Credit One Bank® Wander™ Card review: Travel rewards with fair credit

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Snapshot

3.3

Bankrate rating
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Credit One Bank Image
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Apply now

on Credit One Bank's secure site

Best travel card for fair credit

Credit One Bank® Wander™ Card

Rewards rate

1x–5x

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

24.24% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good  (580 - 740)

Credit One Bank® Wander™ Card Overview

The Credit One Bank® Wander™ Card is geared to consumers with fair credit to good credit who want the chance to earn rewards on recreation-related purchases. A $95 annual fee applies, but cardholders can earn 5X points on eligible recreational and amusement park purchases (including national parks and professional sporting events), 3X points on eligible restaurant and lodging purchases (including campgrounds) and 1X points on all other purchases.

Rewards rates and bonus category coverage of this caliber are hard to find for uncommon categories like these, let alone for less than prime credit. In fact, we’d go as far to say that it’s one of the best credit cards for road trips.

You can even get prequalified for the Credit One Bank Wander Card online and without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This combination of features makes the Credit One Bank Wander Card a good option for “fair” credit consumers who want to earn rewards and build credit at the same time.

However, the Credit One Bank Wander Card is far from perfect, and its rewards program is definitely subpar when you compare it to the best rewards credit cards on the market today for a similar annual fee. Since its rewards focus doesn’t provide as many daily reward opportunities for typical spenders, it can be hard to justify the annual fee. For this reason, its more affordable sibling, the Credit One Bank® Wander™ Card With No Annual Fee, may be a wiser choice to cover these specific purchases if you have excellent credit—despite the premium Wander card’s higher rewards rates, added welcome offer and more accessible credit score criteria.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Get prequalified online, without a hard inquiry on your credit report, which is a major plus if you’re not sure you want to apply.
  • Qualify with “fair” credit, which is rare for a travel rewards card.
  • Pay for a National Park Pass with your card within a year of account opening and you’ll automatically get an $80 statement credit.
  • Generous rewards rates for a credit card that is geared to people with imperfect credit.

Cons

  • Rewards program and redemption features lots of red tape.
  • The $95 annual fee is very high for a card available with fair credit.
  • You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee (minimum $1) when you use your credit card to make purchases abroad, limiting its appeal as a standalone travel card.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Earn 5X points on eligible recreational and amusement park purchases (including national parks and sporting events), 3X points on eligible restaurant and lodging purchases (including campgrounds) and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: $80 statement credit toward a qualifying National Park Pass after paying for it within the first year
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 24.24 percent (variable)

Current welcome offer

The Credit One Bank Wander Card doesn’t offer a traditional sign-up bonus, which is fairly typical among credit cards for fair credit. However, you can qualify for a $80 statement credit toward a qualifying National Park Pass when you pay for this pass with your card within a year of account opening. That’s better than nothing since welcome offers aren’t common for cards with fair credit, but not everyone has the option (or the desire) to take advantage of this perk.

The $80 statement credit shouldn’t be taken for granted, it’s also worth considering that even a few secured cards may feature better welcome offers. For instance, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card matches all of the cash back you earn in your first year.

Rewards rate

For a credit card for fair credit, the Credit One Bank Wander Card offers a very generous rewards rate. However, some of the bonus categories are pretty specific, so not everyone will be able to maximize them.

How you earn

Cardholders of the Credit One Bank Wander Card earn 5X points on eligible recreational and amusement park purchases (including national parks & sporting events), 3X points on eligible restaurant and lodging purchases (including campgrounds) and 1X points on all other purchases.

While the 5X point categories may be difficult to use more than a few times per year, earning 3X points on eligible dining and lodging (including campgrounds) can help you rack up a lot of points. You’ll also earn a flat 1X points on all non-bonus spending, which can add up fast.

Just keep in mind that other credit cards for fair credit offer different rewards categories, and potentially even a higher rate on regular spending.

How to redeem

When it comes to redeeming your rewards, there are quite a few options on the table. For example, you can redeem your points for statement credits (in 1,000-point increments), gift cards, merchandise and travel.

While statement credits, gift cards and merchandise options are pretty cut and dry, the travel program offered with this card is pretty specific.

For starters, there is no basic expectation of how much your rewards are worth when you redeem for travel. You can also only redeem for travel through Credit One Bank’s own travel portal, which partners with Aspire Loyalty Travel Solutions, LLC. This means you can’t use your points to book directly with airlines, hotels and other travel vendors.

How much are the rewards worth?

Rewards earned with the Credit One Bank Wander Card are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for statement credits. With this redemption rate, 1,000 points are worth $10. However, the value for your rewards can vary if you redeem for gift cards, merchandise or travel.

Other cardholder perks

The Credit One Bank Wander Card doesn’t have a ton of meaningful cardholder perks, but this is common among credit cards for fair credit. If you want a credit card that comes with all the bells and whistles, you’ll need to improve your credit score until it’s in the “good” range or better.

With that being said, you can expect the following benefits if you sign up for the Credit One Bank Wander Card.

More Cash Back Rewards Program

If you’re eager to boost how much you earn in rewards, the Credit One Bank Wander Card has a bonus program called the More Cash Back Rewards Program that lets you earn up to 10 percent more cash back with participating merchants (depending on the offer’s terms). New offers are added all the time like with other issuers’ card-linked programs, such as Amex Offers, so you can always check in and see which stores are available.

Credit One Bank mobile app

Although it’s an expected feature from essentially any issuer, Credit One Bank has a mobile app that lets you track your spending and your rewards on your phone or another mobile device. Their mobile app is highly rated in the Google Play store with 4.5 out of 5 possible stars.

Zero fraud liability

If you’re just getting the hang of using a credit card, you should know this card offers zero fraud liability for unauthorized charges. This perk can provide you with considerable peace of mind and some protection if a hacker or thief gets their hands on your credit card or your card number by ensuring that you won’t have to pay promptly reported, unauthorized purchases.

However, this account protection is an industry standard for nearly any credit card, so it’s not a unique perk to hinge your card decision on.

Optional Credit Protection Program

Like other Credit One cards, the Credit One Wander also comes with the option to enroll in the issuer’s Credit Protection Program. It can waive your card’s minimum payment for up to six months in the event you’re involuntarily unemployed or disabled if you pay 96 cents per $100 of your new balance each month, but comes with a considerable catch. Rather than activating immediately, it will take 30 days for your policy to take effect, which then freezes your account while allowing compound interest to keep accruing.

Since this can snowball your balance during a time when you might not be able to make your minimum payment to begin with, you might want to consider a more cost-effective debt management plan instead that won’t pose the risk of over-extending and closing your account.

Rates and fees

The Credit One Bank Wander Card charges a $95 annual fee, which is higher than many comparable cards charge. It’s worth factoring into your budget ahead of time since it has the potential to eat through a heaping share of your yearly rewards.

For example, it will take spending $1,900 on 5X-point recreational and amusement park purchases each year (about $159 each month) or about $3,167 on 3X-point restaurant and lodging purchases each year (almost $264 each month) to recoup the annual fee in rewards redeemed for cash back.

The APR this card charges (24.24 percent, variable) is also well above the current average, but it’s not the worst rate when you compare to other credit cards in the “fair credit” niche.

Other fees to be aware of include a 3 percent foreign transaction fee (minimum $1, whichever is greater), late payment and returned payment fees up to $39 (terms apply) and a 5 percent cash advance fee (minimum $10) you’ll pay if you use your card to get cash at an ATM.

All things considered, the fees for the Credit One Bank Wander Card are pretty average when you compare it to similar options, but the annual fee may be a deal-breaker for average spenders.

How the Credit One Wander compares to other rewards cards

As you decide which credit card to sign up for, you should make sure you compare at least two or three of the top options. Other credit cards for fair credit feature their own rewards programs and value proposition. You may even find that a different card would leave you with more rewards at the end of the year, or let you pay a lower annual fee or no annual fee.

Credit One Bank Image

Credit One Bank® Wander™ Card

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3.3
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Apply now

on Credit One Bank's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1x–5x

Recommended credit

Fair to Good(580 - 740)
Capital One Image

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$39

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1.5%–5%

Recommended credit

Fair to Good(580 - 740)
Bank of America Image

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Annual fee

None

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1%–3%

Recommended credit

No Credit History

Credit One Bank Wander Card vs. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you have fair credit score, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent credit-building cash back card with more of a focus on your day-to-day expenses. Its unlimited flat 1.5 percent cash back rate can help you rake in rewards from almost any purchase, including all of the niche recreation purchases the Wander card covers.

While it doesn’t carry the same tiered bonus category structure as the Wander card, the QuicksilverOne’s flat-rate rewards may be more lucrative for the average spender. Based on a $15,900 annual spend, the QuicksilverOne would earn about $239 in cash back or around $200 after subtracting the card’s $39 annual fee. Unless you spend heavily in the Wander card’s bonus categories—especially its niche 5X category—that could beat the Wander card’s earnings.

Credit One Bank Wander Card vs. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

While the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card can’t match all of the Wander card’s bonus categories, it carries no annual fee and its flexible cash rewards program offers bonus rewards in a wide variety of spending categories that may appeal to you if you’re considering the Credit One Wander card. These include dining and travel, with the latter category covering amusement parks, aquariums, zoos, campgrounds, hotels, tourist attractions and more.

The Customized Cash Rewards Secured lets you pick one of six 3 percent cash back categories, which can be swapped once each calendar month, and also offers consistency via its fixed 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. But keep in mind that those categories will share a $2,500 quarterly spending limit before your cash back drops to 1 percent.

And while you’ll have to put down a security deposit to get started with the Customized Cash Secured card, this could actually help you build credit more easily with responsible use. With a matching security deposit, you can get access to a credit line of $300 to $4,900. Compared to the Wander card’s $500 minimum credit line, this could give you much more wiggle room to keep your credit utilization—a key credit scoring factor—in check.

Best cards to pair with the Credit One Wander card

If you’re still working on your credit score, it may be better to hold off on applying to multiple credit cards. This can make it easier to keep your balances in check and avoid unnecessary dings to your score courtesy of hard inquiries. But if you’re feeling confident in your score and are ready to optimize your rewards strategy, having a second card can not only help you earn more rewards but also help you lower your credit utilization ratio via more available credit.

Since the Credit One Bank Wander Card only offers 1X points on purchases outside its bonus categories, you may want to pair it with a card that offers a higher rewards rate on general purchases. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may be a good card to pair with since you earn 1.5 percent cash back right off the bat.

Similarly, the Bank of American Customized Cash Secured or Capital One SavorOne Student cards may also be helpful for their bonus categories the Wander card is missing, especially everyday categories like grocery stores.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Credit One Bank Wander Card worth it?

The Credit One Bank Wander Card can definitely be worth it due to its generous earning rates in several different categories. However, you’ll have to pay a $95 annual fee each year you have the card, and this fee will wipe out the first $95 in rewards value you get each year. Meanwhile, the fact you only earn 1X points on regular spending also makes the Credit One Bank Wander Card slightly disappointing.

With that being said, this card does let you get prequalified online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and you get the chance to use it to build your credit over time.

Our advice: Consider the Credit One Bank Wander Card for sure, but make sure you compare it to a few other rewards credit cards before you apply.