Monthly Archives: July 2016

Excellent Credit Card

download-3Do you have excellent credit? If so, banks are actively looking to win you as a new credit card customer by offering some unprecedented deals. Although banks have been more careful about acquiring customers with questionable credit since the 2008 Financial Crisis, they are now fighting harder than ever to win coveted customers with great credit. If you are in the excellent credit sweet spot, they are effectively giving you money (and a lot of it) to use their credit cards. These are the top 7 deals you can take advantage of today:

Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is our No. 1 travel rewards card because it offers a lot of value and flexibility. It starts off by earning you 2 points for each dollar spent on travel and dining out, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. That’s followed up by an industry-leading 50,000 point intro bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months – equal to a whopping $500 cash back. Redeeming your earned points via Chase’s Ultimate Rewards saves 20% off travel costs, enabling you to stretch that 50,000 point intro bonus into $625 in travel. You can also redeem your points for cash back, gift cards and merchandise.

The best part is that you can transfer your points 1:1 to many frequent travel programs with no transfer fees, including United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport and Marriott Rewards. That means 1,000 points are equal to 1,000 partner miles/points, straightforward and simple. This feature is likely to appeal to road warriors who are members of various partner programs, as users aren’t limited to spending their points via Chase’s rewards program. In fact, according to our travel rewards card analysis, your 50,000 point intro bonus is worth more than $1,000 when transferred to Hyatt’s reward program. There is a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is such a great cash back card that I have one. You’ll earn a spectacular 6% cash back at supermarkets (on up to $6K in purchases annually), 3% on gas and at department stores like JCP, Kohl’s and Macy’s, and 1% on everything else. And if you apply by 1/11/2017, you’ll earn a very generous 10% back on Amazon.com purchases made in the first 6 months, up to $200 cash back. Plus you’ll get a $150 intro bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases with your new card in the first three months – that’s a 15% cash back bonus on the first $1,000 you spend! In addition you’ll enjoy a 0% 12-month intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. There is a $95 annual fee, but depending upon your spending patterns this card should easily pay for itself and then some. For example, if you max out your spending at supermarkets up to the $6,000 limit, you’ll get $360 cash back on groceries alone (plus 1% back after that), which still gives you a total of $265 cash back for the year after subtracting the $95 annual fee! That doesn’t even include the $150 intro bonus, which would get you up to $415 cash back just on groceries and the intro bonus. If you want a similar card that has no annual fee, check out Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, which has the same 12-month 0% APR but lower cash back rates and a slightly lesser intro bonus. The lower cash back rate on groceries for this card (3%) means it will only earn you a max of $180 in cash back on groceries each year as opposed to the $360 Blue Cash Preferred from American Express will earn, but it’s still a worthy card to have in your wallet, particularly if you don’t want to pay an annual fee.

Chase Slate: This card was designed with credit card balance consolidation in mind. It’s the only card we’ve found with both a lengthy 0% introductory APR and no balance transfer fee. Its 15-month, 0% introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases translates to interest-free payments until 2017. Plus, there are no balance transfer fees during the first 60 days of card membership. This is a big deal, as depending upon how much you plan to transfer, balance transfer fees can really add up. In fact, a $0 intro balance transfer fee can save you hundreds of dollars in fees, and the $0 annual fee is also a money-saver. So if you have excellent credit, you absolutely should not be paying any credit card interest. Get this card and transfer your balances.

Discover it Cashback Match: If you’re in the market for a great cash back rewards cards that also has a 12-billing-cycle 0% APR, this is a smart pick. Not only can you transfer over balances from your high-interest cards to the Discover it Cashback Match card and pay zero interest for a full year (note that there is a 3% balance transfer fee), but you’ll get the same 0% intro APR on new card purchases. Plus you’ll earn 5% cash back on categories that rotate quarterly (on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1% back), and 1% back on all other purchases. Amazon.com, Sam’s Club and department stores are the 5% back categories from now through the end of 2016, which means you can rake in the cash back rewards while shopping for the holidays. Plus Discover will double the cash back you earn at the end of your first year as a card member, making that 5% back effectively 10% back. So if you earn $300 in cash back, Discover will match that $300 for a total of $600 cash back! This is a really great bonus with endless potential, but remember it’s only available the first year so make sure to take advantage of it. Discover it Cashback Match really does have it all – cash back, an extra cash back bonus (2x cashback your first year!), a lengthy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers AND no annual fee.

Interest Pay With This

Stop wasting money on interest fees! If you’re carrying a balance on one (or several) credit cards, you’re probably paying interest fees each month. Or if you need to make a large purchase that you can’t pay off for a while, you’ll likely start racking up substantial interest on your card. The fees might not seem like that big of a deal, but over time they can add up to a lot of dough and make it much more difficult and expensive to pay down your balance. Did you know there’s a way to avoid paying interest on your credit card balances? By taking advantage of a card with a long 0% intro APR, you can essentially get a free loan and pay down your balance without spending a dime in interest.

The question is, which cards offer the most competitive features and longest 0% intro APRs? We’ve done the research and found the best. In fact, with some of these cards the 0% intro APR is so outrageously long you’ll pay absolutely no interest until 2018!!! Our list of the top 0% intro APR cards is below.

Citi Simplicity Card

With an amazing 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, the Citi Simplicity Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) will take you all the way into 2018 without paying a dime in interest. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, but given the lengthy 0% intro APR period, it still might be worth transferring a balance to this card (to find out, use our free Balance Transfer Calculator). Additionally, there are no late fees, no annual fee and no penalty rates imposed. This means if you happen to be late with a payment, you won’t be penalized with a higher ongoing interest rate after the 0% intro APR period is over. It does require excellent credit, so if you’re in more of the good credit range consider Chase Slate, which is discussed below. We really like Citi Simplicity because of its super-long 21-month 0% intro APR, lack of late fees and $0 annual fee.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Similar to Citi Simplicity, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) features a spectacular 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. It also has a very reasonable ongoing interest rate after the 0% intro period is up. If you’re transferring a balance, you will need to pay a 3% balance transfer fee, but paying no interest until 2018 could make it worthwhile. Take a look at our free Balance Transfer Calculator to see whether this card will work best for your needs. Additionally, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card has absolutely no annual fee and provides a free monthly Equifax FICO Score. You do need excellent credit to qualify for the card, so if you’re not necessarily in that range check out one of the cards listed below that only require good credit.

Chase Slate

If you’re worried about paying a fee to move your balance from your current card(s) to a new card, worry no more. Chase Slate has absolutely no balance transfer fees for transfers completed within the first 60 days your account is open, which means you can transfer your balances from cards with high ongoing APRs to Slate without paying a cent in fees. Plus, you’ll enjoy a 15-month 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases. And if you happen to have a ding or two on your credit reports, Chase Slate is available to those with good credit (rather than “excellent” credit), which is typically a credit score above 670. All this, and there is no annual fee.

Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

With a nice balance of cash back rewards and an 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers, the Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (a NextAdvisor advertiser) hits the spot. There is no annual fee, and the card is available to those with good credit (670+ credit score), but there is a 3% balance transfer fee. Citi Double Cash’s cash back potential is substantial, with an effective 2% back on every single purchase. You’ll get 1% back when you make the purchase and the other 1% when you pay for it, making this an ideal card for making a big purchase you may not be able to pay off for a while. You’ll also receive a free monthly Equifax FICO score, helping you to track your credit over time. Altogether this is a winner of a card, mixing generous cash back with a lengthy 0% intro APR and no annual fee.

Discover it — 18 month Balance Transfer Offer

Combining cash back rewards with a 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and a low ongoing APR, Discover it packs a big punch. Transfers incur a 3% balance transfer fee, but this is pretty standard. Discover it also offers a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases. Plus, you’ll earn 5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter (on up to $1,500 in purchases) and 1% back on everything else. Some of the past 5% categories include Amazon.com, gas and restaurants. There is no annual fee and you’ll get a free TransUnion FICO Score each month. As an added bonus, Discover it is available to those with average credit which is usually considered to be a credit score of 670 and up.

 

Intro APR Card

Do you need to make a large purchase, but are worried about being able to pay it off in a timely manner? Or are you already paying interest on credit card balances that you can’t pay off right away? Consider the Citi Simplicity card (a NextAdvisor advertiser). While there are many other cards with 0% intro APRs, Simplicity’s 21-month 0% intro APR is the longest of any card we’ve reviewed, and it offers a terrific no-fee policy to boot.  Although we don’t recommend spending more than you can afford, Citi Simplicity can help with the purchases you need to make now but may not be able to pay for right away, allowing you to avoid any interest fees for 21 months. You can also transfer balances from other high interest rate cards onto Simplicity to eliminate interest you’re already paying for 21 months.

Below we take a closer look at Citi Simplicity to help you decide if it’s the right card for you. In short, this is a great 0% intro APR card that could save you some serious money in interest and fees as well as give you the time to pay down your purchases and balance transfers. Our full analysis is below.

The Highlights

Right out of the gate, Citi Simplicity‘s biggest attraction is its incredibly long 21-month 0% intro APR for both purchases and balances transfers. Twenty-one months is the longest 0% intro APR period we’ve seen on a major credit card. In fact, with Citi Simplicity you can literally pay no interest until 2018, which is pretty incredible. This is a great perk if you want to make any big or small purchases, as you’ll have until 2018 to pay them off without paying a dime in interest fees. It’s almost like a free (or 0%) loan on purchases you make now, as you won’t have to pay anything for 21 months and if you pay them down completely you won’t pay anything except the actual cost of the purchase.

More strong features include the no late fees and no penalty rates. That means if you happen to be late on a monthly payment or two Citi Simplicity won’t charge you a late fee, and they won’t penalize you with a higher interest rate (of course, you’ll be paying 0% interest for the first 21 months, but after that time period you won’t be penalized with an increased interest rate). Plus there is no annual fee to worry about. Both these perks together, along with the 21-month 0% APR make this a standout card.

Citi Simplicity also provides a 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers. You can transfer you balance(s) from other high-interest credit cards and save a ton of money on interest fees as you won’t be paying any until 2018. And because the 0% intro APR is 21 months long, you’ll have a generous amount of time to gradually pay down your balance.

As an added bonus, Citi Simplicity only requires good credit, which is generally considered to be a credit score above 670. So if have some dings in your credit history, you may still qualify for all the great 0% intro APR perks this card offers.

World travelers can relax, as Citi Simplicity’s chip-enabled card means it will be accepted outside the U.S. Embedded EMT technology is typically mandatory in international countries, and the fact that Citi Simplicity provides it means you can make purchases knowing your card will be accepted.