Credit Cards

Credit Cards with Good Intentions

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I spend a lot of time analyzing and often criticizing the moves credit card issuers make. So it seems only fair that I hand out a few kudos when I see issuers do something positive for consumers. And, yes, believe it or not, there are a few credit cards out there that seem to have good intentions.

A Break on Fees

I pay particularly close attention to fees on credit cards. New fees, old fees, and new variations on old fees. Really, the possibilities appear to be endless.DiscoverCashbackBonus

So when I saw this Discover® More® Card – No Balance Transfer Fee, it made me smile. The fee is usually 5 percent, so if you’re transferring a $5,000 balance, you’re saving $250. And then you also get a zero percent introductory APR on the balance transfer amount for 12 months. This is a great opportunity to spend a year paying off your credit card debt. This promotion is valid through February 28, 2011.

Another fee that’s been dropped from a few cards is the foreign transaction fee. If your credit card charges these fees, every time you purchase something from a foreign merchant you pay a foreign transaction fee, which generally range from 2-3 percent. Capital One has been the only major issuer that doesn’t charge these fees.

Now we’re a long way from seeing the end of these fees, but recently Chase and Citi both dropped them from a few of their cards. Toward the end of the first quarter of this year, American Express is removing these fees from its Platinum and Centurion cards. If you travel overseas, these fees add up quickly. So it’s nice to have even a few more options out there for consumers. I cover this in more detail in The Latest on Foreign Transaction Fees.

At publishing time, Discover® More® Card – No Balance Transfer Fee is offered on Credit.com product pages and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for the card. However, this relationship does not result in ANY preferential editorial treatment.

A Reward for Good Behavior

CitiForwardStudentsIt feels good to get a pat on the back when you’ve done well. But it feels even better to get a reduction on your credit card’s APR. With the Citi Forward® Card, if you stay under your credit limit and pay your bills on time for three billing periods in a row, you get rewarded with up to a 2 percent reduction on your credit card’s APR.

There’s also a Citi Forward® Card for College Students that offers the same 2 percent APR reduction for using credit wisely. This is a great way to encourage young people to develop smart credit card habits.

A variation on the reward-for-good-behavior theme, is the Pay-On-Time bonus offered by Discover® Motiva SM Card. Pay the minimum payment for six consecutive billing periods and earn a bonus equal to the finance charges on your next statement.

At publishing time, Discover® Motiva SM Card, Citi Forward® Card and Citi Forward® Card for College Students are offered on Credit.com product pages and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for the card. However, this relationship does not result in ANY preferential editorial treatment.

A Thank You Gift

Yes, I know these “gifts” are a ploy to get your business. But as long as you’re signing up for a card that’s fits your needs, it’s a perk. In 201ChaseFreedom0, sign-up bonuses became popular. The specifics of the offers vary, but it usually involves getting cash rewards or bonus points upon approval or after you spend a certain amount of money within a time frame. For example, the Chase Freedom Visa® $100 Bonus Cash Back Credit Card offers a $100 bonus after you spend $500 within the first three months.

I’m starting to see a little innovation on this concept. If you enjoy dining out (raising my hand), check out the Discover® Open Road® Card – $75 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate. You earn the dinner as long you make a purchase within the first six months of opening your account. Use the card to pay for your gas on your way to the restaurant and get up to 2 percent cash back on your purchase. This is a perfect example of how it pays to match your lifestyle with a rewards card. If you dine out regularly, this is a good deal.

At publishing time,Chase Freedom Visa® $100 Bonus Cash Back Credit Card and Discover Open Road Card – $75 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate are   offered on Credit.com product pages and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for the card. However, this relationship does not result in ANY preferential editorial treatment.

A Charge Card with Empathy

AmexPlumThe Plum Card® from American Express OPEN feels your pain when it comes to cash flow. This is a charge card, which usually means you pay the balance off every month or else you’ll get harassing phone calls. But this business-friendly card takes a unique approach and offers flexible payment terms. Pay your full balance within 10 days of your statement closing date and you get rewarded with a 1.5 percent discount.

Or, if cash flow is bad this month, pay only 10 percent and take two months to pay off the full balance without penalties and interest. This is a nice nod toward the business owner who needs a little help — or a little reward — now and then. And since business cards don’t have the consumer protections that came with the CARD Act, it’s nice to see something positive for business owners.

At publishing time, The Plum Card® from American Express OPENis offered on Credit.com product pages and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for the card. However, this relationship does not result in ANY preferential editorial treatment.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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