at a 0.83% rate. USAA, the American Legion Card’s issuer, also donates a portion of every purchase you make to the American Legion. Without knowing exactly how much gets donated, it is impossible tell whether this is the best card for giving back to the American Legion. It’s clear though that it does not offer competitive rewards as far as you are concerned. What about rates? The American Legion Rewards Card does not offer a low introductory rate on purchases, but gives you 0% on balance transfers for 12 months. Since this is not competitive either, you need alternatives. The Chase Sapphire Card is actually a great option for people who want to donate money to a good cause. It offers a $500 initial bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months. The Capital One Cash Card is good for ongoing donations since it gives you 1.5% cash back across all purchases. You can also personalize the front of any Cap One card with any picture you’d like, which means you can turn them into American Legion branded cards. The best card for people who want low rates is the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase.
There’s no question that the ASPCA is a great cause. In case you didn’t know, ASPCA stands for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and as a big time animal lover (especially dogs!), I’m all for giving them as much dough as possible. But is the ASPCA Credit Card the right tool with which to do so. In other words, how do the ASPCA Credit Card’s rewards compare to other credit cards that require good or excellent credit for approval. While charity credit cards automatically send donations to their affiliated organization, most credit cards give you the option of donating rewards earnings and even if they don’t, you can simply donate the cash gleaned from a credit card rewards program yourself. Your goal, after all, is providing the ASPCA with the most money possible. So, starting with rewards, the ASPCA Rewards Card offers 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back on groceries up to $1,500 spent in these categories quarterly as well as 1% on everything else. You also get a 10% cash back bonus when you redeem rewards earnings into a Bank of America bank account. Unfortunately, though, the ASPCA Card does not appear to have anything to do with the ASPCA other than branding. BofA, the card’s issuer, doesn’t seem to donate any portion of card sales to the organization and your rewards aren’t automatically donated or anything else. While the ASPCA Rewards Credit Card offers decent rewards overall, there are better cards out there. The same holds true for its rates; the ASPCA Card only gives you 0% on purchases for 12 months and does not offer a low intro rate on balance transfers. So alternatives are in order. If you want to give a lot to the ASPCA in the short term, the Chase Sapphire Card is the way to go since it offers a $500 initial bonus. Depending on your spending habits, the Capital One Cash Rewards Card (1.5% cash back across all purchases) or the Blue Cash Everyday from Amex (3% at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores and 1% everywhere else with no earning limit) are great options for ongoing donations. The good thing about getting a Capital One Card is that you can customize the entire front of your card with a picture of your choosing, which means you can turn any Capital One Card into a makeshift ASPCA Card if you so choose. Finally, if you want to get low rates, the No Balance Transfer Slate Card is the best choice.
Hey, Saints Credit Card, I’ll give you $10,000 if you knock the Vikings Credit Card out of the credit card game! Sorry, too easy. Jokes aside, if you’re a Saints fan, you might be interested in opening the New Orleans Saints Extra Points Credit Card, regardless of the whole bounty scandal going on right now. But is it worth opening? Let’s find out. The Saints Credit Card offers 20,000 points after first purchase (redeemable for exclusive experiences or $200), 1% cash back across all purchases, 20% cash back at NFLSHOP.com, and access to tickets, sidelines passes, and NFL experiences. It also offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months. Sounds pretty good, huh? Sure, but you have to consider two things when deciding whether or not to get the Saints Credit Card (or any credit card for that matter): what the competition has to offer and how lucrative each card would be in terms of your spending habits. Since the Saints Card requires good or excellent credit for approval, you have to compare it to other such cards, many of which offer much better rates and rewards. This will prove true for all but the biggest NFLShop.com patrons, as the 20% off there is the only truly unique thing about the New Orleans Saints Card. For those of you who do not meet this profile, here are some alternatives to the Saints Rewards Card. If you want a great initial bonus, go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500-625). If you want good ongoing rewards, I like the Capital One Venture Card (2% cash back on all purchases if you redeem for travel) and the Blue Cash Everyday Amex (3% at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores, 1% everywhere else). If you want gas rewards, I’d go with the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Card (5% cash back on gas at any station). Finally, if you want a low rate, the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and does not have a balance transfer fee (obviously). Any of these cards are preferable to the Saints Credit Card.
Some news became final today that will surely make Buffalo Bills fans happy: the team signed WR Stevie Johnson to a long-term deal, keeping him from hitting the free agent market and potentially signing with another team. But will it be two pieces of good news in one day for those of you interested in the Buffalo Bills Extra Points Credit Card or will the offer not stack up against the competition, leading you to become a credit card free agent? Let’s see what it’s got. Starting with rewards, the Buffalo Bills Credit Card offers 20,000 bonus points after your first purchase (good for $200), up to 20% off at NFLShop.com, exclusive access to tickets, sideline passes, and NFL experiences, and 1% on everything else. Moving on to rewards, while the Bills Credit Card does not offer a low introductory interest rate on purchases, it does give you 0% on balance transfers for 15 months (3% balance transfer fee). So is that good? It can be difficult to evaluate a credit card in a vacuum because so much depends on what other cards offer. Ultimately, though, the Buffalo Bills Card is decent but should not be a top choice for people with good or excellent credit (which is what it takes to get it) simply because there are better offers out there. Speaking of those offers, let’s talk alternatives to the Bills Credit Card. If you want a rewards card with a great initial bonus, I’d go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred since it gives you $625 in travel or $500 in cash for spending $3,000 in the first three months. The Capital One Venture Card offers good ongoing rewards for travelers since it basically offers 2% cash back as long as you redeem miles for travel. Finally, the Amex Blue Cash Everyday is great for everyday spending since it offers 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores and 1% cash back on everything else. As far as rates are concerned, the best card on the market is currently the No Balance Transfer Slate Card from Chase since it offers 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and doesn’t have a transfer fee. Any of these cards would be better than the Extra Points Buffalo Bills Card, but don’t worry, it’s not like this is an indictment of the Bills; all NFL team credit cards have the same terms.
Who wants a standard credit card? I mean in a time when most credit cards have words like “platinum” “gold” “preferred” and “accelerated” sprinkled in their official titles, “standard” just seems so unappealing. But perhaps that’s the genius of the Bank of the West Standard Credit Card; it seperates itself from the pack and gives you something to think about. I could also be reading into things way, way too much, but let’s see whether the Bank of the West Standard Card separates itself from the pack as far as its terms are concerned. Unfortunately, the card gets off to a bad start given that it doesn’t offer any rewards. Then again, you only want to use a credit card for one purpose (e.g. getting the best rewards or the lowest interest rates) so the lack of freebies could certainly be made up for by some good rates. Alas, it’s not meant to be. The only thing that the Bank of the West Standard MasterCard Credit Card has to offer in the rates department is a 0% intro APR on new purchases. It doesn’t offer a low introductory rate in balance transfers and has a 20.99% regular APR. For a card that requires excellent approval, this Standard MasterCard sure doesn’t give much back in return. You obviously need some other options, so starting with rewards, three cards to check out are the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500-625 initial bonus), the Capital One Venture Card (2% cash back across all purchases when you redeem miles for travel), and the Blue Cash Everyday Card from Amex (3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores and 1% on everything else). When you’re talking about interest rates, my favorite card is currently the no balance transfer Slate Card from Chase, which gives you 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and does not charge a balance transfer fee (most cards charge 3%). All of these cards are much better than the Bank of the West Standard MasterCard and you can qualify for all of them with the same excellent credit needed to get the Standard Card.
It’s interesting that a prepaid card would be called the Bank Freedom Prepaid MasterCard because one of the main reasons people use prepaid cards is to escape fees that may have recently been added to their checking accounts (i.e. to get freedom from their bank). At any rate, why don’t we see whether the Bank Freedom Prepaid Card is worth running to or not. The most important thing to look at when evaluating a prepaid card is its fees, and while the Bank Freedom Prepaid MasterCard does not have many, they are important. First of all, if you don’t load at least $500 on the Bank Freedom Card in a given month, you’ll have to pay a $5 monthly fee. In addition, ATM withdrawals will run you $2.50 a pop. There are no fees for live customer service, transactions, inactivity, or activation. So how does it measure up? Well, the $500 minimum load requirement to avoid a monthly fee is pretty standard and as long as you sign up for direct deposit for your paycheck, you should be able to meet it. However, the $2.50/withdrawal ATM fee is problematic. It makes the card inferior to the competition when used at a replacement checking account because the likes of the Green Dot Prepaid Card offer free withdrawals at over 18,000 in-network ATMs. The Bank Freedom Prepaid MasterCard doesn’t fit in the other main niche prepaid cards have carved out for themselves either (i.e. financial literacy teaching tool) because the allowance you load on a prepaid card for your child’s allowance is probably not going to be in the $500 range. As a result, the Amex Prepaid Card will be a cheaper option. All in all, the Bank Freedom Prepaid Card is a decent option, but key shortcomings hold it back from being a good one.
Trying to decide whether the BBVA Compass ClearPoints Credit Card is right for you? Well, the only compass that will truly point you in the right direction is an evaluation of the cards terms in light of what the competition has to offer. So, I guess I’ll play compass for a minute. Starting with rewards, the BBVA Compass ClearPoints Credit Card gives you 1 point for every $1 you spend. Unfortunately, this is basically the bare minimum a rewards card can offer, so the ole compass is pointing away from the BBVA Compass ClearPoints Card right about now. You can’t always get an accurate reading at first glance though, so why don’t we see what kind of interest rates it has to offer. Well, it does offer 0% on purchases for six months, which is on the low end of the 0% spectrum but is still better than all those cards out there that do not offer a low intro rate. The BBVA Clear Points Card also advertises an introductory balance transfer interest rate of 0% - 3.99% for 12 months. Aside from the fact that only the people with the best possible credit are likely to get the 0% rate, the card also has a 4% balance transfer fee. Overall, the BBVA Compass Card’s balance transfer offer is therefore not very attractive because there are cards out there that offer guaranteed 0% intro rates for longer and do not charge a balance transfer fee. So, that brings us to your alternatives since the BBVA Compass ClearPoints Credit Card would clearly just lead you astray. As far as rewards are concerned, my favorite cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred (excellent initial bonus), the Cap One Venture Card (travel oriented 2% cash back card), and the Blue Cash Everyday from Amex (great rewards on everyday expenses). In terms of cards with the best rates, the No Balance Transfer Slate Card from American Express is the way to go since it offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and does not charge you a fee for transferring a balance. Oh, and you’ll be able to get any of these cards with the excellent credit required for approval for the ClearPoints Compass Credit Card.
I’ll tell ya what, this warm weather we’re having on the East Coast is really making it feel like we’re in the South and I like it. But whether or not I’ll like the Bancorp South Platinum Credit Card remains to be seen, and hopefully the same can be said for you. Regardless of whether you’ve got a relationship with Bancorp South you need to fully investigate what any credit card offers as well as how these terms stack up against the competition before you apply for it. With that being said, let’s take a look at what the Bancorp South Platinum Card has to offer, starting with rewards…wait, the Bancorp South Platinum Credit Card doesn’t have any rewards. That takes my interest in the card, well, south, but let’s carry on anyway. As far as rates go, the Bancorp South Platinum Visa doesn’t take you that far. There are no low introductory interest rates on purchases or transfers, just rather high regular rates. Did it just get cold in here? Nope, but the Bancorp South Platinum Credit Card sure isn’t hot, especiallu considering that you need excellent credit to qualify for it. In other words, Bancorp South is asking a lot from its applicants without giving back much in return, so you need to look for alternatives. If rewards are what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Capital One Venture Card or the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. The Sapphire Card offers an initial bonus worth $625 in travel or $500 cash; the Venture Card gives its rewards in miles but is basically a 2% cash back card as long as you redeem them for travel-related purchase, and the Blue Cash from Amex offers 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and grocery stores, and 1% everywhere else. If you want low interest rates, the best card currently on the market is the No Balance Transfer Fee Slate Card from Chase, which offers 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and obviously does not have a balance transfer fee.
Since I know that a lot of people will be applying for gas rewards credit cards in the coming days in order to combat the rising prices at the pump, I felt like it’s important to clarify a few things. First of all, this Citgo Gas Card is not a gas rewards credit card. In fact, it’s not a credit card at all. The Citgo Gas Card is well a gas card, which means it’s designed to provide the convenience of a credit card (i.e. not having to go into a gas station’s office and pay with cash) to people who cannot qualify for a credit card. That’s why the Citgo Gas Card does not have any rewards, that’s why it doesn’t offer low introductory interest rates. For some of you, this is exactly what you were looking for, for others some alternatives to the Citgo Gas Card are needed. One obvious choice would be the Citgo Credit Card, but it’s important to note that you can’t just pick a credit card with a gas stations’ name at random and expect to benefit. You should only get a station affiliated card if you only get gas at the respective station. So if you are a loyal Citgo Customer the Citgo Credit Card might be the right choice. For people who frequent a variety of different gas stations, a cash back card offering high redemption rates on gas purchased at any station would be a good choice. One of the best such cards currently out there is the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash rewards Card since it gives you 5% cash back at any gas station in addition to 1% across all other purchases. That sure beats the lack of rewards offered by the Citgo Gas Card, huh?
A lot of people are going to be looking into gas rewards credit cards right about now given how expensive a gallon has and will become. There are two things to consider when looking for a gas card: 1) whether or not you always get gas at the same chain of stations and 2) what the available cards offer. See, certain gas rewards cards are tied to particular gas station chains and they only provide savings on gas purchased at those stations, which means they would not be helpful to people who get gas at a variety of different stations. What’s more, gas rewards cards often provide rewards in tiers based on your spending (spend x amount, you get y rebate). It’s important to consider these cards in terms of your actual normal spending to see how much they will practically be worth. The Chevron and Texaco Credit Card is obviously tied to Chevron and Texaco stations, so it would only be a good choice for loyal Chevron and Texaco customer…if it has good rewards, that is. Well, the Chevron and Texaco Rewards Card offers 10 cents in fuel credits for every gallon of Chevron and Texaco gas you purchase (which is like 2.7% cash back in light of current gas prices), 3% in fuel credits on non-fuel purchases made at Chevron and Texaco stations, and 1% in fuel credits on everything else. By fuel credits I mean the cash back you earn can only be used for Chevron/Texaco gas. This isn’t per gallon or anything, so that’ll only save you a few bucks here or there. What’s more, you can only accrue and redeem a maximum of $300 in total fuel credits each year. The Chevron and Texaco Credit Card does not offer any low introductory interest rates, requires good or excellent credit for approval, and does not have an annual fee. So, we have to wonder, is the Chevron Texaco Rewards card worth it? I would have to say no, for a very simple reason. The 10 cents per gallon you save on Chevron and Texaco gas is considerably less than what others stations’ cards offer. Other stations also allow you to use the cash back you get on non-fuel purchases for whatever you want. You may want to use them for gas but you may not, which means the Chevron and Texaco Credit Card’s rewards are limiting and therefore worth relatively less. If I were you, I’d scrap the Chevron Texaco Card in favor of something like the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Back Card. You only have to pay $15 to join PenFed and this card gives you 5% cash back no matter what station you get gas at in addition to 1% cash back across all other purchases.
Chicago Cubs fans need all of the rewards they can get, considering how much heart break they’ve had to deal with over the years. But is the team’s co-branded credit card they way to get these rewards. I certainly get wanting to have a credit card bearing my favorite teams logo, but you do not want to sacrifice your card’s terms just for branding, especially when you consider the fact that you can put any picture you want on the front of any Capital One credit card. So, we have to figure out whether the Chicago Cubs Credit Card is competitive, branding aside. Starting with rewards, the Cubs Credit Card gives you 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% cash back across all other purchases. That’s actually not too bad, especially in light of the fact that you get a 10% cash back bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America savings account (Bank of America issues the Cubs Rewards Card). Moving onto rates, the Chicago Cubs Rewards Credit Card offers 0% on purchases as well as balance transfers for 12 months. That’s not as good as you might think since cards are available that offer 0% for as long as 18 months. Besides, the Cubs Credit Card charges a 4% balance transfer fee, whereas most other cards only charge 3% and some don’t charge anything. Finally, the Cubs Rewards Credit Card requires good or excellent credit for approval and does not charge an annual fee. Ultimately, the Cubs Credit Card is decent and it wouldn’t be a bad choice for those looking for everyday rewards, particularly if you have a BofA savings account or can open one. Still, I would consider a few other cards before applying for the Cubs Card. The Blue Cash Everyday from Amex offers 3% at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores, and 1% on everything else. The Capital One Venture Card offers basically 2% cash back across all purchases if you redeem miles for anything travel-related. The Chase Sapphire Preferred also gives you an initial bonus worth $500-625. I would not get the Cubs Rewards Card if I want low rates. Instead, I’d go with the Chase Slate Card or the Discover More Card that offers 0% on purchases and transfers and does not charge an annual fee.
There are a lot of credit cards from a lot of banks out there, and it can obviously be difficult to decide which is the best for your needs. Most people opt for a card from one of the huge national banks, but oftentimes, no matter what you’re shopping for, the best deals take a little digging to find. So, is the Comerica Bank Visa Signature Credit Card one of those hidden gems, or is it not talked about for good reason? Starting with rewards, the Comerica Visa Signature Card offers one point per dollar spent, redeemable at a rate of 1%. Uh, that’s about it. Moving on to rewards, the Comerica Bank Visa gives you 0% on purchases and transfers for 6 months. That might seem good without a basis for comparison, but you need to consider that there are cards out there that offer 0% on both for 18 months. There are also a couple of cards (Chase Slate and Discover More) that offer 0% for 15 months in addition to no balance transfer fee (the Comerica Bank Visa Signature Card has a 3% transfer fee). Even though the Comerica Bank Visa does not have an annual fee, it does require excellent credit, which means its terms are insufficient and you need other options. This is especially true since Visa Signature Cards have the No Preset Spending Limit (NPSL) feature, meaning your credit utilization could be misleadingly high and your credit score could fall. Those of you looking for a Comerica Bank Visa in the hopes of finding great rewards, would be well served by checking out either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which offers an initial bonus worth $500-625, the Capital One Venture Card (2% cash back across all purchases as long as miles are redeemed for travel related expenses), or the Amex Blue CASH Everyday (3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and department stores and 1% everywhere else). People interested in the Comerica Bank Visa for low interest rates, would do better with the aforementioned Chase Slate and Discover More Cards, which offer 0% on purchases and transfers for 15 months and do not have a balance transfer fee.