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Building Credit, Credit Cards, Reviews

OpenSky Secured Visa Review: No Checking Account Required

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card can be helpful for those who have bad or No/Limited credit history. This card is designed for consumers who want to rebuild or create a credit history. OpenSky does not require a checking account or credit check when you apply, which makes the application process simple. Take note that this card does come with an annual fee, unlike other secured cards. With responsible use, you could see an increase in your credit score and move to an unsecured card.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card from Capital Bank N.A.

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on Capital Bank N.A.’s secure website

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card from Capital Bank N.A.

Annual fee
$35
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular Purchase APR
19.14%
Credit required
bad-credit
No/Limited

How the card works

Since this is a secured card you will have to make a security deposit. This money will become your line of credit and must remain in your account while your card is open. There are four options to make your security deposit and fund your account. The first is using a debit card. Simply provide your debit card information on your application, and OpenSky will process your transaction right away. You can also complete a wire transfer to Capital Bank. If you don’t have a checking account, you can use Western Union or mail a check or money order. An email with instructions on how to fund your security deposit will be sent after your application has been approved. Note that, depending on the method of payment that you choose, it may take up to five business days for your security deposit to clear.

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, the best way to take advantage of this card is to start off with a low credit limit and find a recurring expense you can put on the card. For example, you can put your utility bills on the card. Make sure that you pay this on time and in full every month. To ensure it’s paid on time, you can enroll in their auto pay program, which will guarantee you never miss a payment. Once you enroll in auto pay, the credit card company will make a scheduled monthly payment automatically on the day you choose. This way, you will have a purchase every month that OpenSky can report to all three major bureaus.

How to qualify

To quality for this credit card you do not need to have credit history, but you do need a job. By having a job you will show a stable source of income, which shows credit lenders you are responsible and can pay your bills. In addition you will need a security deposit. That means if you want a $1,000 credit limit, you’ll need to have $1,000 deposited at account opening. The online application is four simple steps that can be completed in 10 minutes. They request basic personal and financial information, have you choose the starting credit limit you prefer, and fund your security deposit. Your requested credit limit is subject to approval based on your creditworthiness.

What we like about the card

No credit check

OpenSky does not check your credit history during the application process. This is great if you lack a credit history or have poor credit, therefore improving your approval odds.

Simple application process

The application process takes place solely online, making it easy to apply at your convenience. It only takes 10 minutes according to OpenSky to complete the application. There are four easy steps: provide your personal and financial information, customize and fund your card, review your information, and accept the terms and conditions.

No checking account needed

OpenSky does not require you to have a checking account to apply for this card. This is great for those who want to establish credit but don’t have a bank account. The majority of credit cards require bank accounts, so this is a good option if you don’t have a bank account.

What we don’t like about the card

Annual fee

OpenSky charges cardholders a $35 annual fee. Be sure to review your credit options, because you can find other secured cards that do not charge an annual fee. However, note that those cards may require a checking account, so make sure to review your options.

Foreign transaction fee

Make sure this card remains at home when you travel abroad since there is a high 3% of each Transaction in U.S. dollars. This will increase your bill if you make purchases abroad, so it’s best left at home.

No option for an unsecured card

If you’re ready to move onto an unsecured card, there is no option with OpenSky. That means you’ll have to look to another company, which could be a hassle because of the process of applying for the card, getting a credit check, and closing your current card.

Who the card is best for

If you’ve struggled with being approved for credit cards in the past due to bad or nonexistent credit history, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card may be right for you. With no credit check during the application process, you have good approval odds. This card is also for those who do not have a checking account but want to build credit, as you won’t find many credit cards that are offered to people without checking accounts. However, the annual fee and lack of transition to an unsecured card can make you think twice about this card. You can find MagnifyMoney’s ranking of the best secured credit cards here.

Alternatives

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One's website

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$49, $99, or $200
Regular Purchase APR
26.49% (Variable)

This credit card doesn’t require that you have your security deposit equal your credit limit. You can make a deposit as low as $49, unlike the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, which is $200. However, this card will check your credit history and will determine your deposit requirement based on your creditworthiness. There is a $0 annual fee associated with this card, unlike OpenSky.

Discover it® Secured

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Secured

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular APR
24.74% Variable

This card has no annual fee, unlike OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It also features 2% cash back on up to $1,000 per quarter on gas and restaurant purchases and 1% on other spending. In addition, after eight months you may be eligible for an unsecured credit card, which you can’t do with OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. These are great benefits that make the Discover it® Secured a good alternative.

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)’s secure website

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$500
Regular Purchase APR
13.50% Variable

There is also no annual fee for this card, as well as no cash advance or balance transfer fees. The APR is lower than OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, which is beneficial if you think you might carry a balance month to month. According to a DCU representative, the maximum credit limit is $2,000. However, it is determined by your overall creditworthiness. Also, you’ll need to be a member of Digital Federal Credit Union, which may be difficult to get into. You can learn about eligibility requirements here.

FAQ

No, OpenSky does not check your credit history. So any bad history you may have will not affect your approval odds.

A security deposit is the amount of money you deposit into your account and acts as collateral. It also becomes your line of credit. That means if you make a $1,000 security deposit, you’ll have a $1,000 credit line.

There are four options to make your security deposit.

  1. Debit card- Simply provide your debit card information on your application, and OpenSky will process your transaction right away.
  2. Wire transfer to Capital Bank

If you don’t have a checking account:

  1. Western Union
  2. Mail a check or money order

An email with instructions on how to fund your security deposit will be sent after your application has been approved. Note that, depending on the method of payment that you choose, it may take up to five business days for your security deposit to clear.

Additional reporting by Alexandria White

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be 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 financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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Best of, Credit Cards

Longest 0% Purchase Credit Card Offers From Banks & Credit Unions – October 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

0% purchase credit card
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If you’re about to make a big purchase that you need time to pay off, using a 0% introductory purchase offer on a credit card could be the cheapest way to spread the payment out over time.

  • You can currently find 0% deals for as long as 18 months with no fees, but since rates after the intro period are high, only use these deals if you’re sure you can handle paying off the debt before the period is up.
  • When searching for 0% purchase cards, make sure you select a card that waives interest. Far too many cards, especially those offered by retailers only defer the interest which means you can get a nasty surprise when the intro period is up.

Below we list the longest 0% purchase credit cards broken up by length of 0% intro period from our database of over 3,000 credit card products from banks and credit unions:

18 Months 0% Intro APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

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on US Bank’s secure website


The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a long 0%* intro for 18 billing cycles on Purchases* for purchases and an 0%* intro for 18 billing cycles on Balance Transfers* (after, 14.24% - 25.24%* (Variable) APR). However, this card offers few other benefits. There is no rewards program, but there is cellphone protection that can reimburse you for damage or theft up to $600 (with a $25 deductible), for up to two claims ($1,200) per 12-month period when you pay your cellphone bill with your card.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


The 0% introductory APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers for the TruWest Visa® Signature Card is one of the highest for a credit union. It also has a very low ongoing APR of 9.65%-10.65% Variable after the intro period ends. This card is restricted to people who live, work, own a business or go to school in select Arizona and Texas communities or who work for select employers. You can read more about membership eligibility on TruWest’s website. You can earn 1 point per dollar spent, and up to 10 extra points per dollar spent by taking advantage of bonus point offers with the Get Extra Points Rewards Program. You can also earn up to 1.5% cash back with the trurewards program.

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


Another card from TruWest that offers a long intro period is the TruWest Visa Platinum Card, with 0% introductory APR for 18 months on purchases. Again, this card is only available to TruWest Credit Union members. This card has one of the lowest starting variable APR ranges at 7.70% - 21.70% Variable, which is beneficial for anyone who qualifies for the low rate and may carry a balance after the intro period ends (though we recommend paying off debt beforehand).

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


The TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card has a competitive 0% introductory APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, the purchase APR is 9.65% - 16.65% Variable. As with the other TruWest cards, this one is only available to members. You can benefit from a rewards program where you Automatically earn up to 1 point for every $1 you spend, and earn up to 10 extra points per dollar spent. Also, earn up to 1.5% cash back with the TruRewards program. However, this is a low rewards rate compared to other 0% intro purchase cards on this list.

Wells Fargo Platinum card

Wells Fargo Platinum card

The Wells Fargo Platinum card has a long period for you to pay off debt with an intro of 0% for 18 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Following the intro period, the APR on purchases and balance transfers will be 17.24%-26.74% (Variable). Besides the promotional APR, this card is fairly basic. It does have one other notable perk: You can receive up to $600 of cellphone protection (subject to $25 deductible) against eligible reasons when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card.*
The information related to Wells Fargo Platinum card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

15 Months 0% Intro APR

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers an intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.99%-25.99% Variable. This card is a great choice for people who want to take advantage of the 0% intro periods and earn rewards. With the cash back program, you can earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® provides a 0% Intro APR for 15 months
on purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers — that is shorter than other flat-rate cash back cards in this list. After those 15 months, purchases are subject to a standard APR of 16.74% - 25.49% Variable. With the cash back program, you can earn a 1.5% cash back offer.
The information related to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® offers a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months. The card also offers a cash back program that is great for those looking to maximize cash back in bonus categories. You can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. After the promotional period, the purchase APR is 16.74% - 25.49% Variable.

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers an introductory 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.99%-25.99% Variable. There is also a cash back program — earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

The information related to Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

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on PNC Bank’s secure website


The PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card is a basic card that offers Introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening, then 11.74%-21.74% Variable APR, based on your credit. There is no rewards program or noteable perks. However, there is U.S.-based customer service available 7 days a week.

Truly Simple® Card from Fifth Third Bank

Truly Simple® Card from Fifth Third Bank

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on Fifth Third Bank (OH)’s secure website


This card offers a decent 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles after your account is opened on both purchases and balance transfers, however this card is restricted to residents of Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. There is also no penalty APR if you miss a payment. The standard APR of 13.99% - 24.99% Variable applies after the intro period ends.

BB&T Bright Credit Card

BB&T Bright Credit Card

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on BB&T’s secure website


The BB&T Bright Credit Card offers a good intro period from a community bank at 0% intro for 15 Months on purchases and balance transfers (12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR after). Note that this card is restricted to residents of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards from APG FCU

Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards from APG FCU

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on Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU’s secure website


This card offers a competitive 0% intro APR on purchases and qualified balance transfers compared to other credit unions at 0% intro APR for 15 months (12.49% - 17.99% Variable APR after). To qualify for this card you need to live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in Harford or Cecil County or certain areas in Middle River, Maryland. There is a subpar rewards program where you can earn one point for every dollar spent on purchases.

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

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on KeyBank’s secure website


The KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card has a decent intro period for purchases at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. It also has a decent intro period for balance transfers at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. After the intro period ends, 11.99% - 21.99% Variable APR applies based on creditworthiness. This card is restricted to people who live in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington. There is no rewards program.

Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® has a decent 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR, but you can find other cards with longer periods, and/or rewards. This card is predominantly known for its balance transfer offer where you get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and an Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Deferred versus Waived Interest

Not all 0% offers are created equally. Some credit card companies offer “deferred” interest, whereas others off “waived” interest.

Let’s take a simple example. You spend $1,000 on a credit card with an APR of 18%. You will make payments of $75 every month. There is a special offer that gives you 0% interest for 12 months. On “Credit Card A” interest is deferred. On “Credit Card B” it is waived. After making 12 payments of $75, the remaining balance in month 13 would be $100.

Credit Card A: Deferred Interest

With a “deferred” interest offer, the bank does not forgive the monthly interest accrual. Instead, the bank just keeps track of the interest that would have accrued. If you do not pay the balance in full during the promotional period, you will get retroactively charged the interest at a high interest rate. In the example above, you would be charged approximately $117 in month 13. (I use “approximately” because credit card companies have slightly different ways of calculating and charging interest. But it is safe to assume that you would be charged more than $100 of interest on your remaining $100 balance.)

Credit Card B: Waived Interest

Waived interest is very different. For every month of the promotional period, the credit card company actually forgives the interest. There will never be a retroactive catch up after the promotional period ends. In our example, you would only be charged $3.26 of interest in month 13, compared to more than $100 in the deferred example.

Deferred interest products are surprisingly common. If you are being offered 0% financing by a retailer, you are probably being offered a deferred interest product.

How To Qualify For A 0% Purchase Credit Card

In order to qualify for a 0% intro purchase credit card, you will need to have good credit. If your credit score is above 700, you are highly likely to be approved by one of the issuers. If your score is between 650 and 700, you still have a good chance.

With a credit score below 650, it is highly unlikely that you would be approved, though you may want to check to see if you are pre-qualified for a card before applying. Many of the banks let you check to see what deals they are specifically targeting to you, and you can see a list of them here. Checking what you’re pre-qualified for won’t show up on your credit report or score.

In addition to your credit score, the credit card company will want to ensure that you are employed. And most credit card companies will look at your debt burden.

If your debt burden is more than 50%, it is unlikely that you will be approved.

The lower your debt burden, the better your chances. You calculate your debt burden by dividing the monthly payments on your credit report (which would include your mortgage, auto loans, student loans, personal loans and credit cards) by your monthly paycheck before taxes are taken out.

When Is A Personal Loan Better?

There is no lower interest rate than 0%. So, if you are able to use a 0% credit card to make a purchase, that is your best bet. However, there are a few circumstances where a personal loan might be a better option:

  • Your credit score is too low for a 0% offer. Personal loan companies are offering increasingly competitive interest rates, especially for people with lower credit scores.
  • You need to borrow money for a big cash expense. For example, you might need to pay a contractor who does not accept credit cards. If you need cash, a personal loan is always a better deal than a credit card.
  • You don’t trust yourself with credit cards. Some people feel nervous with credit cards. You might be tempted to spend more than you want. Or, you might be tempted to only pay the minimum due, extending the repayment term. A personal loan can be an easy way to borrow a set amount of money for a set period of time.

If you want to consider a personal loan, you can compare and apply using our personal loan comparison tool. You can check your interest rate and see if you are approved without hurting your credit score at most lenders.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be 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 financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

MagnifyMoney
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Have a question to ask or a story to share? Contact the MagnifyMoney team at [email protected]

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Credit Cards

Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus For October 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Lured into applying for a new rewards credit card with a generous sign-up bonus? Make sure you’re making the right choice.

Typical sign-up bonuses require you to spend a given amount (usually ranging from $500 – $5,000) within the first few months of account opening (on average the first three months) before you can reap your reward. The type of bonus you earn can differ by credit card and may come in the form of points, miles or cash back.

In this post, we list the best sign-up bonuses you can earn, organized by credit cards for personal or business use and by category (travel, airline, cash back and more).

Personal

Best travel rewards sign-up bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide

The bonus offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening..

What the points are really worth: 1 point is worth 1 cent, and when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1 point is worth 1.25 cents.

Other reasons to like this card:

  • 25% more in redemption value: When you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, your points get 25% more value. For example, 60,000 points are typically worth $600. However, when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, those same points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer: Points can be transferred at a 1:1 rate to participating frequent travel programs currently including: Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue Air France KLM, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good fit for people who frequently travel and would like a 25% boost when they redeem their points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Best airline credit card sign-up bonus: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

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

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

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$99, waived for first 12 months*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*

The bonus offer: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

What the points are really worth: The value of AAdvantage® miles varies by redemption method, and there is no set monetary value.

Other reasons to like this card:

  • Preferred boarding: You can board the plane faster when flying with American Airlines*.
  • First checked bag free: On domestic American Airlines flights, your first checked bag is free for you and up to four companions.
  • 25% inflight savings: Receive 25% in savings on eligible inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*.

Bottom Line: The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a great choice for American Airlines flyers who want to enjoy extra perks on their flights such as preferred boarding and inflight savings.

Best cash back sign-up bonus: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Rate
4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Other reasons to like this card:

  • Good rewards: 4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Broad category definitions. Dining includes restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. Entertainment covers tickets for movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, pool halls and bowling alleys. It also covers purchases at record and video rental stores.
  • No rotating cashback bonuses: No quarterly sign-ups are required to earn cash rewards. Cash back won’t expire as long as the card remains active and there are no limits on how much cash back you can earn.
  • Fair perks. The card comes with travel assistance services, a concierge, extended warranty, price protection and a monthly membership to the Postmates delivery service through December 2019. As for foreign transaction fees — there are none.

Bottom Line: This card is best for those who want to earn more cash back on dining, groceries and entertainment purchases. Plus, you won’t be responsible for paying an annual fee the first year (the annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $95 after that). Just keep in mind that the entertainment category does not include digital streaming or membership services.

Outside of that, there are other cashback cards that offer better rewards in top spending categories, such as gas, home improvement stores and travel.

Best luxury card sign-up bonus: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

LEARN MORE 

The information related to Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms Apply.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Regular Purchase APR
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
Annual fee
$450
Rewards Rate
3X points on travel and dining

The bonus offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What the points are really worth: 1 point is worth 1 cent, and when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 1 point is worth 1.5 cents.

Other reasons to like this card:

  • 50% more in redemption: Points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards earn 50% more in redemption value. For example, 50,000 points are typically worth $500. However, when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they are worth $750.
  • $300 annual travel credit: Automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each anniversary year.
  • 1:1 point transfer: Easily transfer points at a 1:1 rate to participating frequent travel programs currently including: Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, Emirates Skywards, Flying Blue Air France KLM, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit: Receive a credit of up to $100 for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years.
  • Airport lounge access: You can access over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide with a complimentary, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a fantastic sign-up bonus that can benefit from the 50% boost in rewards value when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Business

Best cash back sign-up bonus for businesses: Ink Business CashSM Credit Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms Apply.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

The bonus offer: Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Other reasons to like this card:

  • 0% Intro period: This card offers an introductory rate of 0% for 12 Months on purchases allowing your business time to pay off any large purchases made during this period. After the intro period ends, a 14.99% - 20.99% Variable APR applies.
  • Higher rewards rate for select business purchases: Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Free employee cards: You can add employee credit cards at no additional charge.

Bottom Line: The Ink Business CashSM Credit Card is great for business owners who want to earn a generous rewards rate in the spending categories of their choosing.

Best travel points sign-up bonus for businesses: Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms Apply.

Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 22.74% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

The bonus offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

What the points are really worth: 1 point is worth 1 cent, and when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 1 point is worth 1.25 cents.

Other reasons to like this card:

  • 25% more in redemption: When you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, they are worth 25% more. For example, 80,000 points are normally worth $800. However, when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel, they are worth $1,000.
  • 1:1 point transfer: If you’re a part of participating frequent travel programs, you can transfer points at a 1:1 rate. Partners currently include: Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, Emirates Skywards, Flying Blue Air France KLM, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.
  • Higher rewards rate for select business purchases: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn. This is a great way for you to earn bonus points on purchases your business makes the most.
  • Free employee cards: You can add employee credit cards at no additional charge.

Bottom Line: The Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card is a great option for business owners who travel frequently and who want to maximize their rewards earning potential. Along with receiving 25% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can also choose which categories you want to earn bonus points in.

Learn More

How to maximize your sign-up bonus

Below we list some tips to help you choose the best sign-up bonus for you, including how to make sure you actually earn the bonus. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Understand how the minimum spend requirement and time period works. Nearly all sign-up bonuses require a minimum spend for you to earn the bonus. Take, for example, a card may require you to spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening to earn 5,000 bonus points. If you open your account on January 1, you’ll have until March 30 to spend $1,000. Each sign-up bonus differs, so make sure to check the terms and conditions.
  • What qualifies as spending on purchases? Sign-up bonuses have clear terms that require you to spend a specific amount on certain purchases in order to receive the bonus. That means that certain transactions don’t count toward the spending requirement. Transactions that aren’t eligible often include: balance transfers, cash advances, travelers checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers, interest and fees of any kind.
  • Make a large purchase upfront to secure the bonus. If you plan on making a large purchase, such as a laptop or television, try to make it as early as possible in order to meet the required spend threshold for the bonus. But only do this if it’s feasible to pay it off soon after. If you make a large purchase upfront and are unable to pay it off before your statement is due, you will be stuck paying interest — unless your card has a 0% intro APR period. Still, you don’t want to fall into debt just to get the sign-up bonus.
  • Check other terms and conditions. A good rule of thumb is to look at the terms and conditions before you apply for any card. This allows you to see if and when the points, miles or cash back expire, as well as how they can be redeemed. You can also find out which purchases qualify towards earning the bonus.
  • Don’t be too greedy. To thwart people from nabbing sign-up bonuses and closing cards repeatedly, issuers may have rules that prevent customers from signing up for several cards from the same issuer over the course of a specific time period.
  • Take note: offers are time sensitive. Sign-up bonuses can change at any time, meaning an offer you click on may not be there later if you refresh or close the window.

How we picked the best sign-up bonus offers

We formulated this list by looking at cards from all major issuers as well as some credit unions. From there, we divided cards into two categories — travel rewards and cash back rewards. When comparing cards in the travel category, we considered the rewards value, spending requirements and rewards bonuses. For cash back cards, we simply looked at the amount of the bonus and spending requirements. If there were cards with similar sign-up bonuses, we considered other features, such as introductory APR periods, APRs and annual fees.

Let’s take, for example, where two rewards cards that require you to spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership to earn the bonus:

  • Card A offers 50,000 bonus points
  • Card B offers 60,000 bonus points

Now, someone may only look at the sign-up bonus for Card B and think, “Wow, I can earn 10,000 more points compared to Card A. I want Card B.”

But a closer look at the terms and conditions reveal that the point values differ for each card:

  • Card A’s points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the issuer’s portal
  • Card B’s points are worth 1 cent each

Here’s the monetary value of the sign-up bonus for each card:

  • Card A: $625
  • Card B: $600

So the sign-up bonus for Card A is better when considering rewards value and redemption methods. Therefore, it’s always important to look at various aspects of a card, and not solely the sign-up bonus.

Now let’s look at a cash back example:

  • Card A requires you to spend $1,000 in the first three months of card opening to earn $150 cash back
  • Card B requires you to spend $500 in the first three months of card opening to earn $150 cash back
  • Card C matches your cash back at the end of 12 months, and doesn’t require a minimum spending amount

It’s pretty clear that Card A is the worst value. Card B is better since you have to spend half the amount to earn the same sign-up bonus as Card A. However, if you spend over $15,000 in the first 12 months of card opening, Card C is the best option with unlimited cash back matching and no required spend.

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Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at [email protected]