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Best of, Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards for Good Credit February 2018

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

If you're someone with good credit you should be able to qualify for a variety of credit cards. There are cards if you want to earn cash back, earn travel rewards or complete a balance transfer. MagnifyMoney has reviewed our database of over 2,000 credit cards to find cards you can qualify for with good credit. Here are our favorite cards for people with good credit.

Best cash back credit cards for good credit

Cash back credit cards can be great tools to boost your financial position. They basically make your life just a few percentage points cheaper — who wouldn’t want that?

Watch out for the pitfalls with these rewards cards, though. Don’t talk yourself into spending more because you'll receive cash back. If you opt for a cash back card that offers you up to 5X more points on certain categories, make sure you understand that you often have to activate the bonus categories and set up reminders for yourself if necessary.

Best flat-rate cash back

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee
$0*
Cashback Rate
1% when you buy, 1% when you pay
Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Best 5% cash back

Discover it<sup>®</sup> - Cashback Match<sup>TM</sup>

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® - Cashback MatchTM

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
5% on certain categories up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate, 1% on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
13.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Good / Excellent

Also Consider

Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda

Nusenda Credit Union Platinum Rewards

This card is a great choice for forgetful people who want cash back rewards. It’s one of the only cards offering revolving categories each quarter that you don’t have to opt in for; you will get these rewards automatically. This card would also be a great choice for those who want cash back rewards and don’t mind working with a credit union.

Best for big spenders in gas

Commuting can be a huge cost, especially if you live far away from your work and don’t use public transportation. If you spend a lot of money on gas each month, consider getting a cash back rewards card that gives you higher rates of return for these purchases. It’s like having an instant coupon for gas with you all the time.

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa<sup>®</sup> Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
5% back on all gas station spending, 1% on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
10.25%-15.25%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

Best for big spenders in groceries

Groceries can be one of your biggest budget-busters, especially if you have a large family, a specialized diet, or live in certain parts of the country. The good news is there are certain credit cards that offer great rewards for grocery purchases. Here’s our top pick for a credit card to maximize your grocery cash back rewards.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Annual fee
$95
Cashback Rate
6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% on other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-25.24%

Variable

Best travel rewards credit card for good credit

Travel can seem like a pipe dream to a lot of people. Even if you do have the cash, it still stings to see that much hard-won money leaving your bank account. But with a travel rewards credit card, you can have a sort of de facto savings account specifically for travel. And with a sign-on bonus like the one for our top pick, you can be jet-setting somewhere fun and interesting as soon as a few months from now.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Rewards
2 points on travel and dining, 1 point on all other spending
Regular Purchase APR
17.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good/Excellent

Best airline credit cards for good credit

One of the biggest travel expenses is airfare. Even if you don’t have specific goals to travel regularly, surprises like cross-country family emergencies or get-togethers can take a big bite out of your budget.

Before signing up for an airline-specific card, it’s helpful to know what airline options you have near you. Different airlines tend to congregate more in different parts of the country; you won’t see any Alaska Airlines planes if you live in Maine, for example.

The information related to the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Best for Southwest frequent flyers

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Annual fee
$69 For First Year
$69 Ongoing
Rewards
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchase
Regular Purchase APR
17.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

The information related to the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Best for United frequent flyers

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Annual fee
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
Rewards
2X miles on tickets purchase from United, 1 mile on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
17.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

Best for American Airlines frequent flyers

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

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on Citibank’s secure website

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Annual fee
$95, waived for first 12 Months*
Rewards
2 AAdvantage® miles on American Airlines purchases, 1 AAdvantage® mile on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
17.24%-25.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit

Good

Best for Delta frequent flyers

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card From American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card From American Express

Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Rewards
2 miles on Delta purchases, 1 mile on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
16.99%-25.99%

Variable

Best luxury credit card for good credit

Even though traveling is fun, it can still be a stressful experience. In between fighting throngs of crowds and cramming into airline seats, it can be enough to drive even the most ardent travel-lover insane sometimes.

The good news is you can avoid all of that with a luxury credit card. These credit cards will give you an across-the-board better travel experience, from the moment you arrive at the airport until you make it back home. Here is our top pick for a luxury credit card.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee
$550
Rewards
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com
Regular Purchase APR
-
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Best 0% APR credit cards for good credit

If you really need to buy something moderately expensive but don’t have the cash for it yet, 0% APR purchase cards can be a great way to go. They’re basically like free short-term loans. These cards are similar to 0% balance transfer cards, but not all of them also offer you the ability to make new purchases with the free promo rates.

It’s recommended to only use these cards to buy things that you absolutely need rather than a new big-screen TV. For example, I used a 0% APR card to purchase the very computer I’m typing this on. I didn’t have $800 to spend at the time, but within a couple of months I had made enough money to pay it off in full — without having to pay a penny of interest. These cards offer great opportunities to better your life, without the extra cost — if you can pay off the card before the promo period is over.

18 months, 0% intro APR, 3% BT fee

Citi Simplicity<sup>®</sup> Card - No Late Fees Ever

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on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Intro BT APR
0%

promotional rate

Balance Transfer Fee
$5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater
Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-25.24%

Variable

Duration
18 months
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

15 months, 0% intro APR, $0 intro BT fee

Chase Slate<sup>®</sup>

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on Chase’s secure website

Read Full Review

Chase Slate®

Intro BT APR
0%

Introductory rate

Balance Transfer Fee
$0 intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open. After 5% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $5.
Regular Purchase APR
16.24%-24.99%

Variable

Duration
15 months
Credit required
fair-credit

Average

14 months, 0% intro APR, 3% BT fee

Discover it<sup>®</sup> - Cashback Match<sup>TM</sup>

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® - Cashback MatchTM

Intro BT APR
0%

promotional rate

Balance Transfer Fee
$5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater
Regular Purchase APR
13.24%-24.24%

Variable

Duration
14 months
Credit required
good-credit
Good / Excellent

Learn more

You don’t need a perfect credit score to qualify for the best financial products. You’ll still get access to virtually all of the things an 850 credit score would unlock as long as you have a credit score of at least 760.

Good credit scores don’t happen by accident. Whether you deliberately aimed for your score or not, you have good financial management skills. However, this isn’t enough to guarantee your approval for a large number of financial products.

It’s actually possible to have a good credit score yet still be a high financial risk. For example, your credit score doesn’t take your salary into account. You could have a perfect credit score yet be unemployed with no income, in some cases.

When you apply for financial products, banks will look at your entire situation beyond just your credit score. Each bank will have their own approval criteria, and you might not pass one of them even if you have a good credit score.

Take heart, however; in general, you will be approved for most good financial products and services if you have a good credit score. But if the bank is very picky or something uncommon has happened to you (such as a recent job loss), it’s not surprising to be rejected.

Potential creditors don’t like to see a string of recent credit inquiries on your report because it might be a sign that you’re going on an out-of-control credit binge. Your score will be docked a few points per credit inquiry. This is a relatively small cut compared to more major transgressions like late payments and foreclosures, however.

When you have a poor credit score (600-648), you need every point you can get. The difference between a poor and a fair credit score is just 48 points; you need to do everything you can to gain those points and move up into the next bracket. Having a hard credit pull on your credit report will set you back even longer.

If you’ve got good credit, though, you don’t need to worry as much. You have 150 points between 700 and the maximum score of 850. That’s plenty of room to pay for small dings on your credit. You can have a hard inquiry on your credit report and still have a good credit score, unless you’re starting with a borderline good score of 700-705.

You’ve worked hard getting your score to this point, now how do you keep it there? Luckily, it’s not hard; basically, continue doing the good things you’re already doing.

Paying all of your statements on time and in full is one of the best things you can do to maintain your high credit score. A single late payment on your mortgage could set you back 60 points or more, downgrading you from good credit to average. Make sure all of your debt accounts are set up on autopay to avoid this potentially costly error.

Credit utilization (the percentage of available credit you’re using) is also one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score. The less available credit you’re using, the better. In general, a credit utilization ratio of 10% or less will boost your score the most. This means that you’ll have a credit card balance of $1,000 or less for each $10,000 of credit you have available to you.

A few minor factors will also boost your credit score, but not as much as having a good payment history and a low credit utilization ratio. Keep credit inquiries to a minimum. In order to avoid a slew of inquiries that will be reflected in your credit score, make sure companies use soft pulls if you need to shop around for the best interest rates.

Also consider keeping your oldest credit cards open and closing any newer ones you’re not using. This will increase your average credit age. In general, an average credit age of five years or more is considered best and will boost your credit score.

You don’t want to be juggling around a ton of cards you’re not using. Closing old cards sounds like a good idea until you consider one factor: It may ding your credit score.

Creditors like to see that you can effectively handle credit accounts over long periods of time. That’s why average credit age is one factor included in credit scoring models.
If you close out an old card, your average credit age might drop. This would cause a corresponding dip in your score. The effect wouldn’t be huge (not as large as a late payment, for example), but it could be there nonetheless, especially if your average credit age is five years or less (over five years is the optimal average credit age).

That’s why most experts recommend keeping your oldest credit card open. If you want to juggle fewer accounts, close any newer ones that you’re not using. Of course, if your oldest credit card charges an annual fee and you’re not using it, then go ahead and close it anyway. Paying an annual fee for a card you’re not using likely outweighs any benefits from keeping the card open for the sake of boosting your average credit age.

Furthermore, if you close your old credit card before you apply for a new card, it’s possible that your credit score will drop enough that your application will be rejected, especially if you have a borderline good credit score. In this case, it’s better to wait until after you’ve applied and been approved for the new credit card before closing your old card, if you decide to do so.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Best of, College Students and Recent Grads, Credit Cards

Best Student Credit Cards February 2018

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Getting a credit card while you’re in college might seem dangerous or confusing. But if you are able to use a student credit card responsibly, you do not need to be afraid, and you can set yourself up for financial success after you leave school.

Fortunately, learning how to choose and use the right student credit card is relatively simple. Make sure you avoid annual fees and go with a bank or credit union you can trust. When you get the card, make sure you use it responsibly and pay the balance in full and on time every month. If you do these things consistently over time, you can leave school with an excellent credit score. And if you want to rent an apartment or buy a car, having a good credit score is very important.

Our Top Pick

Discover it<sup>®</sup> for Students

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® for Students

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
up to 5%
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-23.24%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Fair

Best for Commuter Students

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit

Average OK

Best Flat-Rate Card

Journey<sup>®</sup> Student Rewards from Capital One<sup>®</sup>

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on Capital One’s secure website

Read Full Review

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
Regular Purchase APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

Best Intro Bonus

Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
up to 3%
Regular Purchase APR
12.40%-22.40%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit

Best Credit Union Card

Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa

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on Altra’s secure website

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Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
1 point per dollar spent
Regular Purchase APR
14.90%

Fixed

Credit required
zero-credit
New to Credit

Best for Studying Abroad

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
1.5 points per dollar spent
Regular Purchase APR
16.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit, Limited Credit history

Best Secured Card

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Card - No Annual Fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular Purchase APR
24.24%

Variable

Credit required
bad-credit
Bad

Best for No Credit History

Deserve Edu Mastercard

APPLY NOW Secured

on Deserve’s secure website

Deserve Edu Mastercard

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
1% on all purchases
Regular Purchase APR
19.99%

Variable

Credit required
zero-credit
New to Credit

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Golden 1 Platinum Rewards for Students

Golden 1 Credit Union Platinum Rewards for Students:

This credit card offers a snazzy rewards program: rather than accumulate points, you’ll get a cash rebate instead. All you have to do is make a purchase. At the end of the month, you’ll get a rebate of 3% of gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases, and 1% of all other purchases deposited back into your Golden 1 savings account at the end of the month. You can join Golden 1 by joining the Financial Fitness Association for $8 per year and keeping at least $5 in a savings account.

What should I look for in a student credit card?

The most important thing to consider when looking for a student credit card is that it charges no annual fee. You should never have to pay to build your credit score. Fortunately, most student cards don’t charge you an annual fee, but it’s still something to watch out for.

The second most important thing you should keep an eye out for are tools that help you learn about credit or even promote good credit-building habits. For example, some student credit cards will give you a free monthly FICO score update. You can use this freebie to see in real time how your credit score changes as you build credit history by keeping the card open, or paying down your credit card balance, for example.

The last thing you should be considering when picking out a student credit card is the rewards program. I know, I know, it seems counterintuitive. But stick with me — I’ll show you why in the next question.

Why shouldn’t I be concerned about maximizing my rewards while in college?

Rewards cards are nice to have. But if you’re a college student, here’s the truth: you probably won’t spend enough to earn meaningful rewards.

Why? With a good rewards program, you can earn points or cash back. A small percentage of your monthly spending can add up quickly. However, given the tight budget that most college students live on, it will probably take a while to earn meaningful rewards. For example, if you earn 1.25% cash back and spend $300 a month on your card, you would earn $45 of cash back during the year.

College students are very good at making good use of $45. And our favorite card offers a great cash back rewards program. Just don’t expect to earn a lot of cash back, given the tight budget of a college student.

Why should I get a credit card as a college student?

There are a lot of great reasons why you should get a credit card, as long as you can commit to using it responsibly.

The single biggest reason why you should get a credit card as a college student is because you can start establishing a credit history now. When you graduate from college, you will need a good credit score to get an apartment. And your future employer will likely check your credit report. Building a good credit history while still in college will help prepare you for life after graduation.

Getting a credit card while in college can also train you to develop good credit habits now. But you need to be honest with yourself. If you find that you can’t avoid the temptation of maxing out your credit card, you might want to switch to a debit card or cash.

Finally, getting a credit card now can be the motivation you need to start learning about credit. These skills aren’t hard to learn, and they could save you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars later in life (when you want a mortgage, for example).

What is the CARD Act and why should I care about it?

Many years ago, credit card companies would market on college campuses. You could get a free beer mug or t-shirt in exchange for a credit card application. And you would be able to qualify for a credit card without having any income. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was signed into law in May 2009 to change a number of practices.

How did the CARD Act change student credit cards?

The CARD Act made a lot of changes in how credit card issuers do business with students. One of the biggest changes was requiring students to be able to demonstrate an ability to pay. If you are under 21 and do not have sufficient income (a campus job, for example), you would need to get a co-signer.

In addition, colleges must now limit the amount of credit card marketing on campus. The days of free t-shirts and pizzas in exchange for credit card applications are gone. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible for a college student to get a credit card. Some highly reputable banks and credit unions still offer student cards. And building a good credit score while still in college is still highly recommended.

How can I protect myself from racking up debt?

When used properly, credit cards are a very convenient method of repayment. However, when not used properly, you can end up deep in credit card debt. It is important to establish a healthy relationship to credit now, with your first credit card.

You should try to ensure that you pay off your credit card bill in full and on time every month. Ideally, you should set up an automatic monthly payment. And to keep yourself on track, take advantage of alerts offered by most credit card companies. You can even get daily text messages reminding you of your balance.

How can I automate my credit card usage?

If all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry. There’s actually a way you can automate your payments so you never even have to bother with the hassle of using a credit card. All it takes is a few minutes of upfront work.

First, you’ll need at least one recurring monthly bill of the same amount, such as Netflix or Spotify. Log in to your account and set up an automatic payment each month using your credit card. Make a note of how much your monthly bill costs.

Next, log in to your bank account. Set up a second automatic payment to go to your credit card each month for the same amount as the bill. If your bank doesn’t offer the option to set up automatic payments, you may also be able to set up your credit card to automatically withdraw the amount of the bill from your bank.

Because you know this bill will be for the same amount each month (barring any price increases), you can literally just leave this running in the background each month on autopilot. You don’t even have to carry your credit card in your wallet if you don’t want to. Then, when you graduate, you’ll automatically have an improved credit score!

What happens to my student credit card when I graduate?

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the finish line. But what about your student credit card? You will have a few options once you graduate.

First, you can simply keep it. You will want to keep the credit card open, because it helps you build a long credit history. However, you might want to call your credit card company and ask if you can migrate to a standard (non-student) credit card.

But if you have been using your credit card properly, you will have an excellent credit score when you graduate – and you will be able to get any credit card that you want.

Here is a summary of our favorite cards:

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Credit Cards

Best Travel Credit Cards February 2018

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

iStock

Looking over the sheer number of travel credit cards available is enough to overwhelm anyone. With so many cards offering points, miles or cash back, what should you look for in a new travel rewards credit card?

While having options is a good thing, trying to decide on the best travel rewards credit cards available can give you a difficult decision. When considering a new card, there are four factors you should consider before you hit the “apply now” button:

  • No foreign transaction fees. While up to 3% in foreign transaction fees may not sound like much, it can add over a quarter to every $10 you spend abroad. The best travel credit cards may not have foreign transaction fees.
  • Good rewards for spending. For every dollar you spend, you should earn rewards you can apply directly to your next trip: either flights, hotel rooms or other experiences.
  • Sign-up bonuses. Most cards offer a sign-up bonus after a required minimum spend to encourage people to apply for their card. The sign-up bonus should offer a substantial award that justifies the spending.
  • Annual fee. Although most cards come with an annual fee, the points or cash back you could earn should outweigh the cost.

Instead of getting lost looking for the perfect travel rewards card, start with this guide. We found the best travel cards for every lifestyle, each of which offer you some of the best rewards now and over time. If you want good travel rewards for the money you spend, consider adding these credit cards to your wallet.

Best premium travel cards

Premium travel cards come with the highest annual fees but also offer the highest level of rewards. From flexible points that can be transferred to travel partners, to elite hotel and lounge offers, your annual fee can be recovered through the luxury benefits on these cards. If you travel frequently and want to get the best experiences, these are the cards you’ll want.

Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

 Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>SM</sup>

Annual fee

$450 For First Year

$450 Ongoing

Rewards

3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

17.24%-24.24%

Variable

Why we like it: Because you automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM offers solid rewards for what effectively turns into a $150 annual fee ($450 annual fee minus up to $300 in statement credits for travel purchases). Cardholders also receive up to a $100 application fee credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. In addition, you will earn three Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and dining worldwide, and one point per dollar spent everywhere else. If you make this your primary card, you could earn rewards which value more than the annual fee every year.

Rewards program: Purchases earn points in Chase Ultimate Rewards®, a flexible point program that can be used for travel rewards. One point has a value of 1 cent, but when redeeming for travel through the Chase travel portal, points have a fixed value of 1.5 cents. You can get an even greater value by transferring points to one of Ultimate Rewards® nine airline partners or four hotel partners.

Pros:

  • Flexible points that offer good value. Chase Ultimate Rewards® are among the most flexible in the travel space, with nine airline and four hotel rewards transfer partners – giving you many different ways to use your points. You can also use points through the Chase travel portal at a fixed rate of 1.5 cents each towards airfare and hotels of your choice.
  • Exceptional rewards for travel and dining. Of all the premium credit cards, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM offers the most points per dollar spent for both travel and dining. If you primarily use this card when you travel, you would earn unlimited triple points on most of your big expenses.
  • Great travel insurance options. In addition to points earning opportunities and flexible points, this card also offers one of the best travel insurance plans available. When you use your card or Ultimate Rewards® points to pay for your trip, you are automatically covered with baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation insurance and roadside assistance.

Cons:

  • $450 annual fee. One of the biggest cons of this card is the $450 annual fee, due immediately in the first year. Even though $300 can be recovered from the annual travel credit, you still pay the $450 out of pocket. If you do not travel often, this card may not be right for you.
  • Limited travel lounge access. For the high price tag, this card only offers lounge benefits through Priority Pass, a network of lounges around the world. It does not allow entry into any carrier’s lounges and comes with some surprising rules, including limited accommodation during busy times.
  • No elite status with travel partners. Unlike its nearest competitor, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM does not come with any elite status with partner brands. If you get accepted for this card, don’t expect to get to the front of the line at any hotels or car rental locations.

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

$550

Rewards

5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com

Regular Purchase APR

-

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Why we like it: Considered one of the oldest and most prestigious awards cards, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers the most elite status, luxury experiences and credits for your spending. When you book trips directly with airlines or American Express Travel, you can also earn five Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent, allowing your rewards to rack up quickly. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. If you value luxury experiences and airline lounge access, this card could be a better choice.

Rewards program: Your purchases will earn Membership Rewards® points, which can be used with American Express or transferred to their travel partners. When using Membership Rewards® points at American Express Travel, your points are valued at 1 cent each, so your best use of points is through transferring to their airline or hotel partners. Points transfer to 16 airlines and three hotels, offering the most choices for award travel.

Pros:

  • Best lounge access programs. The Platinum Card® from American Express offers you the most ways to get into lounges when you travel around the world. In addition to Priority Pass, you can also enter Centurion Lounges and the International American Express lounges on arrival or departure at select airports, as well as Delta Sky Clubs when you are flying on Delta.
  • Elite status for holding the card. The Platinum Card® from American Express also comes with elite status at three car rental and two hotel loyalty programs: Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, National Car Emerald Club, Hilton Honors Gold Elite and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
  • Credits for Boingo Wi-Fi, Global Entry, Shoprunner and Uber. Even with the high annual fee, this premium card also comes with several credits and free services for frequent travelers. Cardholders get free Boingo Preferred Plan membership, free Shoprunner two-day delivery, along with monthly credits for Uber rides and one Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee waiver every five years.

Cons:

  • Highest annual fees. While the card may offer the most status and immediate benefits, it also comes with the highest fee. At $550 for the annual fee, you will be pay for all your benefits in the first month, before you can get any value from them.
  • Only one bonus category. Another major downside of this card is that there is only one bonus category: five points per dollar spent directly with airlines or travel booked through Amex Travel. If you do not spend much on prepaid hotel reservations or airfare, you can’t maximize this bonus category effectively.
  • Limited airline fee credit. For years, The Platinum Card® from American Express was the only card to offer an airline fee credit. Today, it is one of the most limited: $200 only usable towards airline fees, available for only one airline you choose at the beginning of the year.

 

Best travel cards for simple rewards

While earning points and miles can be rewarding, some of the best programs are simple and straightforward. When we looked for the best simple rewards credit cards, we looked for those that not only offered cash back, but also bonuses for spending and redeeming, along with a low annual fee. After considering all our options, these are the best travel rewards cards for simple rewards.

Best cashback travel rewards card

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Annual fee

$89 - waived first year

Rewards

2X miles on all purchases

Regular Purchase APR

17.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Barclaycard’s secure website

Why we like it: If you don’t want to chase rotating categories or juggle which card is best for whatever spending you do, The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers simple travel rewards. You will earn two miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with full chip and PIN capability outside the United States. Choose the flights, hotels and rental cars that work for you and pay for the charges to your card by redeeming miles. And when you redeem, you automatically get 5% back to use toward your next redemption.

Rewards program
Instead of earning traditional airline miles, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® earns miles that can be applied as cash back to your travel expenses. Qualifying travel purchases include those made at airlines, hotels, campgrounds, car rental companies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites and more. Miles are worth one cent each.

Pros:

  • Easy to use rewards. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has one of the most easy-to-understand rewards programs available, with every point counting for one cent each. Instead of trying to figure out how many points you need for a flight, your available cash balance is always available and easy to understand.
  • 5% miles back every time you redeem. The best part about using miles on this card is that you’ll always get 5% back. For example: if you were to redeem 50,000 points for a $500 airline ticket, you would get 2,500 points back (worth $25).
  • Partial payment with miles allowed. While some programs force you to either pay for your entire award with miles (or purchase more miles to cover your award), this card allows you to use your miles to pay off a portion of your travel expenses. How many miles you want to use is up to you.

Cons:

  • Annual fee for a cashback card. The card is rather expensive for earning two miles per dollar toward travel. If you don’t travel abroad often, there are other cards that offer the same cash back with no annual fee.
  • High redemption thresholds and miles won’t transfer to other programs. If you would rather travel in first class using airline loyalty program miles, you will be out of luck with this card. While most rewards programs offer transfers after 1,000 points and cash-equivalent rewards at 2,500 points, you have to have at least 10,000 miles to use them for a $100 reward. Furthermore, miles can only be used to pay for travel expenses on the card, and can’t be transferred to other airline partners.
  • Poor value for everything not travel relatedWhile the earning two miles per dollar on all purchases is good when redeeming for travel, you shouldn’t use them to get gift cards or cash back. When using your miles for those options, you will lose 50% of your value in translation.

 

Best travel card for millennials

Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else

Regular Purchase APR

16.24%-24.99%

variable

Why we like it: The Uber Visa Card offers high cash back rewards at the places millennials spend the most — all restaurants (including UberEATS), travel, online shopping and streaming services — along with no foreign transaction fees and up to $600 in mobile phone protection with no annual fee. Plus, some of the bonus categories are the biggest in their category: no other credit card offers 4% cash back on all dining purchases. Conditions apply.

Rewards program
The card offers cash back rewards for spending in four different categories:

  • 4% cash back on restaurants, takeout, and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3% cash back on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2% cash back on online purchases including Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming services
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Cash back can be used as statement credits, credits towards Uber rides, redeemed for gift cards or transferred to a bank account with a limit of $500 in transfers per day. Conditions apply.

Pros:

  • Big cash back categories. Of all the cash back cards we have reviewed, the Uber Visa Card has the biggest rewards for both dining and online purchases. Using this card as your primary option for restaurants and digital shopping could help your rewards add up quickly.
  • Up to $600 in mobile phone protection. While many cards offer travel insurance, not many offer cellphone insurance. If you pay your cellphone bill with your Uber Visa Card, you could qualify for $600 in protection for accidental damage or theft. Conditions apply.
  • $50 online subscription service credit. Who doesn’t have at least one online subscription service anymore? If you spend at least $5,000 in your cardmembership year, you automatically get a $50 credit for an online subscription you pay with your card.

Cons:

  • Limited transfer options. While the cash back is good, The Uber Visa only has one transfer partner for their points right now: Uber. You can’t turn over your points into any other loyalty program, limiting their overall usage.
  • Limited definition of “online purchases.” The Uber Visa Card also comes with a very narrow definition of “online purchase” that qualifies for 2% cash back. You'll have to check your credit card statements to see what counts as an online purchase, though Barclaycard announced in December that payments through third-party platforms like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay would count toward the 2% category.
  • No travel insurance. Although you may get up to $600 in mobile phone protection, you won’t get any travel insurance benefits when paying for your next trip with this card. If your flight gets delayed or your luggage gets lost, your card won’t reimburse any of your expenses.

Read our review of the Uber Visa Card

 

Best travel card with no annual fee

Discover it® Miles

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Miles

Annual fee

$0

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee. We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.*

Regular Purchase APR

13.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Why we like it: While the Discover it® Miles compares closely to other cards with no annual fee, the details make this card a real winner. At the end of your first year, Discover automatically matches all of your earned miles, giving you double the travel purchasing power. The card also comes with strong back-end features, including free Social Security number alerts and FICO® score checks.

Rewards program
The Discover it® Miles offers miles that can be used as cash back to pay for travel experiences. When you book trips using the Discover it® Miles card, you can redeem your miles towards statement credits on the trips, with no blackout dates. Your miles never expire as long as your card is active.

Pros:

  • Good credit security tools and customer service. In addition to having call centers based in the United States, this card also comes with solid credit security tools. These include free FICO® credit scores, Social Security number alerts, Experian® credit report monitoring and the ability to freeze your credit card from the Discover mobile app or website.
  • Wide acceptance in China and Japan. If you travel to Asia often, the Discover it® Miles may be your best bet for secure spending. Discover is accepted by China’s largest credit card network, UnionPay, and one of Japan’s largest payment processors, JCB.
  • Matched miles in the first year. Currently, no other company offers matched points or miles for your first cardholding year, effectively doubling your rewards. If you use this as your primary spending card, you could earn a lot of cash back towards travel.

Cons:

  • No transfer partners. Although doubled miles in the first cardholding year and unlimited rewards are great, you may not get to fly first class with them. Miles do not transfer to any airline partners – they can only be applied as cash back for travel expenses.
  • No bonus categories for earning miles. While other Discover cards offer rotating 5% cashback bonus categories quarterly, the Discover it® Miles offers no bonus categories. This means no matter where you use your card, you will always earn 1.5 points per dollar.
  • Low miles earning after first year. With no bonus categories, this means you may not earn very many miles after the first year.

Best credit union travel card

First Tech FCU Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard®

Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard® from First Tech FCU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$75 Ongoing

Rewards

3 points for every $1 spent on travel; 2 points for every $1 spent on dining; 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

12.24%-18.00%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Why we like it: We searched over 50 credit unions with few membership restrictions for the best travel rewards credit cards, and found it at First Tech Federal Credit Union. The Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard® offers competitive bonus categories (three Rewards Points for every dollar spent on travel; two Rewards Points for every dollar spent on dining; one Reward Point for every dollar spent on all other purchases), but comes with a lower annual fee and interest rate than its competitors.

How to Qualify: To apply for the card, you must be a member of First Tech Federal Credit Union, which requires you to work for a sponsor company, live in Lane County, Ore., or become a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum. A membership share in the credit union is $5 (held in a membership savings account), a membership in the Financial Fitness Association is $8, and a membership to the Computer History Museum is $15.

Rewards program
Points earned with the card go towards the Scorecard Rewards program, which fulfills rewards. Your points can be used towards travel experiences including cruises, hotels, or car rental certificates, merchandise available in their catalog, or can be redeemed for cash back. While your points value may vary for awards, cash back rewards are valued at one cent per point.

Pros:

  • Strong bonus categories. The bonus categories offered by the Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard® are comparable to other major rewards cards, because it offers three points per dollar spent on travel and two points pers dollar spent on dining. This gives it strong value with better terms for the cardholder.
  • Flexible rewards options. Like other programs, points earned on the Odyssey™ Rewards card can be used toward several different awards. Airfare, cruises, hotel certificates and car rental certificates are all available when you use your points and miles.
  • Lower annual fee and APR than other cards. Credit unions often offer better terms to cardholders than banks, and this card is no exception. The APR may be lower on balances held on the card, and the annual fee is at least $20 less than other comparable cards.

Cons:

  • Points vary in value. The two downsides about Odyssey™ Rewards points are that points vary in value, and they can’t be transferred to other airline partners. Because of this, using them for non-travel rewards may value them under one cent per point.
  • Credit union membership required. While the card is a good deal, you must be a member of the credit union to get the card. If you decide to take your money out of the credit union, your card could be canceled as well.
  • Upfront membership fees. This card is subject to membership in the credit union and an associated organization. Before you can apply for this card, you have to pay $13 in fees.

 

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Joe Cortez
Joe Cortez |

Joe Cortez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Joe here

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Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Cards

Home Depot Credit Card vs. Lowe’s Credit Card

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Home improvements can be extremely costly and many people don’t have the money to pay for them upfront so they look to special financing options like store credit cards. If you’re looking to make renovations to your home, there’s a good chance you’ve looked into buying supplies from two of the biggest home improvement retailers in the U.S. — Home Depot and Lowe’s. Both stores offer special financing options and discounts that you can utilize to make your purchases more affordable.

In this post, we compare the key features of the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card and the Lowe’s Advantage Card, and provide you with our top pick for your next home improvement project.

We also discuss a few alternative financing options because credit cards aren’t always the best financing option — especially if you can’t afford to pay them off quickly.

Home Depot Consumer Credit Card vs. Lowe’s Advantage Card


Home Depot Consumer Credit Card


Lowe’s Advantage Card


Winner


Annual Fee

None

None

Tie


Regular Purchase APR

17.99% - 26.99%

26.99%

Home Depot (so long as your credit is good enough to score the better rate).


Everyday Financing

6 months special financing on purchases of $299 or more. No interest if paid in full within 6 months.*

6 months special financing on purchases of $299 or more. No interest if paid in full within 6 months.*

Tie


Project Financing

Up to 24 months during special promotions.*


(Note that Home Depot offers a Project Loan Card with a fixed rate and 84 months to pay off purchases.)

Special fixed-rate interest offers for 36, 60 or 84 months and on purchases of $2,000 or more.*

Lowe’s (they offer financing options greater than 24 months).


Fine print

“Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the purchase balance is not paid in full within 6 months.”


This is called deferred interest and means you are responsible for all the interest you would have been charged during the 0% interest period if you carry a balance after the 6 months.

If you don’t pay in full within 6 months, “interest will be assessed on the promotional purchase from the purchase date.”


This is called deferred interest and means you are responsible for all the interest you would have been charged during the 0% interest period if you carry a balance after the 6 months.

Tie


New card member discount

Save $25 off your first purchase of $25 or more.*

Save $30 off your first in-store purchase. Valid through 6/10/18.*

Lowe’s (their offer is $5 more).


Everyday discount

No everyday discount, but rotating limited time offers for a variety of products and services.*

5% off your eligible purchase.*

Lowe’s (since Home Depot doesn’t offer a discount).

APPLY NOW

APPLY NOW


The Overall Winner: Lowe’s Advantage Card


The Lowe’s Advantage Card is the winner in this comparison since it offers a consistent, everyday discount and several financing options. Both cards offer the same everyday financing option, but the Lowe’s Advantage Card offers more options for project financing, which may be more beneficial for a home financing project. The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card unfortunately doesn’t offer everyday discounts or long-term financing options past two years, though it does have the potential for a lower APR with its range; unlike the Lowe’s Advantage Card which only has one APR. All in all, the Lowe’s Advantage Card provides more benefits to consumers looking to finance a home improvement project.


APPLY NOW

*Terms and conditions apply.

What to know before you open a store card for home improvements

Focus on your needs vs. rewards. Prior to applying for a store card, try not to let the promise of a cushy reward offer cloud your judgment. Consider which store you shop more and which store card has offers that suits your needs best.

For example, if you’re planning on doing exterior installations like roofing, siding or windows, Home Depot has no interest if paid in full within 12 months on purchases of $5,000 or more (offer valid until 1/31/18). Meanwhile, Lowe’s offers 5% off your eligible purchase, which can be helpful if you plan on making numerous purchases below $299 — since the 5% discount can’t be combined with special financing discounts that start at $299.

Decide how long you need to finance your improvements. Home Depot and Lowe’s both offer different financing options where you can pay a fixed interest rate for up to 84 months. While the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card only offers up to 24 months financing, they have another card, the Project Loan card, offering 84 months financing at a fixed 7.99% with a 6-month buying window to purchase needed products and services. On the other hand, the Lowe’s Advantage card offers project financing on any in-store purchase of $2,000 or more: 36 fixed monthly payments at 3.99% APR until paid in full, 60 fixed monthly payments at 5.99% APR until paid in full or 84 fixed monthly payments at 7.99% APR until paid in full.

Review selection offerings. Another key point to consider is that one store may have a better rewards program, but you may prefer the selection of items at the other store.

Consider access to the retailer. If you’ve never shopped at either store, do some research to see which one has more items you need. Also, check out the location of the stores — Home Depot has over 2,200 while Lowe’s has over 1,700. It may not make sense to apply for a Lowe’s card and trek 30 minutes to the nearest store if there’s a Home Depot around the block.

Read the fine print. Another key point to look at are the terms and conditions for each card. You want to check if there are any unusual fees and what the interest rates are if you carry a balance. This information can be a deciding factor in your decision. As you can see from our review, both Home Depot and Lowe’s credit card offerings carry a deferred interest clause — if you don’t pay off your balance by the time the promotional period ends, you could get hit with a hefty interest charge.

Take note that a store card can only be used at the issuing store, meaning you will only be able to use a Home Depot credit card on Home Depot purchases. Meanwhile, regular credit cards have more flexibility and can be used anywhere.

Other ways to finance a home improvement project

There are several other options for you to utilize if you decide that a store card from Home Depot or Lowe's isn’t the best choice. There are other types of credit cards you can choose, such as cards with long 0% intro periods or cashback cards that offer high rates. Besides credit cards, you can take out a personal loan, home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Below, we detail what other options you have for your home improvement project and the pros and cons associated with each.

0% Intro APR cards

An alternative to store cards are 0% intro APR cards, which provide a period of time for you to carry a balance without racking up interest. The better 0% intro APR cards have intro periods of 18 months, allowing you well over a year to pay off debt from new purchases. These cards often offer longer 0% intro periods than store cards, and although they won’t have store specific rewards, you can benefit greatly from the long intro period.

Pros:

  • Long intro periods: The 0% intro periods for these cards are longer than those provided by store cards and can provide you with as long as 18 months interest-free.
  • Wide acceptance: These cards can be used at any store, unlike store cards, which are restricted to the issuing store.

Cons:

  • Often lack rewards or store specific discounts: Many 0% intro APR cards lack rewards programs or don’t provide store specific discounts like the Home Depot or Lowe's cards.

Cards to Consider

Citi Simplicity<sup>®</sup> Card - No Late Fees Ever

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Annual fee
$0*
Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-25.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Citi Simplicity® Card — No Late Fees Ever offers a competitive intro 0% for 18 months on purchases (after, 15.24% - 25.24% variable). This is one of the longest intro periods for purchases available and can provide you ample time to pay off your debt. Other great features of this card include no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee. Although there are no rewards, the long 0% intro period can provide more benefit if you can’t pay off purchases within the short 0% periods of the Home Depot or Lowe's cards.

U.S. Bank Visa<sup>®</sup> Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on U.S. Bank’s secure website

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Regular Purchase APR
11.24%-23.24%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers an intro 0% for 18 months on purchases (after, 11.24%-23.24%). This is a great length of time for you to pay off any purchases you make, regardless if they’re for home improvement or not. The APR range for this card has a low starting rate, promising if you have excellent credit. Besides the 0% intro period, this card is fairly basic and has no rewards.

Read our guide to the longest 0% purchase credit card offers and use our personalized tool to compare introductory 0% interest cards.

Cashback and rewards cards

Another alternative to a Home Depot or Lowe's credit card may be cashback or rewards cards. These cards offer rewards for all your spending, with some offering higher rates on select purchases and 0% intro periods. Often, these cards provide more long-term value than a store card you may open since they don’t limit your purchases to select stores.

Pros:

  • Versatile rewards programs: These cards provide rewards or cashback programs that allow you to earn rewards on all your spending, regardless of where you shop. Some cards even offer high rates on certain purchases, like home improvements.
  • Wide acceptance: There are no restrictions on where you can use these cards, and you earn rewards on all purchases.

Cons:

  • No store discounts: Since these cards aren’t store cards, you most likely will not receive the same store discounts or rewards that a store card offers.

Cards to consider

The Farmers® Rewards Visa® Card from Comenity Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

on Comenity Bank’s secure website

The Farmers® Rewards Visa® Card from Comenity Bank

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
Earn triple points on your gas, home improvement, and Farmers Insurance products, and one point for each dollar spent on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
14.49%-21.49%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Farmers® Rewards Visa® Card offers a high 3 points per dollar spent on home improvement purchases. You can also earn 3 points per dollar on gasoline, eligible Farmers products and other insurers' products, as well as 1 point on all other purchases. Each account anniversary you receive 1,000 points (equal to a $10 statement credit). Although you earn points, they can be redeemed as a statement credit with 1 point worth $.01. This card offers more flexibility than a Lowe's or Home Depot card since it can be used anywhere. The intro period is also longer with a 0% introductory purchase APR for 12 months. After that your APR will be 13.99% to 20.99% variable.

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee
$0*
Cashback Rate
1% when you buy, 1% when you pay
Regular Purchase APR
14.74%-24.74%

Variable

Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is the trend setting flat-rate cash back card where you can earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Points are redeemable for statement credit with 1 point worth $.01. This card allows you to earn a high, consistent cash back rate on all spending without limiting you to select categories or stores. With this card, you have the freedom to use it anywhere and can see more long-term value compared to a store card you may only use for a home improvement project.

Read our roundup of the best cash back cards for every category and compare cash back cards.

Personal loans

Depending on your situation, a credit card may not be the best option; especially if you have less than perfect credit and can’t get approved. A personal loan is when you borrow a fixed amount of money for a fixed time period at a fixed rate.

Personal loans are a more liquid approach to financing a home improvement since you receive deposited money in your bank account. The interest rates for personal loans vary by issuer and your creditworthiness, but if you’re someone with excellent credit you may receive the lowest rates, with some issuers offering as low as 3.24% APR. That’s substantially lower than a credit card.

On the other hand, you may find some personal loan lenders willing to work with you if you have bad credit, although you are likely to get stuck with a pretty high APR. Some APRs can easily run above 30% on the high end.

Pros:

  • Better approval odds: If you’re someone with bad or fair credit, you may have an easier time qualifying for a personal loan compared with a credit card. Some personal loans either don’t have a minimum credit score or accept people with low scores.
  • Fixed interest rates: Unlike the majority of credit cards, personal loans have a fixed interest rate. You don’t have to worry about your rate increasing during your term.
  • May be able to check your rates without harming your credit: Some personal loans allow you to see if you prequalify by performing a soft pull of your credit. A soft pull doesn’t affect your credit score, and with many personal loans you can shop around for the best rate without harming your credit. Just be careful and read the disclaimers before you check to make sure it’s a soft pull — not a hard pull. Once you officially apply for a loan, they will do a hard pull.

Cons:

  • Origination fee: Some personal loans have origination fees. These fees are a percentage of the total loan amount. For example, a 1% origination fee on a $5,000 loan is $50.
  • Possible prepayment penalty: Some personal loans will charge a fee if you pay off your loan early, which can be more costly than riding out your term.

How to compare personal loan options

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree

Loan Amount
up to $35,000
Term
24 to 60 Months
APR Range
5.99%-35.99%
Origination Fee
Varies
Credit Required
Bad or Could be Better/Average/Good/Excellent
Soft Pull
You can get your rate without hurting your score.

LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney, has a great feature where you can compare personal loans from multiple issuers within minutes. You can select home improvements from the drop-down menu when asked “How are you going to use the money?” and continue with the prompts until you receive your personalized loan rates. This tool performs a soft pull on your credit so your credit score will not be affected by comparing rates.

We have a personal loan calculator that can help you see if a personal loan is a good option for your home improvement project:

Check out where to get the best personal loan rates online and use our personalized tool to compare personal loans.

Home equity loan or home equity line of credit

You may have heard the terms home equity loan and home equity line of credit (HELOC) before, and are now considering them as options to finance your home improvement project. Before you decide, it’s a good idea to know what these home equity options are and how they can be helpful — and potentially harmful.

A home equity loan is similar to a personal loan where you have a fixed loan amount, with a fixed interest rate and fixed term — but a home equity loan is secured by your home. This means your home is collateral and if you don’t pay your loan, the lender can foreclose on your home.

Similar to a credit card, a HELOC provides you with a revolving line of credit where you can borrow money and you only make payments on what you borrow. Any funds borrowed are charged interest, and unfortunately, the interest rates are often variable, which means they can increase at any time. You can withdraw funds with a credit card or check linked to your account. And, like home equity loans, your home acts as collateral if you don’t pay off your HELOC.

Pros:

  • Fixed interest for home equity loans: When you borrow money with a home equity loan, you receive a fixed amount of money for a fixed term and a fixed interest rate. This creates stability when repaying your loan and you don’t have to worry about increasing interest rates.
  • Revolving line of credit for a HELOC: With a HELOC, you receive a revolving line of credit. Similar to a credit card, when you make charges and pay them off, your available credit is replenished.

Cons:

  • Your home is collateral: If you don’t pay off your loan, the lender can take action against your home and possibly foreclose. This is a big risk that other financing options on this list don’t have.
  • Look out for fees: Home equity loans and HELOC can come with numerous fees like origination fee, lender fee, application fee, appraisal fee and more. It’s a good idea to ask questions and read the terms before signing anything.
  • You need equity in your home to qualify: Most lenders require you to have a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or below. To get your LTV, it’s pretty simple: add the amount you want to borrow with a home equity loan to the amount you still owe on the home. Once you’ve got that figure, divide it by the market value of the home. Let’s say you’re looking for a $10,000 home equity loan and you owe $80,000 on your mortgage. If your home is currently valued at $200,000, that would give you an LTV of about 45%.
  • Watch out for refinancing: Some lenders may pressure you into refinancing a loan that you’re struggling to pay off. By refinancing, the lender benefits from charging you more fees and interest points that end up hurting you and increasing your debt.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Visa Signature® Benefits Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

When you’re looking for a credit card, there’s a lot to consider beyond the terms and rewards — extra perks might be the deciding factor when you can’t decide between one card or the next.

Some cards may come with World Elite Mastercard® or Visa Signature® benefits. You may be wondering what exactly are those benefits, and in this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the Visa Signature® benefits to see if they provide any substantial value that may sway you to choose a Visa Signature® card over a non-Visa Signature® card.

What is the Visa Signature® benefits program?

The Visa Signature® benefits program provides an extensive array of perks for cardholders to enjoy. Benefits are in various categories including travel protection, purchase benefits, entertainment discounts, special offers in food and shopping, and much more.

These discounts are often exclusive to Visa Signature® cardholders and add extra value when you use your card. Some benefits include lost luggage reimbursement, cell phone protection, food discounts at Domino’s Pizza, shopping discounts at stores like Calvin Klein and Levi’s, and many other discounts.

*Please note that the benefits mentioned in this post may not come with all Visa Signature® cards, so check with your issuer to see if your card is covered and to learn more about your specific card benefits.

Let’s start with the tentpole benefits that come with Visa Signature® cards.

Main Visa Signature® benefits

visa signature benefits
iStock

Travel Protection

  • Lost luggage reimbursement: It’s never ideal when your luggage is lost while traveling, however you can be reimbursed for checked or carry-on baggage and its contents when you pay for the airline or common carrier ticket with your Visa Signature® card. In addition to lost luggage reimbursement, you may be covered for luggage theft.
  • Roadside Dispatch®: If your car breaks down at anytime, there’s no need to scramble to find help. You can easily call Roadside Dispatch and they’ll arrange a tow operator or locksmith to assist you for standard towing, tire changes, jumpstarts and more. This is a pay-per-use feature, so you are responsible for services received.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Accidents happen when traveling, and it’s even worse if you’re in an unfamiliar destination. With this benefit, you’ll have access to multilingual representatives who are available 24/7 to answer any questions that may arise and provide referrals to various services. Some services include medical referral assistance, emergency translation service, legal referral assistance and more. Note that you’re responsible for the cost of services rendered.
  • Auto rental collision damage: When you’re renting a car, the agency will offer you all sorts of add-on insurances to cover additional damage and liability. That includes collision damage. But when you use a Visa Signature® card to pay for your rental, you are already covered for collision. That means you don’t have to pay extra for the rental agency’s policy. In addition to collision damage, you’re covered for theft, towing and loss-of-use charges.
  • Global Entry statement credit: Entering back into the U.S. from abroad often requires waiting on a long line to go through security. But not if you’re approved for Global Entry — you can receive expedited clearance at participating airports. Using your Visa Signature® card to pay for the Global Entry application allows you to receive a $100 statement credit.

Purchase Benefits

  • Warranty manager service: When you make a purchase with your Visa Signature® card, you’ll also get up to an additional year of warranty protection. This feature either will double your current manufacturer’s warranty if it’s less than a year, or add an additional year of coverage for warranties three years or less. This is helpful for any issues that may arise after the typical warranty term.
  • Year end summary: At the end of each year, you’ll receive a detailed summary of all the purchases you’ve made with key insights into your spending habits. This feature is pretty standard amongst credit cards, but it can be helpful for people looking to be more aware of their spending patterns and looking to budget better.
  • Cell phone protection: These days, cell phones cost a fortune. And, one of the worst feelings is when your phone gets damaged and you receive a hefty repair bill. But, if you pay your wireless bill with your Visa Signature® card, you can be reimbursed. Note that a deductible is required. Coverage also includes stolen cell phones.
  • Price protection: If you’re having buyer’s remorse over a costly item, don’t worry — price protection can reimburse you for the difference if you find a lower price in a print ad. Make sure you use your Visa Signature® card to purchase the item.

Entertainment Discounts and Special Offers

visa signature benefits
iStock

Travel Concierge

  • Hotel access all over the world: Benefit from free nights, discounts, complimentary breakfast and other premium benefits at over 900 hotels around the globe. This is a great way to make your hotel stay more comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Black car service discounts: You can ride in luxury with GroundLink chauffeured black car service. GroundLink is a tech-enabled car service providing first-class service worldwide. You can receive 10% savings on service and a one-time $20 credit, valid until July 31, 2019.

Food and Wine Discounts

  • Taste of Sonoma: If you’re planning a trip to Sonoma any time soon, you’re in luck. You can get discounts on wine purchases, tastings and more at over 50 Visa Signature® wineries plus a 15% discount on transportation from Pure Luxury.
  • Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Auntie Anne’s: There are various discounts you can receive from several chains that allow you to enjoy some of your favorite foods for less money. Simply pay with your Visa Signature® card and you can benefit from gift card discounts, free items, and order discounts. Discounts vary by retailer.
  • Omaha Steaks: Your next steak dinner can come with a great discount — receive a one-time $20 discount on a purchase at OmahaSteaks.com when you spend $69 or more with your Visa Signature® card. Restrictions apply and the offer is valid until January 31, 2018.

Shopping

Jewelry Discounts

  • Ross-Simons: Shopping online at Ross-Simons.com allows you to receive 25% off your jewelry purchase and free express shipping. This is a substantial discount that can save you a great deal of money. This offer is valid until February 19, 2018.
  • Tourneau: When you make a watch purchase of $1,000 or more, you will receive a $250 discount at Tourneau; great if you’ve been eyeing a new watch. This offer is valid through December 31, 2018.

Clothing Discounts

What's better than going on a shopping spree? Getting discounts on your purchases! You can receive discounts at various clothing retailers including: Levi's, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Macy's, Bass Factory Outlet, Wilsons Leather, Teva, Haggar Clothing Co., and UGG. Discounts vary by retailer and include receiving free shipping, a percentage or specific monetary value off your purchase, bonus gift cards and more when you pay with your Visa Signature® card.

Sports

  • Troon Rewards®: Troon Rewards® provides you with savings at over 95 golf courses worldwide. Sign up with your Visa Signature® card and you’ll earn Silver Status, benefiting from 10% off golf fees and merchandise. Current members can earn a one-level upgrade to either Gold or Platinum Status. This offer is valid until January 26, 2020.

Movies and Games

  • AMC Theatres discounts: Purchasing a $25 eGift card from AMC Theaters with your Visa Signature® card saves you 5%. This is a $1.25 value, and although it’s not a large savings, it nonetheless saves you some money. This offer is valid until May 31, 2018.
  • GameFly trial: You can receive a 30-day free trial of GameFly by signing up with your Visa Signature® card. This deal ends February 2, 2019. Currently, GameFly has a promotion of a 30-day free trial that you can get without a Visa Signature® card.

Visa Signature® vs. World Elite Mastercard®

You may be wondering how the Visa Signature® benefits program compares to other benefits programs on the market. Below we compare the key benefits of Visa Signature® cards to cards with World Elite Mastercard® benefits. The World Elite Mastercard® program is the biggest rival in terms of premium additional benefits programs you can receive with credit cards.

The Visa Signature® program offers more options in travel protections, food, shopping and jewelry discounts, and car service when compared to the World Elite Mastercard® program which offers more luxury hotels and sports discounts.

 

Visa Signature®

World Elite Mastercard®

24/7 concierge

Trip cancellation insurance

Price protection

Extended warranty

Auto rental collision damage waiver

Roadside Dispatch®

Travel and emergency assistance services

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Global Entry statement credit

Trip delay reimbursement

Travel accident insurance

Baggage Delay Reimbursement

Lounge Access

850+

None at this time

Luxury hotels

900+

2,000+

Free shipping

Limited to select retailers

140+ retailers with ShopRunner

Clothing discounts

Levi's, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Macy's, Bass Factory Outlet, Wilsons Leather, Teva, Haggar Clothing Co., UGG

None at this tim

Jewelry discounts

Ross-Simons, Tourneau

None at this time

Food discounts

Domino's Pizza, Auntie Anne's, Pizza Hut, Omaha Steaks

The Dining Program

Wine Experiences

Taste of Sonoma

Mastercard Wine Privileges

Sports discounts

Troon Rewards®

PGA TOUR Player Experience, private club tee times, BOGO golf school

Car service

GroundLink, Silvercar, Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental, ExecuCar, Royal Hawaiian Limousine, SuperShuttle, Sixt Rent a Car / Sixt Rent a Truck

None at this time

Cards that Offer Visa Signature® Benefits

There are dozens of cards that offer Visa Signature® benefits, and below we list the personal and business cards that you can apply for to take advantage of the numerous perks mentioned earlier. As a reminder, the benefits mentioned above may come with the cards listed below, check with your issuer to see if your card is covered and to learn more about your specific card benefits.

Personal Cards

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, 1% back on other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

15.49%-23.49%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Amazon’s secure website

Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Rewards

1.5 points per dollar spent

Regular Purchase APR

16.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Premium Rewards<sup>®</sup> Credit Card

Annual fee

$95 For First Year

$95 Ongoing

Rewards

2 points on travel, 2 points on dining, 1.5 points on all other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

17.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® credit card from Bank of America

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-24.24%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Quicksilver<sup>®</sup> Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards

Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Rewards

Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

13.24%-23.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Nordstrom Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Rewards

2 points per dollar spent in stores and online at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club, 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else

Regular Purchase APR

11.90%-23.90%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Nordstrom’s secure website

Wounded Warrior Project USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Rewards

1 point per dollar on every day purchases

Regular Purchase APR

12.15%-27.15%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on USAA Bank’s secure website

USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature®

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

1.5% cash back on every purchase

Regular Purchase APR

13.15%-27.15%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on USAA Bank’s secure website

Disabled American Veterans USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Rewards

1 point per dollar on every day purchases

Regular Purchase APR

12.15%-27.15%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on USAA Bank’s secure website

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases. Spending limits may apply.

Regular Purchase APR

15.24%-24.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on U.S. Bank’s secure website

Business Cards

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Spark<sup>®</sup> Cash for Business

Annual fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Cashback Rate

Unlimited 2% cash back

Regular Purchase APR

18.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Spark<sup>®</sup> Cash Select for Business

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Unlimited 1.5% cash back

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-22.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Annual fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards

Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

18.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

Annual fee

$0

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-22.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Cards

Deserve Edu Mastercard Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

deserve edu mastercard review
iStock

Finding a credit card in college can be a complicated experience — there are plenty of cards available to choose from, but you may lack the credit history required to qualify. There’s a new crop of cards out there that are specifically targeting college students who have a thin credit file and may not qualify for most credit products.

The Deserve Edu Mastercard is one of the better options out there if you’re a college student looking to build credit. You can qualify for this card with no credit history, giving you better approval odds than some other cards from major banks that require fair or excellent credit. And as an added perk, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

But is the Deserve card the best choice for you? We’ll cover that and more in this review.

Deserve Edu Mastercard

APPLY NOW Secured

on Deserve’s secure website

Deserve Edu Mastercard

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
1% on all purchases
Regular Purchase APR
19.99%

Variable

Credit required
zero-credit
New to Credit

What is Deserve?

Deserve is a financial technology company that has the goal of providing credit to underserved people, mainly Millennials and Gen Z with little to no credit history. Founded in 2013, Deserve’s original purpose was to help international students obtain credit, and since then, they have expanded to target all college students in the U.S. and the general market in getting credit. Deserve credit cards are characterized by their straightforward terms and their general openness to accept consumers with no credit history.

What it takes to qualify

To qualify for the Deserve Edu Mastercard, you must be either a U.S. resident, permanent U.S. citizen, or an international student enrolled in a U.S. college or university.

When you submit an application for the card and use your .edu email address, your application may be processed faster than using a personal email. That’s not to say that using a personal email will hurt your approval odds, however.

In addition to your education information, Deserve asks applicants the usual information credit card companies ask for — like your contact information, address, and financial information, such as whether you’re employed and your primary source of income. This income can be from a full- or part-time job, family/allowance, trust/inheritance, investment account, or other source. This information is required so Deserve can see if you have the means to pay your bills. A lack of income doesn’t paint a strong picture of your ability to pay bills, but isn’t the sole factor deciding your eligibility.

Don’t worry if you lack credit history. It isn’t required to qualify. However, Deserve does require you to authorize that they can review your credit history. This may be used as part of the decision process so they can assess any credit products you may have and to prevent fraud. It’s not a bad thing if no credit comes up in their review.

Fees and other fine print

  • $0 Annual fee: There is no annual fee for this card, allowing you to reap the rewards of the cash back program and build credit without paying to carry the card.
  • Decent variable APR: You should pay close attention to the APR with any credit card you consider. That’s how much you’ll pay in interest fees if you carry a balance on your card from month to month and it can make borrowing money from a credit card really expensive. The APR for this card is 19.99% variable (variable means it can change at any time), and when compared to other student cards, this is actually on the lower side — there are student cards that go up to 24.99% variable.
  • No deposit: People with thin credit files have usually had few options to build credit, one of which is a secured card, which requires you to put down a cash deposit. Since the Deserve Card is an unsecured card, however, no deposit is required for you to open the card.
  • $5,000 max credit limit. The maximum credit limit you can receive is$5,000. Keep in mind the importance of paying down your credit card every month, because that carries a lot of impact when it comes to your credit score. Ideally, strive to never carry a balance of more than 20% of your total available card limit.
  • 1% cash back: There is a cash back program where you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases. This is a sub par rate, but considering that this is a student card and your main purpose is to build credit, this is a decent perk.
  • Reimbursement for up to $49 of an Amazon Prime subscription: To sweeten the deal for card members, Deserve will reimburse you up to $49 for your Amazon Prime subscription. That’s just enough to cover the whole cost of an Amazon student prime plan. With the student plan, you can receive free 2-day shipping, rent textbooks, access Amazon Music streaming, Prime Video, and more. Upon approval for the Deserve Edu Mastercard, register for Amazon Prime with your card and you’ll either receive a $49 statement credit if you chose the annual plan, or monthly credits of $5.49 if you choose to sign up for the monthly payment plan (for a lifetime total of a $49 credit) to pay for your Amazon prime membership.

The Bottom Line: Is this the right card for me?

The Deserve Edu Mastercard reports to the major credit reporting agencies, allowing you to establish and build credit. Paying your bills on time and in full will allow you to build credit and your credit report will reflect your positive behavior. Note that any missed or late payments will also be reflected on your credit report — so be sure to set payment alerts and stay on top of your spending.

This card benefits students who have no credit history, since Deserve doesn’t require you to have any credit. Compared to other student cards that require fair or average credit, the Deserve Edu Mastercard has a leg up, allowing those who are just beginning their credit journey the chance to qualify.

However, if you’re a student with a fair or better credit score , you may qualify for a better student card that offers more perks and possibly a better rewards program. Check out our guide to the best student credit cards to see what other options are out there.

Tips to build credit while you’re in college

While you’re in college you have a great opportunity to build credit and set yourself up to have a good or higher credit score upon graduation.

Here are some tips to follow so your credit score can rise:

  1. Pay on time: Perhaps the simplest rule, paying on time is a great way to build credit. In fact, your payment history is the single-biggest factor in your credit score. Some cards allow you to set up autopay, and on those that don’t, calendar alerts are an easy way to stay on top of payments.
  2. Pay your statement balance in full each month: Coupled with timely payments, paying your entire balance, not just the minimum due prevents you from accruing interest on overdue balances.
  3. Don’t max out your card: Credit card utilization is a large factor in determining your credit score. Utilization is the ratio of the amount of credit you’ve used and the amount of credit that’s available. So if you have a $1,000 credit line and have spent $200, then your utilization is 20%. We recommend keeping a utilization at or below 20%. Maxing out your card shows that you’re a risk and can hurt your credit score and future credit approval odds.
  4. Don’t take out unneeded cards: It may be tempting to apply for a card at your favorite store or because the rewards program looks good, but don’t take out unnecessary credit cards. Your goal as a student is to build credit, not maximize rewards — that comes after you’ve earned a good credit score.
  5. Check your credit score monthly: Many issuers provide your updated credit score for free on a monthly basis; if not there are sites that provide it for free. Checking your score regularly is a great way to stay on top of any credit changes and track your progress. We have a comprehensive guide for you to see where you can get your credit score for free.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

TAGS:

Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Cards

Capital One Credit Cards

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Capital One offers a total of 13 credit cards with 8 cards for consumer use and 5 for business use. There are cards to suit all types of people from cards that earn cash back or miles, to cards for students and people building credit, to cards with 0% intro periods that can help you pay off debt without accumulating interest. If you lack excellent credit, Capital One has several cards for people who have average credit or are beginning their credit journey.

A great feature that Capital One has is prequalification. This allows you to check if you may qualify for one of their credit cards by performing a soft pull on your credit. And don’t worry, this does not affect your credit score. Keep in mind prequalification is not a credit application, and does not guarantee approval. Check to see if you prequalify for any Capital One cards here.

In this roundup, we are going to discuss each card that Capital One provides (not including co-branded cards) as well as features all Capital One cards have.

Cash Back Cards

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Quicksilver<sup>®</sup> Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like

  • $0 Annual Fee: You don’t need to pay a fee to have this card.
  • Straightforward cash back program: There are no changing categories to activate or keep track of with this card. You simply earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everyday.
  • Competitive new cardmember offer: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • No redemption minimum: You can redeem cash back at anytime, which gives this card a leg up to competing cards who require you to reach a certain cash back amount before redeeming.
  • Visa Signature® perks: This card provides numerous benefits through Visa Signature® including complimentary concierge service, shopping discounts, travel upgrades and more.

What we don’t like

  • Below average cash back rate: This card has a lower cash back rate than other cards on the market. We consider 2% cash back ideal and have an all inclusive list of the best cash back cards for every category that can earn you up to 6% cash back on select categories.

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card can be a good choice for people with excellent credit that want a decent flat-rate cash back card without rewards. Although the cash back rate isn’t the highest in the market, you receive other perks that can make this card worthwhile such as Visa Signature® benefits.

Rewards breakdown

With the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everyday. Cash back can be redeemed in a variety of ways: statement credit, check, gift cards, and more. A convenient way to redeem cash back as a statement credit is using the automatic redemption feature. Doing so allows you to redeem cash back either at a set time each year, or when a specific threshold is hit ($25, $50, $100 or $200). Note that redemption for gift cards and certain other options may vary and are subject to change at any time.

In addition to a cash back program, there is a new cardmember offer where you can earn a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers for 9 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

At nine months, the 0% intro period for balance transfers and purchases is short compared to other cards in the market that can have intro periods as long as 24 months.

However, this is one of few intro periods that Capital One offers, so if you’re looking to transfer a balance or pay off a large purchase like a TV or mattress, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card can provide you the time to rid yourself of debt without being charged interest.

Transferring a balance does come with a 3% fee. For example, if you transfer $1,000 you will incur a $30 fee — but this could easily be outweighed by the interest you save during the 0% intro period. After the intro period ends, a 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable) APR applies. This is in line with other Capital One credit cards and other cards in the market.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$39
Cashback Rate
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

What we like about this card

  • Accepts people with average credit: You can qualify for this card if you have average credit. So if you have defaulted on a loan in the past 5 years or have limited credit history, there’s a chance you may qualify.
  • Simple cash back program: No need to worry about rotating bonus categories or activation, this card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everyday. And, cash back can be redeemed at anytime, for any amount.
  • Platinum Mastercard® benefits: You can take advantage of numerous Platinum Mastercard® benefits including travel accident insurance, 24/7 travel and roadside assistances, and more.

What we don’t like about this card

  • $39 Annual fee: Although this is one of the lowest annual fees on the market, it is still a fee. You will need to spend $2,600 to earn enough cash back to pay for the fee each year.
  • Sub par cash back rate: You earn a lower cash back rate than competing cards in the market. We consider at least 2% cash back ideal and have a list of the best cash back cards for every category that can earn you up to 6% cash back on select categories.

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good option for people with average credit who want to earn cash back and don’t mind a $39 annual fee. You may have a better chance qualifying for this card than other Capital One cards that require excellent credit.

Rewards breakdown

With the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. You have the flexibility to redeem cash back as a statement credit, check, gift card, and more. Redemption for gift cards and select other options may vary and are subject to change at any time.

There is an automatic redemption option for redeeming cash back as a statement credit, where you can either have it redeem at a set time each year, or when a you hit a specific amount ($25, $50, $100 or $200).

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee:None

This card is very basic and doesn’t have any intro periods. If you want to save interest during an intro period, look to other cards on this list such as the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, but keep in mind that card requires excellent credit.

Dining Cash Back Cards

Capital One® Savor℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One® Savor℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
3% on dining, 2% on groceries, 1% on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
15.74%-24.49%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: There is no annual fee to worry about.
  • High cash back on dining: You can earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on all other purchases. This rate for dining is great and can allow you to maximize cash back.
  • New cardmember offer: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Redeem cash back for any amount: You have the freedom to redeem your cash back at anytime and for any amount.
  • World Elite Mastercard® benefits: Access helpful perks and services such as complimentary concierge service, baggage delay and trip insurances, and more.

What we like about this card

  • Low cash back rate on everyday purchases: You won’t earn a good rate on typical everyday transactions like gas or department store shopping.
  • Excellent credit required: This card requires that you have an excellent credit standing, so you may not qualify if you have been late on payments recently or for various other factors.

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® SavorSM Cash Rewards Credit Card is great for foodies who are constantly dining out, since you benefit from the higher cash back rate on those purchases. There is a $0 annual fee, so you don’t have to pay for keeping this card in your wallet.

Rewards breakdown

The Capital One® SavorSM Cash Rewards Credit Card allows you to earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on all other purchases. This is a competitive rate on dining purchases (however not as high as other cards on the market that can earn 4%). Cash back can be redeemed in multiple ways: as a statement credit, check, gift card, and more. Note: redemptions for gift cards and select other options may vary and are subject to change at any time.

Capital One makes it simple to redeem cash back. You can set up automatic redemption at a set time each year or at a specific threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200). This card has a competitive new cardmember bonus: earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for 9 months; 15.49%-24.49% variable APR after that
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers for 9 months; 15.49%-24.49% variable APR after that
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%

The 0% intro period for purchases and balance transfers is below average at 9 months, however it is one of few Capital One cards with any intro period. If you plan on transferring a balance, there is a 3% fee. For example, transferring a balance of $2,000 will incur a $60 fee. This fee is often miniscule compared to the amount you save on interest during the intro period. You can use the intro period as a way to pay for new purchases like a laptop over time. Once the intro period ends, a 15.49% - 24.49% (Variable) APR applies.

Travel Cards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards
Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-24.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • High rewards rate: This card has one of the highest flat-rate rewards for a travel card where you earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. This is a great way for you to maximize cash back.
  • New cardmember offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Visa Signature® benefits: You can access special benefits such as shopping discounts, travel upgrades and savings, and more.

What we don’t like about this card

  • Annual fee: This card comes with an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that. Although not as high as competitor’s annual fees, it is still a fee.
  • Excellent credit required: Unfortunately you have a lower chance of qualifying for this card with anything but excellent credit as Capital One states on their website excellent credit is required.

Who should consider this card

People who spend over $8,000 a year will benefit from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card’s high rewards rate. By spending this amount, you will see increased benefit over the $0 annual fee Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card.

Rewards breakdown

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. This is a great flat-rate for all spending. Miles can be redeemed in several ways: as a statement credit towards the cost of travel expenses via Purchase Eraser®, to book new travel on the Rewards Center, or for a check, account credit, gift card and more. Travel purchases eligible for Purchase Eraser® include: airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares. You must make your redemptions within 90 days from the date your travel purchase posts to your account.

You can benefit from the new cardmember offer: earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

There are no intro periods for this card, not making it ideal for people looking to transfer a balance or make a large purchase. If you want to utilize a 0% intro period, check out the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card with 0% intro on purchases for 12 months.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards
Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
13.24%-23.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: There is no fee for this card to set you back from earning miles.
  • New cardmember offer: Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Visa Signature® benefits: You can access special benefits such as complimentary concierge service, travel upgrades and savings, and more.

What we don’t like about this card

Who should consider this card

If you’re someone who typically spends less than $8,000 a year, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is a good choice. At this yearly spending amount, you will be better off with this $0 annual fee travel rewards card from Capital One than the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card with a $0 intro fee for first year; $95 after that.

Rewards breakdown

With the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, you can earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. You can redeem miles in a variety of ways from a statement credit towards the cost of travel expenses via Purchase Eraser®, to book new travel on the Rewards Center, for a check, account credit, gift card and more. Capital One classifies travel purchases eligible for Purchase Eraser® as: airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares. Redemptions must be made within 90 days from the date your travel purchase posts to your account.

New cardmembers can take advantage of this offer: earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for 12 months; 12.99%-22.99% variable APR after that
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

This card offers the longest intro period for any Capital One card at 0% intro on purchases for 12 months. This provides you a year to pay off new purchases such as a flat-screen TV without accruing interest and can be a great way to avoid falling into debt. Make sure you don’t carry a balance once the intro period is over, so you avoid the regular purchase APR of 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable). There is no balance transfer intro period for this card.

Student Cards

Journey<sup>®</sup> Student Rewards from Capital One<sup>®</sup>

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Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
Regular Purchase APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: Students don’t need to fork over any money to have this card in their wallets.
  • Good incentive to pay on time: Students will earn a 25% bonus on cash back on purchases when they pay on time. This is a great way to encourage good credit behavior.
  • Visa® Platinum benefits: Access numerous perks like 24-hour travel assistant services, travel accident insurance and more.
  • Provides the chance to establish credit: This card provides the foundation for students to begin their credit journey. With proper management, students can be on their way to a healthy credit report.

What we don’t like about this card

  • Low cash back rate: Yes, this card has a low cash back rate compared to other cards — but the goal of this card isn’t to earn rewards. It’s to build credit, so this shouldn’t be a major factor in your decision.

Who should consider this card

Students looking to establish credit can benefit from the incentives of the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. This card encourages students to pay on time, allowing them to get in good credit habits.

Rewards breakdown

This card offers a unique rewards program, targeted towards teaching students proper credit behavior. You can earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month. Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit or check. Statement credits can automatically be redeemed at a specific time or threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200). Other redemption options include gift cards and more. Note that redemption values for these options may vary and are subject to change without notice.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

This card is predominately for students looking to build credit, and as a result doesn’t offer any intro periods.

Cards for Building Credit

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

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Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Regular Purchase APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: You can build credit without paying for this card.
  • Average credit required: People who have defaulted on a loan in the past 5 years or have limited credit history have favorable odds to qualify for this card.
  • Access a higher credit line: If you make your first 5 monthly payments on time, you may receive a higher credit line with Credit Steps.
  • Platinum Mastercard® benefits: Receive various benefits like auto rental insurance, 24-hour roadside assistance, travel accident insurance and more.

What we don’t like about this card

  • No rewards program: This card lacks a rewards program, but this isn’t a major downfall since your goal is to build a good credit history. The prospect of rewards could tempt you into debt, so no rewards isn’t the worst thing.

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is a good option for people looking to build credit. There are no rewards to tempt you into overspending, and the Credit Steps program provides a great way for you to access a higher credit line.

Rewards breakdown

There are no rewards for this card — it’s main purpose is to build credit.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

This card has no intro periods and is mainly designed for people looking to rebuild their credit. You may need to improve your credit score before you can qualify for a card that has a 0% intro period.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

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Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$49
Regular Purchase APR
24.99%

Variable

Credit required
zero-credit
Rebuilding

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: You can build credit with this card without paying an annual fee.
  • Potentially low minimum deposit: The security deposit is either $49, $99 or $200 refundable deposit based on your creditworthiness.
  • $200 line of credit: Even if your minimum deposit is $49 or $99, you will receive a $200 credit line.
  • Access a higher credit line: After making your first 5 monthly payments on time, you may get access to a higher credit line with Credit Steps — all with no additional deposit needed.
  • Automatic account reviews: Capital One will automatically review your account to see if you can be switched to an unsecured card. They look at various credit activities at undisclosed times to see your eligibility.

What we don’t like about this card

  • No timeline for transition to an unsecured card: Capital One doesn’t clarify when they will perform the automatic reviews of your account, so you don’t know when you may receive notification of your upgrade to an unsecured card.

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good option for people who are new to credit or looking to rebuild their credit. Capital One provides you the opportunity to earn a higher credit limit and possibly be transitioned to an unsecured card.

Rewards breakdown

There are no rewards for this card. Most secured cards don’t provide rewards anyways.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

Similar to most secured cards, there are no 0% intro periods for this card. The goal for this card is to establish good credit history so you can later qualify for unsecured cards.

Business Cards

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

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Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase for your business
Regular Purchase APR
24.24%

Variable

Credit required
fair-credit
Average

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: You’re business doesn’t have to pay to use this card.
  • Free employee cards: Getting cards for your employees doesn’t cost you anything.
  • Visa® Business benefits: There are many perks available including shopping discounts, roadside dispatch, travel accident insurance and more.
  • Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits: Access numerous perks including additional warranty protection, downloadable purchase records, quarterly and year-end summary, Spark BusinessSM customer service representatives, and more.
  • Visa® SavingsEdge: When you shop with your enrolled Visa business card at participating merchants you can save up to 15%. Visit
    www.visasavingsedge.com for details.
  • Average credit required: Businesses that don’t have the best credit may qualify for this card more than others that require excellent credit.

What we don’t like about this card

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is a good option for businesses with average credit that want to simplify business purchases and earn cash back. You don’t earn the highest cash back rate, but the additional Visa® Business benefits and Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits add value to this card.

Rewards breakdown

The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business has a basic cash back program where you earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase for your business, with no minimum to redeem. You can redeem cash back as a statement credit, check, gift cards and more. A simple way to redeem for a statement credit is by setting up automatic redemptions. You can either set redemptions at a specific time or threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200). Redemption values other than statement credit and check may vary and are subject to change without notice.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

There is no intro period for this card so if your business wants to utilize a 0% intro period for purchases, look to the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business or the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business.

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Spark<sup>®</sup> Cash for Business

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Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Cashback Rate
Unlimited 2% cash back
Regular Purchase APR
18.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • Free employee cards: You can take out needed employee cards at no additional cost.
  • New Cardmember Cash Bonus: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Visa® Business benefits: There are numerous benefits this card provides your business from travel and emergency assistance services to roadside dispatch, and more.
  • Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits: Capital One offers other Spark BusinessSM cardholder perks including additional warranty protection, downloadable purchase records, quarterly and year-end summary, Spark BusinessSM customer service representatives, and more.
  • Visa® SavingsEdge: You can save up to 15% at participating merchant when you use your card. Visit www.visasavingsedge.com for details.

What we don’t like about this card

  • Annual fee: There is a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, for this card, and although it isn’t the highest among all business cards, but you can find cards without annual fees.

Who should consider this card

Businesses that want to earn the most cash back possible should look to the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. This card earns a fantastic cash back rate on all purchases that can allow your business to maximize earnings, and provides helpful Visa® Business and Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits.

Rewards breakdown

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business earns unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. This is a rare flat-rate for business cards. Cash back can be redeemed in several ways: statement credit, check, gift cards and more. You can redeem for a statement credit automatically at either a specific time or threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200). The other redemption options vary in value and are subject to change without notice.

New card members can earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Since this card has no intro period, if you want to make a large purchase and pay it off over several months, check out the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business, which is also a cash back card and offers 0% on purchases for 9 months (13.99% - 21.99% (Variable) after the intro period ends).

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Spark<sup>®</sup> Cash Select for Business

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Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Annual fee
$0
Cashback Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-22.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • $0 Annual fee: There is no fee for this card, allowing your business to save money.
  • Free employee cards: Taking out employee cards comes at no extra cost.
  • New Cardmember Cash Bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Visa® Business benefits: You can benefit from auto rental collision damage waiver, entertainment discounts, travel and emergency assistance services and more.
  • Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits: You can take advantage of various benefits such as additional warranty protection, downloadable purchase records, quarterly and year-end summary, Spark BusinessSM customer service representatives, and more.
  • Visa® SavingsEdge: Save up to 15% when you use your card to shop at participating merchants. Visit www.visasavingsedge.com for details.

What we don’t like about this card

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business can earn your business a decent amount of cash back, all with a $0 annual fee. This is great for businesses looking to be rewarded for purchases but don’t want to pay for a card. Your business can take advantage of the numerous Visa® Business and Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits.

Rewards breakdown

The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business earns unlimited 1.5% cash back. There is flexibility in how you redeem your cash back. You can redeem for statement credit, check, gift cards and more. Statement credit redemptions can be automated at a specific time or threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200). Redemptions other than statement credit and check vary in value and are subject to change without notice.

In addition to a cash back program, there is a new cardmember bonus: earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 9 months; 13.99%-21.99% variable APR after that
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

There is a decent intro period of 0% on purchases for 9 months than can provide you with the time to pay off any new purchases your business may make such as company phones or laptops. After the intro period is over, an interest rate of 13.99% - 21.99% (Variable) applys. Note that there is no intro balance transfer offer.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

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Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards
Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
18.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • Free employee cards: Take out any needed cards for your employees since they come at no additional cost.
  • New Cardmember Bonus Miles: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Visa® Business benefits: This card has many benefits as a Visa® Business card ranging from travel and emergency assistance services to lost luggage reimbursement, and more.
  • Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits: Utilize various benefits such as additional warranty protection, downloadable purchase records, quarterly and year-end summary, Spark BusinessSM customer service representatives, and more.
  • Visa® SavingsEdge: Shopping with your card at participating merchants you can save up to 15%. Visit www.visasavingsedge.com for details.

What we don’t like about this card

  • Miles can’t be transferred: Miles earned with this card cannot be transferred to frequent travel programs.

Who should consider this card

If your business travels frequently and wants to earn miles, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card can earn you a great rate. The annual fee is something to consider, but can be worth it. Visa® Business and Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits provide extra value to this card.

Rewards breakdown

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business earns unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. This is a competitive rewards rate for business travel cards.

You can redeem miles for past travel purchases using Purchase Eraser® via an account credit. You must make redemptions within 90 days from the date your travel purchase posts to your account. Typically you receive your credit within two to three business days after the redemption.

Another way to redeem for travel is to book new travel reservations at capitalone.com or by contacting the Rewards Center. You can redeem for flights, car rentals or hotel stays by paying with your miles. Take note that the number of miles needed for travel redemption varies based on cost. To calculate out how much a trip will cost in miles, multiply the cost of your travel purchase by 100. For example, if your travel purchase costs $600, you’d multiply that by 100 and therefore determine you need 60,000 miles to redeem.

Eligible travel purchases for Purchase Eraser® include airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares. Other redemption options include check or account credit, gift cards and more. Rates for these other redemption options vary and are subject to change without notice.

You can also earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: None
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

This card doesn’t provide any intro periods, therefore if your business wants to utilize a 0% intro period for purchases, look to the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business which is a comparable travel rewards card.

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

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Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

Annual fee
$0
Rewards
Unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Regular Purchase APR
14.24%-22.24%

Variable

Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

What we like about this card

  • Free employee cards: You can take out needed employee cards at no additional cost.
  • New Cardmember Bonus Miles: Earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles – equal to $200 in travel – once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Visa® Business benefits: There are numerous perks ranging from roadside dispatch to lost luggage reimbursement to travel accident insurance and more.
  • Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits: Capital One provides benefits to help your business including additional warranty protection, downloadable purchase records, quarterly and year-end summary, Spark BusinessSM customer service representatives, and more.
  • Visa® SavingsEdge: Use your card to shop at participating merchants and save up to 15%. Visit www.visasavingsedge.com for details.

What we don’t like about this card

  • Miles can’t be transferred: The miles you earn with this card aren’t eligible to be transferred to frequent travel programs.

Who should consider this card

The Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business is a good card for businesses that want to earn miles and have a $0 annual fee. Businesses looking for additional perks can see value in the various Visa® Business and Spark BusinessSM cardholder benefits.

Rewards breakdown

The Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business earns 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day.

Miles can be redeemed for past travel purchases using Purchase Eraser® for an account credit. Redemptions must be completed within 90 days from the date your travel purchase posts to your account. Generally, you receive your credit within two to three business days after the redemption.

You can also book new travel reservations with miles at capitalone.com or by contacting the Rewards Center. Travel reservations include flights, car rentals and hotel stays. The number of miles needed for travel redemption varies based on cost. To calculate out how much a trip will cost in miles, multiply the cost of your travel purchase by 100. For example, if your travel purchase costs $500, you’d multiply that by 100 and therefore determine you need 50,000 miles to redeem.

Travel purchases that can be used for Purchase Eraser® include airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and timeshares. Additional redemption options include check or account credit, gift cards and more. Rates for these other redemption options vary and are subject to change without notice.

Earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles – equal to $200 in travel – once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 9 months; 13.99%-21.99% variable APR after that
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: None

This card offers 0% on purchases for 9 months which is a decent amount of time for your business to pay off any new purchases like printers or computers. After the intro period, you will be charged interest ranging from 13.99% - 21.99% (Variable). There is no intro balance transfer period for this card.

Key features of all Capital One cards

All Capital One cards have the following features — some that add significant value when compared to competing cards. There is no foreign transaction fee for Capital One cards. A foreign transaction fee is a fee many cards have that ranges from 2 - 5% of each transaction made outside the U.S. Since Capital One cards don’t have this fee, you save a lot of money when using this card abroad compared to other cards.

Capital One offers CreditWise®, a free credit dashboard available to everyone regardless if you’re a cardholder or not. With CreditWise®, you can view your VantageScore 3.0® credit score provided by TransUnion®. You can even sign up for alerts when your TransUnion® credit report changes as a result of inquiries, delinquent accounts and more.

In regards to the cash advance fee and late payment fees, Capital One has similar fees to other issuers. A cash advance fee is incurred when you withdraw money with your credit card. A point to remember is that interest starts accruing immediately with cash advances so it’s strongly recommended to avoid taking a cash advance if possible. A late payment fee will occur if you miss a payment. The fee typically is up to $35.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Uber Visa Card Review: Uber’s First Credit Card Offers a Lot for Millennials to Love

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

The rumors were true. Uber’s making the leap from the smartphone in your pocket to the wallet in, well, your other pocket.

The ride-hailing company has teamed up with Barclaycard, the credit card division of UK-based Barclays PLC, to launch what is shaping up to be an excellent no-fee rewards credit card for millennials, urbanites and business travelers alike. The new offering, dubbed the Uber Visa Card, will be available nationwide Nov. 2.

Uber’s first branded credit card lets cardholders earn 4% back on dining, 3% on hotels and airfare, 2% on online purchases including Uber, online shopping and video and music streaming services, and 1% on most everything else. Individually, the bonus categories are similar to those of a few existing no-fee cards with special category bonuses. But the Uber Visa Card’s 4-3-2-1 cashback rewards structure makes for a leading bonus category rewards credit card.

And that 4% cashback bonus makes the Uber Visa Card a leader in dining rewards.

Heavy Uber-app users need look no further for a cashback offering. However, to get the best bang for their buck, they should pair the Uber Visa Card with a flat-rate 2% cashback card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card or PayPal Cashback Mastercard®.

Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Cashback Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else
Regular Purchase APR
16.24%-24.99%

variable

Part I: Card benefits: At a glance

The Uber Visa Card boasts an impressive 4-3-2-1 rewards program, as described above, in addition to other bonuses. But those aren’t the only perks this car packs. The company is clearly making a play for millennials, with unique benefits like account credits for digital subscription services (a la Netflix or Hulu) and mobile phone protection.

With its rewards package, the Uber Visa Card might could act as bait to convince some millennials to use credit more often. (Recent research shows the generation favors debit and cash for everyday purchases.)

Cashback rewards

The pros

The cons

  • Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and takeout.
  • Unlimited 3% on hotel and airfare
  • Unlimited 2% back on online purchases including Uber.
  • Unlimited 1% back on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 10,000-point bonus, redeemable for $100 cash back, after you spend $500 or more in purchases within the first 90 days after opening an account.
  • Cardholders who spend $5,000 or more per year, are rewarded with a $50 credit to use on digital subscription services.
  • Cardholders who use the card to pay their phone bill each month also get up to $600 for mobile phone supplemental insurance.
  • Cardholders can only redeem up to $500 worth of points per day for Uber Credits and bank deposits.
  • Online limitations to those 2% cash-back rewards.
  • No interest-free balance transfer period.

High rewards for no fee

The Uber Visa Card grants consumers comparatively lucrative ongoing-bonus-category rewards for no annual fee, and the card charges no foreign transaction fees. That’s rare, even in a market where banks are spending more and more on credit rewards to attract consumers.

The card that comes closest to offering a similar level of bonus rewards is the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM. It earns users an annual $300 travel credit, unlimited triple points on dining and travel, and 1% back on all other purchases. But it charges a hefty $450 annual fee.

If you don’t have an extra $450 in your budget but still want to earn big on dining and travel, the no-fee Uber Visa Card may be the better choice.

Chase Sapphire ReserveSM altered one cardholder perk in January – the lucrative 100,000-point-bonus signup offer. After less than a year on the market, Chase cut back a 100,000-point Ultimate Rewards bonus after spending $4,000 within three months to just 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

An Uber spokesperson tells MagnifyMoney that the Uber Visa Card’s rewards are not temporary, and there are no plans afoot to change them.

It’s important to note the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM does offer other traveler perks like up to $300 in statement credits for travel reimbursements per year, a $100 statement credit for applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and several travel protection benefits. If you use those perks, it may be worth it to you to pay the beefy annual fee for Sapphire.

4% cash back on dining

The Uber Visa Card awards a whopping 4% unlimited cash back on dining, which includes restaurants, cafes, bars and even takeout like UberEATS. The category’s cashback rate leads the industry, beating the Chase AARP Visa and Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, which award only 3% cash back on dining.

The Uber Visa Card also beats the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM's 3x points on dining, since 4% cash back is equivalent to earning 4 points.

As mentioned, the Uber card awards 4% on takeout, too, and millennial cardholders may enjoy this perk the most. According to a recent Bankrate report, the average millennial dines out or orders in five times a week. The average member of the avocado toast generation spends about $233 on both dine in and take out meals, compared to just $182 a month for older generations. If a cardholder spends a weekly $233 on dining, he or she will earn about $9.32 a week, or $484.64 in cash back annually.

3% cash back on hotel and airfare

Cardholders earn 3% cash back on hotel and airfare purchases made using the Uber Visa Card. Another bonus for millennials: Cash back applies to vacation home rental services, like Airbnb.

According to travel website Hipmunk, nearly three-fourths of millennial travelers have used a vacation rental service like Airbnb while traveling for work, compared to only 38% of Gen-Y and 20% of Boomers. And, about 81% of millennial travelers said they would add extra time to business trip to make some room for leisure.

While Uber’s 3% offer on airfare and hotels is a good offer for the average frequent flyer, consumers can find the same deal with some other no-fee cards, like the AAA Member Rewards Visa, Chase Sapphire ReserveSM and Costco Anywhere Visa.

Beware: Although it offers the same amount of cash back on travel, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM technically beats out the Uber Visa Card when cardholders use their points for travel rewards.

With Uber, 1 point = $0.01, but if users redeem points using the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal 1 point = $.015, so your points go about 50% further with Chase, allowing cardholders to purchase more with the same point value. Put another way: A 50,000-point bonus is really worth $750, instead of $500.

Up to $50 streaming credit bonus

Here’s a perk you won’t find on many rewards cards these days.

If a cardholder spends $5,000 or more in a cardmembership year — the 12 consecutive months following your account's anniversary date — he or she stands to earn up to $50 for digital streaming purchases. Cardholders can earn the subscription credit each year.

The $50 credit is automatically applied as a statement credit for eligible digital subscription services once the cardholder meets the $5,000 spending threshold. If the cardholder hasn’t made $50 worth of eligible purchases by the time he/she spends $5,000, the result is a statement credit for any new eligible digital subscription services charged to the card up to $50.

Cardholders can track their progress toward the annual spending threshold on BarclaycardUS.com.

Up to $600 worth of mobile phone insurance coverage

When cardholders use their Uber Visa Card to pay for their monthly wireless bill, they receive up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft for each phone listed on the wireless account. Coverage begins one month after the first bill was charged to the Uber Visa Card.

Depending on the kind of coverage a cardholder currently has through a carrier, those who take advantage of this perk could save a good chunk of money. Those under one of the four major carriers could see savings of $7 to $15 a month for a single device or up to $35 a month to cover up to three devices on one account.

There is a $25 deductible to use the protection. After that is paid, the protection covers up to $600 per claim on up to two claims in a 12-month period. If the phone has to be replaced, the protection awards the suggested retail value of the replacement phone, up to the $600 maximum per claim.

2% cash back on online purchases

The Uber Visa Card pays cardholders 2% cash back on online shopping, purchases made through Uber, video and music streaming services and online services like Instacart and TaskRabbit.

The cool thing about this perk is that cardholders can earn cash back on subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify. Millennials, the leaders of the cord-cutting movement, will likely benefit by simply “setting and forgetting” their Uber Visa Card to pay for their favorite streaming services.

Update: Barclaycard sent cardholders an email Dec. 5 saying "using a third party payment method including PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay will now earn 2% back." Take note: Using a credit card to make a person-to-person (P2P) transfer often carries a fee of about 3% of the transaction. Be sure to review the cards terms & conditions for details.

The 2% cash back on online purchases is good, but the bonus category offer isn't a leading rate. Consumers who don’t do all their shopping online could benefit more from cashback options that earn double points on all purchases, not just those made online, like the Citi® Double Cash Card, Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, or PayPal Cashback Mastercard®.

1% cashback on all other purchases

The Uber Visa Card still rewards spending if you don’t purchase in one of the bonus categories,. The card rewards cardholders 1% back on all other purchases, so it’s a good go-to card for everyday purchases, in addition to bonus-category buys. The 1% offer isn’t very competitive, as there are many existing cards that offer 2% on all purchases, but it ensures cardholders earn at least a little something on everything they buy with the Uber Visa Card.

Part II: Applying for the Uber Visa Card

The Uber Visa Card opens for applications Nov. 2. Interested applicants can apply for the unsecured rewards card online or directly through the Uber phone app and see an approval within minutes. The in-app application may be more of a win for Uber than for millennials, but it makes the application process easy for anyone who already has the Uber app, so may appeal to digital natives, too.

Once the application is approved, the card is made available for use immediately on rides and UberEATS purchases made through the Uber application on the cardholder’s mobile device. Cardholders should receive a physical card in the mail within 1 - 2 weeks of approval.

What it takes to qualify

Borrowers with higher credit scores are more likely to qualify for the lower interest rates, while those with lower scores are likely to qualify for the higher APR. At this time, there is not a way for applicants to check to see if they prequalify.

This card is best for ...

The Uber Visa Card is best for the regular Uber customer who dines out often, frequently travels for work, handles most shopping and bill paying online, and pays his/her balance in full each month. The unsecured rewards credit card’s features will likely hold the most appeal for traveling business people and city-dwelling millennials.

Consumers who spend heavily on dining, travel and online purchases would have the best shot at maximizing the Uber Visa Card’s rewards offers. However, the benefit is canceled out if a user carries a balance, thanks to a high interest charge on purchases.

Uber loyalists will benefit most from Uber app-centric perks like the ability to manage and redeem point using the app, and redeem rewards for Uber Credits for Uber rides and UberEATS.

Again, millennials may reap the greatest reward here as they more likely to use ride-hailing services like Uber on a regular basis. According to Pew Research, 7% of all 18- to 29-year-olds use ride-hailing on a daily or weekly basis; that figure rises to 10% among 18- to 29-year-olds living in urban areas.

Depending on how much an Uber app user spends and how often Uber gets used.

Those who aren’t frequent users of Uber’s app may benefit from earning cash back on spending in the card’s bonus categories, but may not realize as much value in the various app-centric perks.

Part III: Redeeming rewards

Cardholders can redeem cash back via Uber credits, gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit. Cardholders can start redeeming cash back for Uber credits once their cashback balance reaches $5, or 500 points.

As long as the account is active and in good standing, points never expire. The cashback balance must reach $25 before users can access it for gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit.

Cardholders are able to redeem rewards through the Uber app, online through the cardholder portal at BarclaycardUS.com, or by calling the customer service number on the back of the card. Cashback redemption is capped daily at $500.

If there are any authorized users on the card, they can earn and redeem points for gift cards and cash back, but not for Uber credits. Each cashback point is equivalent to $0.01 (2,500 points = $25).

How to redeem rewards for Uber credits in the Uber app

Uber lets cardholders directly manage the rewards points they've accumulated for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back through the Uber phone application. Users must first add the Uber Visa Card as a payment method.

Once the card is added, the user will tap on the Barclaycard mobile app menu to see a points balance. After tapping the points balance, the user should be prompted to select the amount to be redeemed.

Uber says the redemption should happen within seconds, but may take up to 24 hours to be applied to the account. The process is demonstrated in the GIF below.

Part IV: Pros and cons

What we like about the Uber Visa Card

No annual fee

The Uber Visa Card charges no annual fee, which is unusual for a card this loaded with rewards and bonuses. Cardholders can make the most of this no-fee rewards card if they charge only items that fall into the bonus rewards categories and pay the balance in full each month.

4-3-2-1 rewards perks

Uber’s card awards holders a high return on most purchases. In addition, rewards are unlimited and never expire. The card’s 4-3-2-1 cashback rewards program is appealing.

No foreign transaction fee

Cardholders can swipe to pay for items and services overseas without incurring foreign transaction fees. The lack of this fee combines with the 3% travel rewards bonus category to make the Uber Visa Card a good travel companion. Purchases made overseas also earn cashback rewards.

Apply directly in the Uber app

Uber’s 40 million active riders won’t need to rush to a computer to apply for the Uber Visa Card once the application opens Nov. 2. They can simply apply through Uber’s phone application. Uber claims users will be able to submit an application and see a decision within minutes on the app. Users can also apply for the Uber Visa Card online.

Immediate access

Approved applications are granted access to the funds immediately. Users can add the card as a payment option in the Uber mobile application for immediate use on rides and UberEATS orders.

Immediate access comes in handy if an applicant is in need of the funds ASAP. But it’s unclear if cardholders will be able to use the card immediately on purchases outside the Uber app, too.

Exclusive access to events and offers

Uber Visa Card users will get exclusive invites to events and offers in select U.S. cities. Uber app users may already be familiar with this perk if they have checked out Uber’s Visa Locals Offers. Cardholders earn Uber credit when they visit participating stores and restaurants if they pay with a Visa card (like the Uber Visa Card). Uber’s banded credit card is a Visa, so cardholders can earn rewards — like 10% Uber rewards if you shop at Whole Foods — plus the regular purchase rewards if they use the Uber Visa Card at checkout.

What to watch out for with the Uber Visa Card

$500 daily redemption limit

Cardholders can only redeem up to $500 worth of points per day on Uber Credits and cash back for a bank deposit. This may prove problematic if one wants to use points to redeem more than $500 in cash back rewards via bank deposit. There is no daily limit for cash back as a statement credit or for gift cards.

2% cash back on online purchases

2% cashback on online purchases is good, but the bonus categories offer isn't a leading rate in itself.

1% cashback on all other purchases

For all other purchases, 1% isn't a very competitive offer.

No interest-free balance transfer period

The Uber Visa Card is not a good option for anyone looking to consolidate credit card debt using a balance transfer. Unlike with the Citi® Double Cash Card, Uber Visa Card cardholders don’t pay 0% interest on balance transfers for a period. The card charges the greater of $10 or 3% of the transfer amount to transfer a balance, followed by the regular 16.24% - 24.99% variable APR the cardholder is charged on all other purchases.

Part V: Alternatives to the Uber Visa Card

Consumers who don’t use Uber, don’t dine out often, don’t travel much or don’t make most of their purchases online may not find the Uber Visa Card’s cashback offer very appealing. While they can still earn a flat 1% cash back on all purchases they won’t be able to benefit much from the card’s bonus categories. Using a flat-rate cashback card with a higher reward, or one that offers a high cashback bonus in a category they use more often, may be beneficial to those consumers.

Flat-rate cashback alternatives

A flat-rate cashback card like the leading Citi® Double Cash Card and Paypal CashBack Mastercard® is a great option for anyone who wants to earn a reward on all purchases without thinking about bonus categories.

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee

$0*

Cashback Rate

1% when you buy, 1% when you pay

Regular Purchase APR

14.74%-24.74%

Variable

The Citi® Double Cash Card is the second-highest no-fee flat-rate cashback credit card on the market. The card awards a first 1% cash back when you spend, and another 1% cash back when you pay. Cardholders receive the first 1% when they make a purchase and the second 1% when they pay at least the minimum payment due on their billing statement from the period, totalling 2% cashback.

The Citi® Double Cash Card offers an 18-month introductory 0% balance transfer offer, too, so it’s a good choice for those seeking to consolidate debt. Borrowers with good or excellent credit scores may be approved for the Citi® Double Cash Card.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

2%

Regular Purchase APR

17.24%-28.24%

Variable

Cardholders with a PayPal Cashback Mastercard® can earn an unlimited, flat 2% cashback on all eligible purchases made using the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® for no annual fee. The card charges slightly higher variable interest rates than the Uber Visa Card — 16.99%, 24.99% or 27.99% — based on creditworthiness. Borrowers with fair, good or excellent credit scores may qualify for the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

Similar to the Uber Visa Card, those approved for the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® can use the card immediately to pay for purchases through PayPal’s online and mobile applications. Cash back can be redeemed to the cardholder’s PayPal balance. From there it can be sent to the user’s bank account or used to send money to peers or make purchases via PayPal.

Fidelity<sup>®</sup> Rewards Visa Signature<sup>®</sup> Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

2% on all spend

Regular Purchase APR

15.24%

Variable

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card earns cardholders 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee. The card is best for existing Fidelity customers, since the cashback earned has to be deposited into a Fidelity account.

Only borrowers with excellent credit should apply for this card. Fidelity also bases its credit limits on the total amount of assets it is managing on a consumer's behalf, so those approved may still be disappointed in the limit they receive if they don’t have much money with Fidelity already.

Bonus category cashback alternatives

Uber doesn’t offer the best cashback rate on airfare and travel. In addition, the bonus categories the Uber Visa Card offers may not appeal to everyone hoping to earn cash back on the purchases they make most.

Best for airfare rewards:

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

-

Regular Purchase APR

9.74%-17.99%

Variable

Cardholders earn an unlimited five points per dollar spent on airline purchases when they pay with the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® card. While the points translate to 5% cash back earned, each point is only worth 0.8 cents, so the reward is actually 4.25% when redeemed for airfare. Regardless, it’s still higher than the 3% a cardholder would ean with the Uber Visa Card.

PenFed Premium cardholders also earn a sign-on bonus of 20,000 bonus points after they spend $2,500 within three months of opening the account. The card does not charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. If you travel often and want to earn more than the Uber Visa Card is offering, the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® card is a solid alternative.

Best for supermarkets and fuel:

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

3% at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 2% at U.S. gas stations & select U.S. department stores, 1% on other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

14.24%-25.24%

Variable

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card is a good alternative for consumers who spend more money on grocery than dining and more running around IRL on gas than making online purchases. The card offers cardholders 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) with no annual fee. In addition to a high cashback rate on groceries, cardholders earn 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases. The card also awards new cardholders a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months following opening of an account.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at brittney@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

The Best Credit Cards for Pet Expenses

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Americans are spending more and more on their pets every year, according to the American Pet Products Association. This year, the association estimates spending will rise to $69.36 billion (up from $66.75 billion in 2016), $16.62 billion of which will go toward veterinarian care (up from $15.95 billion). That means owners may need to prepare to spend more money for their furry family members.

Some vets don’t offer a payment plan directly through their billing office, so applying for a credit card might be your best option to pay for your pet’s medical bills and other expenses (outside of using your savings, borrowing the money from family and friends or crowdsourcing the funds).
The older your pets get, the more likely it is they’ll need medical care, so planning ahead with a pet card can be a good idea. As much as pet owners can try to predict how much they’ll spend on their loved one, it really is impossible to know.

Is a pet-specific credit card a good idea?

A credit card designed for pet health care costs may sound like a great idea, but the truth is, there aren’t many of them. CareCredit is the only card with a specific feature for financing veterinarian bills, and you’ll have to see if your vet accepts it.

The card has a 0% APR promotional offer from six to 24 months, perfect for those who need more time to take care of their pet’s expenses. There are longer financing terms available as well, starting at 24 months and ending at 60 months.

Purchase Amount

CareCredit Financing Options

$1,000 or more

Eligible for a 24-, 36- or 48-month financing
offer with a 14.90% APR

$2,500 or more

Eligible for a 60-month financing offer
with a 16.90% APR

One of the downsides of CareCredit is that it charges deferred interest if you don’t pay off the balance by the time the introductory offer ends. The current standard APR is 26.99%.

If you’re going to carry a card that charges deferred interest, make every possible attempt to pay off the balance before that interest kicks in. You can use a credit card payoff calculator to help you figure out what you need to pay monthly in order to get rid of your debt before the promotional APR period ends.

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Other options

Using a pet-focused credit card to take care of vet bills isn’t the only way to spread out the costs of animal health care — or even necessarily the best option.

Below, we’ve listed several credit cards that can help you tackle hefty veterinary bills; what’s best for you will depend on a variety of factors, like how much time you have to prepare for the expense and what your personal financial situation actually is.

For a one-time expense: Cards with a 0% introductory APR

Some credit cards offer a one-time 0% APR introductory rate on new purchases. That means whenever you spend money during the promotional period, you won’t have to pay interest on those purchases as long as you pay off the balance before the promo period ends.

This type of card is best for people who can anticipate an expense, such as an imminent surgery. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to get approved and receive your new credit card, so planning is key.

Also, promotional periods start when your account opens, not with your first purchase, so you’ll want to apply funds to the vet bill as soon as you can after getting the card to maximize the time you have to pay off the balance interest-free. This course of action is really best for a one-time cost: Recurring costs can add up quickly, making it difficult to pay off the balance by the time the special offer runs out.

Citi Simplicity® Card

What we like

The Citi Simplicity® Card is a top pick if you’re looking for a card with a long intro purchase offer and other significant perks. This card has no annual fee, no late fees and no penalty interest rate if you miss a payment. There is also 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers and purchases, after which it will convert to a standard, variable APR of 15.24% - 25.24%, depending on your credit score.

Fees and fine print to watch out for

While this card might be great for some pet owners, there are some other things to watch out for. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the balance ($5 minimum), and this card has a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

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The Provident Signature CashBack Visa® card from Provident CU

Why we like it

The Provident Signature Cash Back Visa® card from Provident CU is one of the few credit cards that offers both cashback rewards and a 0% APR intro offer on both purchases and balance transfers. The offer lasts the first 14 months your account is open, and after the promotional period ends, the standard variable APR rates kick in: 11.99-16.99% for purchases and 12.99-17.99% for balance transfers. Those rates are somewhat less than other cards on this list, which make it a good option if you’re not sure you can pay off your balance in 14 months.

The card doesn’t have an annual fee and earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It also has no foreign transaction fees and includes travel accident and trip cancellation/interruption insurance, making it a great choice for pet owners who also like to go places.

Fees and fine print

The biggest downside to this card is its availability: You have to be a member of Provident Credit Union to get it. The credit union is based in California and mostly serves the Bay Area, though you can join if you have a membership with one of a variety of associations.

Beyond membership eligibility, here are some things to consider: Balance transfers carry a fee of $10 or 2% of the balance transferred, whichever is greater, and, if you miss a payment, a late-payment fee up to $15.

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For managing existing debt: Balance transfer credit cards

Sometimes your pet has a one-time emergency, like a tooth extraction or hip surgery, that you can’t anticipate. While you can plan ahead for routine needs, it’s hard to be prepared for a procedure that costs several thousand dollars in one fell swoop.

That’s where a card with a balance transfer offer can help. These cards usually offer a low interest rate, sometimes even 0%, on balance transfers. If you’re currently paying for your pup’s bills on a card with a high interest rate, consider applying for a card with a 0% APR balance transfer promotion. Depending on your current interest rate and your minimum payment, you could save hundreds on interest.

This kind of card is best for those who aren’t adding to the balance on a regular basis and are simply trying to pay off one-time expenses. These cards offer this low rate for a certain length of time, sometimes up to 24 months. Ideally, you should pay off the balance before the offer expires so you don’t pay interest on the balance. Calculate how much you need to pay each month so you can do that, keeping in mind it may require making more than the minimum payment.

Discover it® 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer

What we like

The Discover it® 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer is an introductory 18-month balance transfer offer at 0% APR. The card also has a six-month introductory APR of 0% on purchases. After the intro periods expire, your balance will be subject to the ongoing variable interest rate of 13.24% - 24.24%, depending on your credit. There is a 3% fee per balance transfer.

This card has no annual fee and is also a rewards card: You can earn 5% cash back in certain categories (the categories change each quarter), and all other purchases earn 1% cash back. Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically. Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.

One more benefit is that this card doesn’t charge a penalty APR, which is when card issuers can increase the APR if you miss a payment.

Fees and fine print

Keep in mind that the balance transfer intro offer differs from the purchase intro offer: New purchases only have a six-month, 0% APR intro period. The APR and cashback rewards may tempt you to spend more than you should, so be prepared to exercise self-control if you get this card to pay down vet-bill debt.

Discover also waives the late fee the first time you miss a payment, but don’t let it become a habit: Subsequent late payments will cost up to $37.

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Chase Slate®

What we like

The Chase Slate® stands out among many credit cards because there is an introductory $0 balance transfer fee if you complete a transfer within 60 days of the account opening. Any transfers made after 60 days will come with a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum).

There is an introductory 0% APR on the first 15 months for both purchases and balance transfers and no annual fee. After the intro offer expires, purchases and balance transfers will have a 16.24% - 24.99% variable APR. There is also no penalty APR with this card, so you don’t have to worry about losing the 0% intro offer if you make a late payment. Terms apply.

Fees and fine print

Late payment fees cost up to $37, depending on your balance, and foreign transactions carry a 3% transaction fee.

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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Why we like it

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card has a 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers, one of the longest periods available. Purchases receive 0% intro for 12 months. Once the promotional period is over, the rates will switch to a variable APR of 14.24% - 24.24%, depending on your credit score.

This card has no annual fee and is a good option if you’re confident you can pay off the balance before the intro period ends. Otherwise, you could face some heavy interest fees.

Fees and fine print

There is a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer, with a minimum charge of $5. Foreign transactions result in a 3% fee, and late-payment fees can be up to $35.

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For ongoing expenses: Low-interest credit cards

If you have an older pet who needs monthly meds or is on a strict diet, proper care can involve costly recurring expenses. If, as a result, you can’t afford to pay off your credit card balance in full every month, having a low-interest credit card can help.

Interest fees can add up quickly once the balance grows, so be sure to watch how much of the principal you’re paying every month and how much is going to interest. You might be more motivated to pay off the debt in full if you know how much it’s costing you each month.

UNIFY Financial Credit Union Variable Rate Visa® Credit Card

What we like

Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident can join UNIFY, and it offers a credit card with one of the lowest interest rates out there. The ongoing interest rate on this card ranges from 5.99-18% APR (variable), so if you have good credit and anticipate dealing with hefty vet bills for a very long time, this card could help you keep your financing costs down. There’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Fees and fine print

This is a no-frills credit card with no introductory periods, so you’ll start incurring finance charges as soon as you start carrying a balance from month to month. If your ongoing expenses are going to last less than a year and a half, you may be better off with something like the Citi Diamond Preferred (described above) because of its long introductory purchase APR.

Late payments on the UNIFY credit card incur a fee of up to $25 fee at five days past the due date, and besides the low APR, this card offers very few perks.

UNIFY Financial Credit Union

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on UNIFY Financial Credit Union’s secure website

TruWest Visa Platinum

What we like

The TruWest Visa Platinum card has 0% Intro APR for the first 18 billing cycles on both purchases and balance transfers, as well as no annual fee. However, its premier perk is its low ongoing interest rates, which range from 6.95-20.95%, some of the lowest available.

Fees and fine print

This card is from TruWest Credit Union, and you must be a member of the credit union to join. However, it’s not easy to become a member. Membership is available to those who work in select Arizona and Texas counties or have worked for select employers including Motorola, Freescale and ON Semiconductor. Relatives of current members are also eligible. Current members must have at least $5 deposited with TruWest in order to apply for a credit card.

Because membership is so limited, only a small portion of the population will be eligible for this card.

There is no penalty APR, but late fees can cost up to $25. Foreign transactions have a fee of 0.8-1% — the higher fee applies when the transaction requires a currency conversion.

Truwest CU

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on Truwest CU’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Zina Kumok
Zina Kumok |

Zina Kumok is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Zina here

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Credit Cards, News, Pay Down My Debt

Here’s What Really Happens When You Miss a Credit Card Payment

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Your phone rings — and rings, and rings some more. You know who’s calling. You know what the caller wants, too, but you can’t afford to give the money you owe on your credit cards. So, you let the debt collector leave a voicemail you have no intention of returning.

That’s the wrong way to deal with delinquent credit card debt, says Michaela Harper, debt counselor and director of the Community Education for Credit Advisors Foundation in Omaha, Neb.

“Don't be afraid to talk to your creditor,” says Harper. “Avoiding them makes the problem worse because it sends it onto the next division” and brings your debt closer to being charged-off, which Harper says consumers with past-due debt should do their best to avoid. (More on that later.)

Credit card debts — or most debts for that matter — become delinquent the moment you miss a first payment. The events that follow the missed payment depend on how long the past-due debt goes unpaid. It begins with friendly reminder calls from the bank to pay your credit card bill, and can culminate in losing up to 25 percent of your annual income to wage garnishment.

The portion of consumers missing credit card payments has been on the rise since the lowest levels of delinquent credit card debt ever recorded were reached two years ago. About 2.47 percent of credit card loans made by commercial banks were delinquent in the second quarter of 2017, according to Aug. 23 figures from the Federal Reserve Economic Database.

Below is a timeline chronicling what happens when you miss a credit card payment, as well as tips from debt management experts on what you can do to mitigate the situation at each point. (You can jump to a specific time period by clicking on the milestones below.)

Zero to 30 days past due: Missed a payment

After you miss your first payment, your debt is delinquent and the clock starts ticking. Your bank should begin to contact you to remind you to make a payment. You are also likely to incur a late fee.

The first 30 days will sound more like courtesy calls, says Randy Williams, president and CEO of A Debt Coach. In reality, the bank is trying to verify your address and personal information to update the system in case your debt becomes more delinquent. (Williams used to work as a bill collector before switching over to debt consulting.)

What you can do

At this point, the bank’s agents may be more willing to provide customer service, so you can ask for an extension or create a payment arrangement to address the past-due debt before the missed payment begins to impact your credit report, which can be as early as 30 days past due. You may also try your luck at asking if the bank could waive any late fees already incurred, although the creditor is not obligated to extend this courtesy.

There’s only so much leeway a bank will give you, says Gordon Oliver, a certified debt management professional at Cambridge Credit Counseling. If you’ve asked for a late payment or interest charge to be waived in the past, you won’t have much leverage.

“There will be different reasons why a creditor may not extend those benefits at the time, but usually those terms are for borrowers who are in better standing,” Oliver adds.

30 to 90 days past due: Collection calls begin

Over the 30- to 60-day delinquency period, the bank will attempt to reach you to collect the past-due amount on your credit card bill.

“This is when they are trying to figure out what's wrong. They are trying to collect the money,” says Williams.

“At this point it's starting to affect your credit,” says Williams. He says the robo-collection calls may come as often as every 15 minutes. Borrowers with higher credit scores are likely to see a bigger drop than borrowers with lower scores. According to FICO data, for example, a 30-day late payment could bring a 680 credit score down 10 to 30 points and a 780 score down 25 to 45 points.

In addition to seeing your credit score drop, you will be charged late fees on the past-due account. After you have owed debt for two payment cycles, the CARD Act allows creditors to flag you in their system as a “high-risk” borrower, which means the interest you currently pay will rise to whatever the bank charges for customers at a high-risk status. That number varies from bank to bank but in some cases can get as high as 29.99 percent. The rate will stay that high at least until you have made six consecutive on-time payments, at which point the bank is required by law to reset the rate.

However, “the law doesn’t say they have to do it on their own,” says Harper. So, you will likely need to request a reset. You can find the APR charged to high-risk borrowers in your credit card terms.

What you can do

Harper says if you respond at this point, the bank may ask you to negotiate a payment arrangement.

“Never make a promise to pay that you can’t keep just to get someone off the phone,” says Harper. “If you are silent, you agree to the payment.”

Missing promised payments also gives the bank more leverage if the bill eventually goes to court, says Harper. “If they walk into court and they can point to all of the promised payments, it undermines your credibility.”

Harper advises debtors to be very clear if they cannot meet the bank’s proposed payment arrangements. You need to specifically tell them you cannot make the payments. If possible, take a look at your budget. If you find you are able to send them a small amount every month, tell them.

“That’s a valuable thing because it goes back to when the account charges off. You can slow down your progression toward charge-off by making the partial payments,” says Harper.

A charge-off happens when a creditor believes there is no chance of collecting your past-due debt, so the debt’s considered a loss. The debt gets written off the creditor’s financial statements as a bad debt and sold or transferred to a third-party collection agency or a debt buyer.

“If they feel like it's a tough situation [you] are going through they will refer [you] to a credit counselor” around the 60- to 90-day mark, says Williams. Again, that benefit may not be extended to all consumers facing financial hardship.

90 to 120 days past due: Bank requests balance in full

After your bill is 90 days overdue, the bank will turn collection over to its internal recovery department to engage in more aggressive collection attempts. Williams says the bank will now be calling for the balance in full, not only the past-due amount.

The bank’s collectors will continue to call, but they may also send you multiple letters every day, or may attempt to reach you via social media, emails or emergency contacts.

Harper says the account may stay with the bank’s internal collections for another 90 days (180 days past due), but it’s important to note that at the 120-day past-due mark, your debt is at risk of getting charged off and being sold to a third-party collection agency.

That’s because the CARD Act states the past-due amount needs to be the equivalent of six months’ worth of your credit card’s minimum payment in order for the debt to be charged off. Including late fees and the amount added in higher interest payments, consumers may reach that figure in as little as four calendar months.

What you can do

If you can’t give them the entire past-due amount or balance in full, take a serious look at your budget. See if there is any room to make even a small payment. If you can find a few dollars, you may be able to enter a repayment plan with the bank, which will at least pause the collection calls. Don’t forget to leverage the collector’s insider knowledge. Explain your situation and ask if you can negotiate a solution with the bank.

“You want to pay off the debt, they want to pay off the debt. They may have solutions they can offer you that you don't know about,” says Harper.

Once you’ve got an active repayment plan in place, the bank will pull you out of the collection list, Harper says.

120 to 150 days past due: Hardcore collection attempts

Watch your credit report carefully after your account becomes 120 days past due, as it may be charged off at any point. At this point, the collectors will continue to try every channel available to them to get in touch with you and collect on the debt. The attempts may get closer together and collectors may try more aggressive tactics to scare you into paying up.

“One hundred and twenty to 150 days, it is hardcore. Now they are going to offer you a settlement. They will do whatever they want to try and get to you to pay the debt off. It's basically motivation to get you to pay now,” says Williams.

Debt collectors at this point may also take time to remind you of your rights under the CARD Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as their right to collect on the past-due debt.

The bank’s collectors may not directly say they will proceed with legal action or wage garnishment if they do not intend to, as that is illegal under the FDCPA, but they may remind you of those possibilities if you do not pay and emphasize the bank's right to collect on the debt owed to them, Williams says.

Williams adds, “They never say they are going to sue you; they say, ‘We have the right to protect our asset.’”

What you can do

Williams says at this point the debtor essentially has three options. Bring the account current by paying the entire past-due amount, arrange a debt settlement plan with the bank or try going to a credit counselor to create a debt consolidation plan.

“Near 120 days past due, they need to get some form of help to remedy the account before it goes to a charge off,” says Oliver, who adds that the timing the charge off will be difficult to predict.

For those who may be behind on several bills, Oliver also recommends getting some form of financial counseling to create a plan that addresses all your financial issues.

150 to 180 days past due: Last chance

At 150 days, collections efforts will remain aggressive and may even increase in frequency as the bank is now concerned about losing the debt to a charge-off.

Once your credit card payment is 150 days past due, you may start to hear the bank’s agents’ tactics shift as they may make a last-ditch effort to recover the debt, according to Williams.

What you can do

You will still have the options to pay the balance in full or reach a settlement with the bank, but you may have an additional option: Re-age your debt.

When your account is past due and you enter a re-age program, the late payments and collection activity are removed from your account. As a result, “your credit score may improve by 10 to 15 points if not growing every month from there,” according to Williams.

You will generally be asked to make at least three on-time payments on the debt before your account is re-aged. For example, the bank could ask you to pay $100 each month for three months before bringing your account back up to a current standing, but the bank will add the interest and fees you’ve already incurred to the total amount you owe. After the account is re-aged, you’ll go back to making minimum payments on the total amount of debt outstanding. Re-aging the account may also remove the “high-risk” stain from the account so your interest rate drops to to whatever it was before.

Williams says a re-age can be seen as a win-win for both parties: You are able to catch up on your delinquent debt and — in some cases — have its impact removed from your credit report, and the bank is able to recover the interest and fees that have accumulated since your account became delinquent.

Of course, the credit card company doesn’t have to allow you to re-age the debt and may not offer the option to you, but there is a possibility it will do so if you ask. Keep in mind you are only allowed to re-age an account once in 12 months and twice within five years, per federal policy, and re-aging is only an option on accounts that have been open for nine months or longer. Credit card issuers are allowed to set more strict re-aging rules for its accounts, as well.

After 180 days: Charged off to a third party

When you are about six months past due, it is extremely likely the bank will charge off your account and sell the debt to a third-party collection agency. If the bank does not charge off your account, it may take the matter to court.

If it goes to collection, third-party debt collectors may employ some of the same tactics the bank’s collectors did. Most collection agencies will push hard for the first 90 days, then at the end of that point in time they may decide to sue you, Harper says. Or they may sell your debt to another collections agency.

The third-party collectors will attempt to contact you using every channel available to them for the next 90 days or so, before they must decide to either charge off the debt or sue you. The collectors will likely demand you pay the full balance or ask you pay the balance in thirds, says Harper. If they can’t get a hold of you or get you to arrange a payment plan in that time, they may decide to turn it over to an attorney.

What you can do

You should try the same tactics that you would have used with the bank’s internal collections agency with the third-party agency, negotiating the price down and reaching a settlement with the third-party collector. If you don’t respond to the collection requests, you may be sued.

You may not be sued for some time. Companies can only sue you for unpaid debts within a certain period of time, called a statute of limitations — anywhere within three to 10 years, according to your state’s law. Your debt may be sold and resold several times before that happens. Check with the office of consumer protection at your state’s attorney general to find out what the rules are in your state.

If you are served with a lawsuit, you should check the letterhead to make sure the attorney or company filing the suit on behalf of the collections agency is licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction, says Harper, as you cannot legally be sued for credit card debt by an attorney outside your jurisdiction.

You should also be sure to respond to the lawsuit. If you don’t, you'll likely lose. The court can automatically side with the lender if you don’t show up in court, also known as a default judgment. That may result in getting your wages or federal benefits garnished to pay the debt, not to mention the credit damage a judgment causes. Federal law states a creditor can garnish no more than 25 percent of your disposable income, or the amount that your income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less.

If you can’t afford to settle

If, given your current financial situation, the debt is unmanageable for you and you are not able to settle the account, you may want to consider bankruptcy. But you will have to file before a judgment is entered against you in court, which may be tricky to time, Harper says.

Given the difficulty in timing when the creditor will take your account to suit, you shouldn’t wait if you think bankruptcy is an option for you. Read here for more information on how and when to file for bankruptcy.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at brittney@magnifymoney.com

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