Your Take 
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Your Take: Your Favorite Credit Card?

JD PowerEvery year, JD Power & Associates puts out a credit card customer satisfaction survey in which all the major credit card companies are listed along with their scores. It’s a 1,000 point scale and this year the “winner” was American Express with 769 out of the possible thousand. The silver medal goes to Discover Card with a 757.

I wanted to do an informal Bargaineering comment survey to see who you guys rated as the best credit card issuer. Is your favorite American Express? Discover? Citi? Chase?

I don’t call my credit card very often and I’ve never had an issue with any of my cards, so the basis of my satisfaction really just boils down to cash back rewards. In that regard I’m close to JD’s results as my favorite card is the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card followed by the Citi mtvU card.

What’s your favorite and why?


 Bank Deals 
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Citi ThankYou Rewards 20% Bonus Points Promotion

I logged into my Citi account today and discovered that they were offering a new opt-in promotion where you can earn a 20% bonus on ThankYou Points that you earn using your card for the next six months. I did some research and learned on this Fatwallet Finance forum thread that this might be a targeted offer, so if you log in and don’t see it, you’re not going crazy. It’s a nice little offer that will juice up my Citi mtvU card’s already healthy 5% at restaurants and Amazon.com to an even healthier 6%. If you have a 1% cashback card, it only gets you an additional 0.2% but there are no strings attached so you might as well take the extra cash back.

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 Bank Deals 
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AT&T Universal Rewards $50 Bonus

AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards CardThis offer is no longer available.

The AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card was my very first credit card. I applied for it in my first week on campus at Carnegie Mellon University because I was offered a t-shirt, not because I was some credit savant building my credit history and carving out a good credit score.

One of the great benefits of the card was some free long distance minutes, which was crucial back in the days when I didn’t have a cell phone and had to call home with my dorm room phone. Nowadays, the benefits of owning the card have vastly improved, with a nice $50 statement credit after you make a mere $50 in purchases within 3 months and rewards points you can spend in the ThankYou Rewards Network.
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 NEWS 
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Citi Dividend Card Implements Quarterly Bonus Rewards

Late last week, I received a mailing that explained the Citi Dividend Card would be, like a caterpiller after curling into a chrysalis, metamorphosizing into the Citi Dividend World MasterCard. On July 1st, 2010, the benefits of the card as well as the reward program, would be changing.

The big change is the introduction of quarterly bonus cashback promotions. This is an idea first popularized by Discover More with their Get More Program, now more and more reward cards are offering this. For the 3rd quarter of 2010 (July 1 – Sept 30), the bonus cashback is offered on purchases made at restaurants, car rentals, and hotels and the bonus percentage is 5%.

Here are some of the details of the reward structure:
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 Credit 
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How to Analyze Credit Cards Reward Programs

Credit card companies are always competing for “share of wallet,” that is a piece of your spending pie. They will offer new account bonuses to entice you to sign up. They will give you reward points of cashback to entice you to keep using their card. They’ll throw out low introductory interest rates to make spending your money a little easier.

As consumers, you might think it’s easy to compare offers. If someone offers you 1% and someone offers 2%, the 2% is better right? Not necessarily. In the world of reward programs there are two sides – the earning of points and the spending of points. It’s very easy to only focus on the earning of points and assume that spending it will be easy. As some travel credit card holders have quickly learned, sometimes spending it isn’t as easy as it seems.

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 Credit 
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Citi Platinum Select & Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card: $30 Statement Credit

Citi Platinum Select MasterCard and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card members.

Update: Citi will no longer be promoting the $30 Statement Credit previously offered with the Platinum Select Card.

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 Credit 
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Low Interest Credit Cards

Binder Clip WalletWhile I’ve never carried a balance on my credit card before, making sure the card offered a low interest rate was always important to me. While I never intend to carry a credit card balance, I’m also a realist. I recognize that sometimes you can’t control what you can or cannot do. Things get out of your control and during those times it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared. Should you ever need to carry a credit card balance, it’s important to make sure that the cards you choose offer a lower interest rate. When I analyze credit cards, I usually look at the rewards program first, then any special offers, followed by the interest rate.

I separate the list into two camps – those who are currently battling debt and those who are like me, looking with a more preventative eye. I’ve listed those cards that are strongest for credit card debt warriors first. All the cards are suitable for those in debt, but the Citi Platinum Select and PenFed Visa Promise cards are likely best. The Discover® More and Chase Freedom, the third and fourth card listed, are better for those without debt since they offer rewards but slightly less attractive APRs for existing debt.

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 Credit 
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Citi Introduces Credit Card & Banking iPhone App

Citi is one of the first credit card companies to produce their own branded iPhone app – called Citi Mobile. It’s pretty much what you’d expect, all of the functionality of the Citi website packaged up in a nice little iPhone app. With the banking part of the app, you can look up ATMs and branches (a great way to avoid fees, it even maps directions for you), check balances, pay bills, and get straight to customer service. With the credit card part of the app, you can check balances and reach customer service. I’m pretty impressed (here’s an interactive tutorial).

I’m really starting to like how credit card companies and banks are coming out with their own iPhone apps. As much as I like online personal finance tools (like Mint, Yodlee, and others) and their apps, there is always the specter of security and identity theft hanging over them. I know that they’re 99.99999% safe, but there’s always that little sliver of doubt. When I give one of the credit bureaus my social security number to get my credit report, I’m less worried because they already have all that information. When I view my Citi mtvU credit card information on their Citi Mobile applications, I’m less worried about security because it’s Citi. They already have my credentials and my information. I’m not giving it to a third party (even if they encrypt it and say they never look at it).

The slickest app is, of course, reserved for the iPhone (no iTouch version yet, though they’re supposed to come out with one later this year) but there versions for dozens of other models. Unfortunately, the Palm Treo, my phone, isn’t one of them so I won’t even be able to play with the non-iPhone version. Maybe I’ll join the cool kids this year and get an iPhone… until I realize the service plan is like a hundred bones a month.

My hope is that every financial services company produces one of these and I suspect, in the coming months, they will.


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