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Capital One Secured MasterCard
Capital One Secured MasterCard

Capital One Secured MasterCard

If you have a poor credit score or no credit history at all you may be used to being turned away when applying for regular credit cards. If so you should stop damaging your credit worthiness further by having multiple failed checks against your name, and look into getting a secured credit card to boost your rating. Secured credit cards report to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax), meaning there will be solid proof of your improvements if you keep up with payments, and do not go over your credit limit. As you steadily improve your credit score you will be able to apply for more traditional unsecured cards.

Capital One is one of the biggest credit card lenders in the USA, and their Secured MasterCard gives the cardholder the chance to rebuild their credit score. The card is one of the very best on offer and has virtually nothing going against it, making it a shrewd choice for those looking to get back on to the borrowing ladder.

Like all secured credit cards, the amount of credit you receive is directly linked to the amount of money you deposit, let’s say you pay a $500 deposit, the credit will be $500. Credit limits range from a minimum of $200 to a maximum of $3000, while there is a minimum refundable security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 depending on conditions in the application process.

Being one of the country’s leading lenders means that Capital One is FDIC insured, meaning that in the unlikely event the bank goes into bankruptcy, you will be able to claim your deposited money back in full from the government.

The Capital One Secured card carries MasterCard meaning that the card can be used in any country or retail destination that takes MasterCard. This accounts for almost all major retailers and outlets in most of the world’s nations, as MasterCard is a worldwide name.

There are no application fees on this card, where as some secured credit cards hit you in the application process, with the Capital One Secured MasterCard you will pay no opening fees.

If you can display good credit behaviour as a card holder, then you may be eligible to move to a regular card in the Capital One range and not be subject to any additional charges.

There are a few issues with this card however. Such as even though there is no fee for balance transfers, there is a high APR of 22.9%. There is an annual fee of $29, and although it is never nice to pay any annual fee, for the sector the Capital One Secured MasterCard fares very well. Many secured credit cards will charge high annual fees, sometimes in excess of $100.

With so much to offer the Capital One Secured is a very good choice for those wishing to improve their credit worthiness, while some of the options light a path to being able to get a regular unsecured card in the future. The card is far from perfect, but still proves to be one of the better secured credit cards available. See also Bad Credit Credit Cards.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards card is targeted at frequent travelers. As a card owner you get more bonus miles than with most other travel credit cards, and there are great travel perks such as accident insurance, travel assistance service, travel medical assistance, travel savings and upgrades. You need to have excellent credit to qualify for this card.

Rewards program

This credit rewards card gives you the option to save your bonus miles for travel expenses or cash, gift cards or merchandise. The rewards bonuses do not expire and and there is no limit on the amount you can accumulate. This gives you the chance to save up your miles benefits towards a purchase you really want. If you want to spend your miles on travel expenses you can use them toward airline tickets, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals and even cruises. It is also good to note that there are no blackout dates or advance booking required in order to purchase airline tickets. The way it works is you pay for your travel reservation with your Capital One VentureOne card then you will be reimbursed by either redeeming your miles over the phone or online. Capital One VentureOne pays 1.25 miles in benefits for every dollar you spend using the card. Rewards are paid as statement credits for travel benefits. In addition, the company provides a bonus of 10,000 miles if you spend a minimum of $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. If you shop Capital One’s Perk Central retail network you can earn up to 15 miles per each dollar.

Fees

There is no annual fee with this card. If you travel frequently overseas or order items from overseas using the Internet you will be pleased with the 0% foreign transaction fee if you are paying in a foreign currency. Many card issuers charge between 3% and 5% for foreign transactions. There is no fee for a balance transfer but as Capital One does not provide any introductory low or zero percent APR for balance transfers there is no incentive to transfer your balance to this card. Capital One does offer 0% APR for purchases through October 2012.

Travel benefits

The travel benefits available with this card make it perfect for the frequent traveler. Card membership provides you with 24 seven day a week travel assistance services, emergency card replacement, medical assistance, legal assistance, and car rental insurance. If you use the card at qualifying hotels, resorts and spas you will be able to get complimentary room upgrades or room discounts. If your airline carrier loses your luggage, Capital One will reimburse you up to $3,000 if you paid for the flight with the VentureOne Rewards card. One of the best benefits available with this card is the Visa Signature Concierge offering a complimentary 24 hour seven day a week concierge service. You can use it to book make your travel arrangements or to make dinner reservations or find the perfect gift when you are home or away.

Additional perks

If you buy big ticket appliances or electronics frequently and always purchase the warranty program from the retailers you will like the Free Extended Warranty perk that comes with membership to Capital One VentureOne card. If purchased with this card and the manufacturer’s warranty is three years or less Capital One will increase the length of the warranty as much as twice the length of the original warranty for qualified items. Another beneficial perk is Free Purchase Security which will either reimburse you or replace any item you purchase with the Capital One VentureOne card if reported accidentally damaged or stolen if reported within 90 days of purchase. There is a maximum of $500 for each item or $50,000 per card user.

Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card

Capital One Financial issues the Capital One Platinum Prestige credit card and it is targeted at people with great credit who are interested in conserving their money. The card has no rewards program but does offer great perks and a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and any purchases made during the introductory period. You do need to have a good credit history to qualify for this card.

Zero introductory APR

If you are looking for a card to transfer your existing credit card balance to then consider the Capital One Platinum Prestige card. Capital One is offering 0% balance transfer and purchases through January 2013. You can use this card to pay off your existing debt during the introductory period. At the end of the introductory period the APR will run somewhere between 10.9% to 18.9% depending on your credit history. There is a 3% charge for transferring our balance.

Fees

There is no annual fee with this card. There is a cash advance fee of $10 or three percent interest of the cash being withdrawn whichever is greater. You do not want to late with your monthly payment for this credit card as you could be charged up to $35.00 in a late payment fee. It is also possible to be charged an over the limit fee if your credit limit is greater than or equal to $500 at the time of the of the assessment.

Travel benefits

Though this credit card does not offer any rewards program you do get significant travel benefits. With card membership you receive $100,000 in travel accident insurance. If you book travel reservations with this card you and your family are covered for death or dismemberment. There is also access to a twenty four hour seven day a week travel assistance service. This service provides such travel assistance as foreign exchange rates, visas, and immunizations, and emergency card replacement. While traveling the card covers any medical assistance or legal help you might need. If your car breaks down there is a 24 hour roadside assistance program.

Additional Perks

There are additional benefits with this card including free extended warranty over an original manufacturer’s warranty for qualifying items bought with this card. Fraud protection covers you if your card or is lost or stolen and there are fraudulent charges made using the card. A handy benefit if you travel overseas is a 0% foreign transaction fee.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture card is a reward credit card from Capital One’s range of Visa cards that offers great rewards and a fairly low APR at the same time. A cardholder needs an excellent credit history to qualify for this card.

Offering double miles for every purchase made and no foreign transaction fees being charged, makes the Capital One Venture credit card an excellent choice for frequent travelers. Miles can be redeemed against any travel expense and new accounts even get a 0% introductory annual fee during their first year, while being able to earn 10,000 bonus miles at the same time.

The Hard Facts

The Capital One Venture reward credit card offers 2 miles per dollar spent with every purchase; a one-time bonus of 10,000 miles can be earned, once a customer has spent $1,000 in the first 3 months from the date of signing up. There is no annual fee payable in the first year, after which the fee charged is just $59 per annum.

Good news for customers wishing to transfer from another card: there is no transfer fee being charged and the transfer APR is 11.9% to 19.9%, depending on creditworthiness.

For purchases the APR applicable is 11.9% to 19.9% variable, but again, the actual rate offered depends on a customer’s creditworthiness.

The grace period is 25 days on purchases. Cash advance fees are 3% of cash advance with a minimum of $10. Cash advances come at rather a high interest rate of 24.9% variable APR, but for frequent travelers the cheery news is that there are no foreign transaction fees whatsoever.

The Venture Experience

The Capital One Venture reward credit card benefits from the Visa Signature Concierge Service, allowing cardholders to upgrade at choice hotels or get good tickets for shows or games.

On the travel side of things the card offers cardholders the chance to redeem their reward miles against any travel, gift cards, charity donations or merchandise. Travel can be booked anywhere, with any travel agent or shop or online and the miles can be redeemed before, during or after a trip.

The travel is not restricted either – it can be a cruise, an air ticket, a hotel room or rental cars, even taxi expenses are offered. There are no blackout times, no restrictions on seats or anything that would prevent a Capital One Venture cardholder to fully exploit the benefits and reward scheme on offer.

Reward miles can be redeemed up to 90 days after the purchase. All a cardholder needs to do is to go online to his or her account, find the relevant section and click Request Travel Credit and the miles are redeemed instantly.

Using the Capital One Venture reward credit card for everyday purchases like filling up at the gas station or buying groceries can soon clock up the miles, indeed 30,000 miles are not uncommon for cardholders, who spend an average of $1,250 per month on everyday things.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card
Starwood Preferred Guest Card

Starwood Preferred Guest Card

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is great if you have excellent credit and you like to stay at Starwood owned hotels and resorts. American Express is currently running a promotion for new cardholders offering 10,000 bonus points with the first purchase on your card and $15,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first six months. If you are not familiar with the hotels owned by Starwood they include Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin, Le Meridien, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, element, aloft, and Four Points by Sheraton. There is no annual fee for this card for the first year, subsequent years the annual fee is $65.00.

Benefits

You earn both hotel and airline bonus points with this travel associated credit card. The ‘Starpoints’ can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood hotels or free airline tickets. If you book stays at Starwood hotels or participating property restaurants you can earn up to five ‘Starpoints’. For all other purchases you earn one point for every eligible dollar you spend with the Starwood Preferred Guest card. A free night at a Starwood hotel requires 2,000 Starpoints for a weekend night in a standard room at qualifying hotels. Discounts up to 35% off regular room rates at participating locations are available to Preferred Guests based on the availability of rooms. Accumulated Starpoints can be used toward reaching what is referred to as the ‘elite tiers’ of membership. Starwood hotels are ranked by categories ranging from category 1 to 6. If you qualify for the initial 25,000 combined reward points you could stay free for one night at a category 6 hotel or six nights at a category 2 hotel. If you book a room for two nights at participating hotels you get a third night free. To earn this promotion you must check in from Thursday to Sunday. There are no blackout dates for either hotel stays or airline reservations at participating hotels and airlines.

Frequent flyer miles

Starpoints can be used for frequent flyer miles in approximately 30 major participating airline loyalty programs. If you choose this option you must be registered for frequent flyer miles as your earning currency. You can register for this option on either the spg.com site or by calling the SPG customer contact center. Converting 20,000 Starpoints to frequent flyer miles earns you an additional 5,000 bonus miles. Starpoints do not expire as long as you continue to use your card.

Standard benefits

Card membership with the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest also comes with standard American Express features such as travel accident insurance up to $100,000 and car rental insurance which covers damage or loss of the vehicle.

Instant Approval

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is one of the cards you can apply for online and be granted a temporary line of credit almost instantly if you qualify. An application for the Starwood Preferred Guest card is available at the spg.com site. If approved for a Starwood card you will be granted a $1,500 line of credit. Once you receive the card you receive your full line of credit. You need to have excellent credit to qualify for this card.

Benefits substantial but a bit confusing

The benefits available with the Starwood Preferred Guest card are substantial if you travel frequently and like to stay at Starwood properties but they are fairly difficult to figure out between the different tiers of membership, hotel categories and identifying participating hotels. There is also a business version of this card. See Business Credit Cards.

Visa Black Card

Visa Black Card: Not Your Father’s Credit Card

Visa Black Card

Visa Black Card

Exclusivity sells, and the marketing team behind Barclays Bank’s new Black Card is hoping that the lure of exclusivity will push their new entrant to popularity. The premise behind the card is not new; in fact, comparisons to the “other” black card from American Express are unavoidable. Consumers who are seeking a new credit card may be wondering how the Visa Black Card will fit into their current financial planning.

Exclusivity

The major selling point of the Visa Black Card is that it is in very limited circulation. Roughly 1% of Americans are expected to qualify for the card, and the requirements include a reasonably high income and excellent credit rating. The target market is consumers who are spending more than $50,000 per year with the card. These requirements will automatically limit distribution of the card.

A second factor in the exclusivity is the material of the card itself. Disdaining regular plastic, the designers of Barclaycard have built the card from carbon. It is unlikely that customers will see this from other cards in the near future. The color and the composition of the card will make it instantly recognizable, and this cachet will be attractive to some customers.

Rewards

Perhaps the best feature of the card is the access that all users will get to concierge services. Available 24 hours per day and seven days per week, the dedicated service very nearly acts as a personal travel assistant. Whether a customer is in need of urgent travel arrangements, concert tickets, or a reservation at an exclusive restaurant, the helpful staff is always on standby to support. Outside of the normal travel and business planning, the team can help in locating special gifts, services, and even research tasks. Current reviews of this service are universally positive.

Other rewards for the Black Card include 1% cash back on purchases, access to airport lounges, redemption of frequent flier miles without blackout dates, and luxury gifts to cardholders.

Finally, Visa Black Card has learned one valuable lesson from American Express, and offers increased travel protections. The card carries insurance for rental cars, trip cancellation/delay insurance, and more.

Negatives

No card is perfect, and the Visa Black Card has its faults. First, the annual fee may put off some potential customers. At $495 per year, the fee is rather high. However, offsetting the costs of the fee against the benefits offered shows that this may be reasonable. The savings on rental car insurances alone can be considerable for frequent travelers, and a heavy user of the concierge services will find sufficient value to cover the annual fee.

Second, bear in mind that the airport lounge access is limited to only four visits per year for cardholders. Heavy travelers who are very interested in this feature may be better served by another card.

For comparison shoppers, the Visa Black Card will visually be compared to the American Express Centurion card, but from a performance standpoint is much closer to the American Express Platinum. The AMEX has a $450 annual fee, with many of the same features. Review both cards with respect to your spending patterns, travel habits, and financial needs. See the Visa Black Card specs below.

Simmons First Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card
Simmons First Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card

Simmons First Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card

Simmons First Visa Platinum Rewards credit card is offered by Simmons First National Bank and is targeted at individuals with excellent credit who are looking for an airline rewards card. The card has some strong benefits but cannot match the travel rewards offered by other credit card companies.

APR

The VISA Platinum Travel Rewards credit card comes with a low variable APR of 9.25% for purchases made with the card. The APR is the same for balance transfers. The APR can change based on the current Prime Rate. If you pay your balance in full every month then you will not have to pay any interest. To avoid paying interest you must pay the balance in full within 25 days of the cycle closing date. The company does also offer a grace period for purchases of 25 days. Click Here for more info.

Travel benefits

The card comes with a variety of travel features including travel insurance for $1,000,000. If you are traveling and you lose your card and you have reported your card stolen or lost you are eligible for a free card replacement and an emergency cash program. There is also a car rental loss or damage coverage program which covers collision, theft and vandalism to any car you rent using the card. The travel rewards program provides one one per each dollar you spend with the card. You can use your travel rewards for airline tickets at any airline with no blackout dates, and no seating restrictions. If air travel is not your thing you can use the points for hotel stays, cruises, vacation packages, car rental or for dining. Click Here to Apply Now

Fees

If you travel overseas Simmons does charge a 2% fee for any foreign transaction. There is also a 3% fee for any cash advance with a $50.00 maximum. If you are late with a payment or a check is returned there is a $25.00 late fee. There is also a service fee of $12.00 if you involve customer service in getting a payment expedited. There is no annual fee associated with this card. See also, Simmons First Visa Platinum Card.

Pros/Cons

The benefit of being a cardholder of the Simmons First Platinum Rewards credit card are the no annual fee and the beginning low APR and the minimum of fees. The rewards and benefits are significant but less than those offered by other credit card companies for consumers with excellent credit. On the downside the APR is variable and could go up significantly as it is based on the Prime Rate. Click Here to Apply Now. See also, Discover Card and American Express Card.

Simmons First Visa Platinum Credit Card
Simmons First Visa Platinum Credit Card

Simmons First Visa Platinum Credit Card

The Simmons First Platinum credit card a general credit card offered by Simmons First National Bank has some attractive features. Card membership offers a low introductory APR and a variety of services including travel insurance, car rental loss and damage waiver, and emergency cash and card replacement service. The card does not come with any rewards program. You need to have excellent credit to meet the requirements for this card.

APR

The Simmons First Platinum Visa card comes with an attractive introductory APR rate of 7.25%. This is a variable rate and fluctuates with the prime rate. See also, Simmons First Platinum Rewards Card.

Global Acceptance

Credit Card Review

Credit Card Review

The Platinum card from Simmons First National as a Visa card has wide acceptance on a global scale. You can use the card at automated teller machines (ATMs) worldwide anywhere Visa is accepted. Click Here to Apply Now

Services

Every cardholder is automatically enrolled in the credit card’s travel accident insurance. Travel insurance coverage is $1,000,000 for accidental death or dismemberment of any cardholder traveling on a common carrier such as an airline, train, bus, or cruise line when the tickets were purchased with the Simmons First Platinum card. There is no additional charge for this service. If you are a cardholder and you rent a car using your Simmons card you don’t have to worry if your rental car is lost, damaged or stolen as it is covered by the car rental loss/damage waiver. To be covered the cardholder must have declined the auto rental’s collision damage waiver option. Another service which could come in handy if you are traveling and you lose your Simmons credit card is an emergency cash and credit card replacement service. The cardholder must have reported the card lost or stolen and other restrictions or limitations may apply.

Fees

There is no annual fee associated with this card. There is a 25 day grace period for any interest arising from purchases made with the card. If payment is made in full within 25 days of the cycle closing date no interest is charged on a cardholders account. Finance charges on convenience checks and cash advances begin on the day of the transactions. If payment on a Simmons platinum account is received late there is a penalty APR rate added to the account which stays in place for a minimum of six months. If you travel overseas Simmons does charge a fee for any foreign transaction. There is also a 3% fee for any cash advance with a $50.00 maximum. If you are late with a payment or a check is returned there is a $25.00 late fee. There is also a service fee of $12.00 if you involve customer service in getting a payment expedited. Click Here to Apply Now. See also, Discover Card and American Express Card.

READYdebit Prepaid Visa Card
READYdebit Prepaid Visa Card

READYdebit Prepaid Visa Card

If you are looking for a good prepaid credit card then the READYdebit Prepaid Visa Card could be the option for you. Designed for those who have been refused credit elsewhere, the card serves as a good way to build your credit rating either after falling into unmanageable debt or by never having the means to begin a credit history. Working in a similar way to a pay as you go mobile phone, prepaid credit cards give you the chance to only spend what you put in, allowing you to manage what you spend and owe more easily.

So why opt for a Prepaid card? Well simply they may be your only chance to be on the credit ladder, and with banks more unlikely to give out on poor credit scores than ever before the prepaid market is growing.  A prepaid card will allow you to build your credit worthiness while protecting you and the lender from debt, while applications usually require no credit checks, meaning you will not have numerous failed checks against your name.

Credit Card Review

Credit Card Review

The READYdebit Prepaid Visa comes with many options; when you apply you will need to weigh up if they are to your benefit or not. While the chance to build your credit is a pro, it is not guaranteed with the READYdebit Prepaid card, because the credit reporting agency which your bill records are sent to is not considered a credit bureau by many lenders.

The problem with this prepaid credit card is that the choice of plans it offers all come at a cost, and there seems to be no plan that is a really stand out, not to be missed opportunity. In fact each option hits you in the wallet while offering little in the way of rewards or good features. You can choose between high monthly payments of up to $14.95 a month but with less fees issued against transactions, or alternatively you can opt for a lower monthly fee of fewer than five dollars, but pay more transaction fees. It goes without saying that neither carries much appeal.

The sheer breadth of plans and options means getting the best out of your READYdebit prepaid visa is confusing at best. The card offers a maximum deposit and limit of $10,000, while daily purchases cannot be higher than $2500. Of course the READYdebit gives the cardholder the chance to have a prepaid credit card that is a VISA, and as it is your money you are spending (and not incurring debt) the card becomes an able substitute for a debit card. Allowing you to withdraw up to $500 at ATM machines and make purchases, negating the need to carry cash.

If you are looking to re establish a good credit score then prepaid credit cards could be the answer, however the problem with the READYdebit Prepaid is that it cannot promise even this. And with a bewildering array of plan options, reading the fine details of your chosen plan would be a must. If you are simply looking for a solid prepaid card then this could be for you, but with the large fees it may be off putting for many.

American Express Card
The card issuer American Express offers a wide range of credit cards to customers. Which card you choose will very much depend on your own particular lifestyle and financial circumstances.
Rewards Cards:

American Express Card

American Express Card

The premium rewards cards available from American Express are the Platinum Card, and the Preferred Rewards Gold Card.

The Platinum Card has a range of benefits with services like 24 hour concierge and attracts no interest charges as long as the balance is paid in full every month.

Cardholders get VIP treatment and have access to some 600 airport lounges across the globe, get comprehensive travel insurance benefits for their families and themselves as well as preferential treatment during travelling like upgrades or companion flight tickets with a 25,000 membership points bonus upon spending the first $1,000 during the first 3 months of membership. The annual fee is $450 and there is no pre-set spending limit. The card is useful for frequent travellers and their families.

The Premier Rewards Gold Card aims at frequent travellers. Upon sign up customers 25,000 points when they spend $2000 in the first three months of card membership. The annual fee is free for the first year then $175 from the second year onwards. The Premier Rewards Gold Card is a charge card thus balances must be paid in full each month. You can earn 3 points on airfare, 2x points on gas and groceries, 1x points on everything else.

Travel Rewards Cards:

The travel reward cards issued by American Express are the Gold Delta Skymiles card and the Starwood Preferred Guests Card. The Gold Delta Skymiles card is an airline miles credit card providing up to 25,000 bonus miles. See also, Airline Miles Credit Cards. There is no annual fee for the first year, then $95 each year thereafter. The fee is reduced to $45 if you are a qualified American Express Cardmember.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Card is a hotel reward credit card. In recent months, hotel reward programs are increasingly preferred to airline miles cards. Perhaps this is because dealing with the airlines can be a hassle at times. See also, Hotel Reward Programs. The Starwood Preferred Guest card offers 10k bonus points with your first purchase and another 15K when you spend $15,000 within six months. There is no annual fee for the first year, then $65 each year thereafter.

Cashback Card:

One of the American Express offerings in this category is the Blue Cash Everyday card. This card has no annual fee and you can pay your balance over time. What sets this card apart from some other cards in the cash back category is the fact that there are no rotating reward categories. You get 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations, and 1% cash back everywhere else. See also cash back credit cards. See also, TrueEarnigs Card from Costco and American Express.

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