What You Should Know Before You Apply for a Regional Credit Card
There are many benefits to banking at your local bank or credit union. You can receive personalized care and customer service as well as talk to people who are from your own community and are aware of your area’s unique needs. That level of personal attention is great when it comes to home loans and refinances, but when it comes to credit cards you may want to shop the national brands before choosing your local bank card.
How to Compare Credit Card Benefits
Comparing the rewards and benefits between credit cards can help you find a card that matches your spending habits. Before you sign up for a credit card from Suncoast or PNC, make sure you compare these benefits to cards from major banks:
0% Intro APR Period – Many credit cards offer a 0% introductory APR period on balance transfers or purchases, allowing new customers to see significant savings by not paying interest for a period of months.
Flat-Rate Rewards – Credit card rewards can be complicated and require opting into new rotating bonus categories. Flat-rate reward cards simplify the process by earning you the same reward on all your spending.
Rewards Categories – Credit cards that offer rewards, like cash back or miles, will often allow cardholders to earn extra rewards per dollar when they use their cards in specific categories, like restaurants or travel.
Limited-Time Offers – The national credit card issuers often add special deals that are only available for a limited time to new customers. The offers are generally very significant, from deep discounts at major retailers to considerable bonus rewards.
Everyday Spending – Some credit cards offer a well rounded set of rewards, bonuses, and benefits for card holder's everyday spending needs.
Sign-Up Bonus – Many credit cards include sign-up bonuses to new customers. This can be in the form of cash back, a statement credit, miles, or points.
Co-Branded Cards – Airlines and hotels will partner with credit card brands to offer enticing rewards. Co-branded cards can offers some of the best rewards for travel because they come from the airlines and hotels themselves. Unique rewards and benefits can include priority boarding, free checked bags, early check-in and free in-room Wi-Fi.
If you’re looking for a new credit card, you can start by comparing what these cards from national issuers offer:
Pay No Interest With a Long 0% Intro APR Offer
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
An easy way to see increased savings is move your balance from a high interest rate credit card to a card with a balance transfer offer. 0% intro APR offers also give consumers time to pay down their debt or make a plan to pay off a big ticket purchase. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card from Citi, a Credit Cards House advertiser, with its 0% introductory APR for an impressive 21 months on balance transfers from the date of first transfer and 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, is a card to consider when you need to transfer a balance and when shopping for a big ticket item.
For the intro offer, balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening and purchases start from account opening date. After the intro period, the APR will be 17.24% - 27.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness. If you transfer only $3,000 and you budget correctly over the 21 months, you can see hundreds of dollars in savings against paying interest every month. That savings even includes a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% (whichever is greater). The card also has no annual fee and offers free access to your FICO® score online. Click here to learn more about balance transfer credit cards.
The Citi® Double Cash Card from Citi, a Credit Cards House advertiser, offers one of the strongest cash back earnings of any flat-rate credit card. Rather than keep track of which categories you earn bonus rewards in, the Double Cash card earns 2% cash back on every purchase. You earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases. There are no caps on cash back earnings and no annual fee with this card, which makes the earning potential even more impressive.
The Citi® Double Cash Card also offers a generous 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After the intro period a variable APR of 18.49% - 28.49% will apply, based on your creditworthiness. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer (minimum $5) in the first four months of account opening. After the intro period, a 5% fee ($5 minimum) of each transfer applies after that. Click here to learn more about flat-rate credit cards.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
While other cards may only offer a rigid set of spending categories, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card allows cardholders multiples ways to earn bonus cash back. You can earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 in your first year. You also earn 5% cash back in categories like wholesale clubs or gas stations. The categories change every quarter, but generally are always on things you purchase every day. You have to activate the category bonus each quarter. The 5% is capped each quarter at $1,500 in combined purchases. You can also earn unlimited 5% back on eligible travel purchases through Chase, 3% back on eligible restaurant and drugstore spending, and 1% back on all other purchases. Categories for this year include grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and wholesale clubs. The card also has an impressive introductory balance transfer offer.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card offers new cardholders another way to increase their savings. New cardmembers can earn a $200 bonus after sending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account membership. You can redeem your cash back at any time for any amount, and there is no annual fee. Click here to learn more about rewards credit cards.
The sign-up bonus offered with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers is one of the more valuable and flexible in the industry. New cardmembers can earn 80,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. The bonus can be redeemed for $1,000 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Unlike with frequent flyer programs, rewards have no blackout dates or travel restrictions if you use them through Chase. Chase reward points can also be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to some of the leading frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs if you have a favorite carrier or are close to earning a free flight.
You can earn 5x points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2x points when you travel and 3x points at restaurants (including eligible spending for delivery services and takeout), 3x points on select streaming services and on online grocery purchases, and 1x points on all other spending.
Primarily a travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has many travel benefits, including no foreign transaction fees and trip cancellation and baggage delay insurance, as well as trip delay reimbursement. There is a $95 annual fee for the card. Click here for the best sign-up bonuses.
The credit card market is highly competitive, and national brands like American Express, Citi, Chase and Capital One are always adding new incentives to increase their market share. With that level of competition from the big banks, it can be hard for regional banks like Commerce Bank or Synchrony Bank to keep up.
Editorial Note: The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
First published , last updated
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.