Credit Cards

Tips, news, reviews, caveats, trends, updates and analysis related to consumer and business credit cards, and prepaid debit cards. From the interest rate specialists @

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yes: BofA Pet Rewards Is Still A No Fee Balance Transfer Credit Card

Bank of America Pet Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America Pet Rewards Credit Card
Every month, I take a tour of the terms and conditions associated with the credit cards we recommend at the website. I do this to make sure that the cards we are recommending still deserve to be recommended by us. This time around, I found something that would have been a real downer for those looking to transfer credit card balances to a 0% offer that doesn't charge a balance transfer fee. The most popular "no fee balance transfer" 0% credit card right now is the Bank of America Pet Rewards Visa® card, no doubt because it's now the only 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card from a big-name bank to which you can transfer balances and pay no transaction fee.

When I checked this card's terms and conditions, I wasn't able to find any language stipulating that balances can be transferred to this card during the introductory period without incurring a fee. So I visited the Bank of America (BofA) site and clicked a link that initiated a real-time, online conversation with a BofA customer service representative (CSR). Here is how that online conversation went (I've copied and pasted the transcript below):

"Thank you for choosing Bank of America. An operator will be with you shortly. You are now chatting with MarLon.

MarLon: Hello, I specialize in assisting with new personal credit card applications. How may I assist you today?

you: hello

MarLon: How are you today?

you: i thought the Pet Rewards card had no balance transfer fee. This card has a transaction fee on balance transfers now??

MarLon: It does.

you: a fee on balance transfers, even the introductory balance transfers?

you: OK, well that's all I wanted to clarify

MarLon: Introductory 0%† APR for Balance Transfers*, Check Cash Advances, and Direct Deposits through your first 6 billing cycles. (These transactions are subject to a 3% transaction fee, no less than $10. Intro APR will end if late or over limit. Payments are applied to lower rate balances first.)

you: does BofA have any cards that don't charge a transaction fee on transferred balances????

MarLon: Not for the 0% offers.

you: ok....thanks

MarLon: Actually the Pet Rewards card have no transaction fee during the intro period.

MarLon: It does thereafter.

MarLon: Click here.

you: no fee on introductory balance transfers????

MarLon: Right.

you: OK...thanks...I need to be sure, not just for me but for others. I recommend cards on certain websites and forums

MarLon: Thank you.

you: ok...thanks

you: have a great evening

Last text message received MarLon: You're welcome! Have a great evening as well!"

FYI: Ever since the BofA Pet Rewards card stole the #1 spot as the most popular card at, the second most popular card on this site has been the Discover More American Flag card. Discover More still offers 0% intro APR on both new purchases and introductory balance transfers, and it also has the most consumer-friendly rewards program in the American market. You just can't beat 5% cash back! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Get A $20 Gift Card for Every $200 You Spend This Holiday Season

Get a $20 gift card for every $200 you spend on your Discover credit card until January 4, 2009Black Friday is almost upon us. Thanks to the sluggish economy and global credit crisis, retailers are going to be offering some serious bargains this year to get shoppers into their stores.

But before you hit the shops this season, you may want to consider taking advantage of a great offer from Discover. Between now and January 4, 2009, if you buy stuff at participating malls across the country with any Discover card, Discover will give you a $20 gift card for every $200 you spend. This offer is great because most Discover cards already come with a generous rewards program. This Turns Receipts Into Rewards promotion won't negate any rewards program that's built into your Discover credit card. In essence, it's a rewards on top of rewards!

Remember to hold onto your receipts. You'll need them to claim your gift card(s).

Which American malls are participating in this offer? Click here and look for the Find a Mall tool on the right hand side of the page.

Of course, if you don't have a Discover card, you can apply for one here. We recommend the Discover More American Flag card, which is the most popular Discover card we recommend at this website. Enjoy!

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Debit or Credit - Is There a Right Answer?

credit cardIn this day and age, paying with plastic is no longer just for the wealthy and the well-to-do. It’s commonplace to see someone pull a card out of their wallet to pay for purchases. These days, Visa and Mastercard debit cards empower anyone with a bank account to forego paying with cash. According to the Federal Reserve,

“In 2006, for the first time, consumers paid for more purchases with debit and credit cards combined than with checks. Debit card use is growing especially fast; debit cards have surpassed credit cards as the most popular electronic payment.”1
With the use of debit cards rising the way it is, you no longer hear merchants ask, “Would you would like to pay with a credit card” - they now simply ask, “Debit or credit?”

But which is the right answer?

There are certain instances in which debit card use is the obvious choice. When you have problems obtaining credit or when you are not able to pay off balances in a timely fashion, debit cards are the way to go. You can use them like credit cards to make purchases online and by phone, and carrying a debit card is safer than carrying cash. However, there are some good reasons not to use debit cards that may surprise you. The following video explains what those reasons are:

As you can see, for all the perceived dangers involved with habitually charging purchases with credit cards, paying with debit cards poses unique risks as well. For consumers who are able to pay off their balances monthly, using credit is often a wise and profitable option compared to debit. Bankrate also provides information on how paying with credit can be beneficial:

Using credit for major and regular purchases is good for your financial health. There are so many benefits to managing your money by paying with credit that it’s hard to imagine not doing it. Savvy consumers also pay with credit in order to take advantage of the rewards offered by card issuers. For example, the Discover More card has an attractive rewards program that include:

  • $40 Cashback Bonus when you apply

  • Up to 20% Cashback Bonus® when you shop online

  • Unlimited cash rewards, automatically

  • Double rewards when you buy from more than 80 Cashback Bonus Partners

You can actually earn money by using a card like that, all with 0% intro APR and no annual fee. If you paid cash for the same purchases, you wouldn't receive anything extra at all. These kinds of rewards plus the added buyer protection and convenience that comes with proper credit card usage are why so many people who could pay with cash opt for credit instead. Those benefits alone may be enough to inspire you to commit to disciplining yourself to use your credit more wisely from now on. If you don’t yet have any credit, using credit cards the right way from the start will help you to develop a stellar credit rating that will pay off for years to come.

So, the next time you’re asked, ‘debit or credit', think first - the best answer may be ‘credit’ after all.


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