Choice Rewards World Mastercard®
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The rewards could be better, but this is a good card if you tend to carry a balance
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The Choice Rewards World Mastercard’s best features are its low interest rate and $0 balance transfer fee — two standout features not found with traditional rewards cards. But its rewards program leaves a lot to be desired.
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First Tech Federal Credit Union paid for the creation of the content on this page. However, the information is based on our unbiased opinion, and the provider did not have any input into the review.
The First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard® is a no-annual-fee card that offers 2X points per dollar in a select number of everyday categories, a modest sign-up bonus and intro APR offer on balance transfers.
The card also has a couple of long-term perks not typically found with the best cash back cards. Like many credit union cards, it has a low APR range — 12 percent to 18 percent, making it a great low-interest card if you carry a balance. It also doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, which means you can avoid the 3 percent to 5 percent fee typically charged by traditional card issuers when performing a balance transfer.
If you tend to pay your balance in full each month, this isn’t the best rewards card available. Other rewards cards may not be able to match this card’s low interest rate or $0 balance transfer fee, but many cards offer more competitive rewards rates for similar spending categories and come with better short-term perks like a higher sign-up bonus and longer 0 percent intro APR periods for balance transfers as well as new purchases. Plus, if you aren’t a First Tech member already and don’t feel like going through the hassle of joining, applying for this card could be challenging.
The continuous APR range is one of the lowest on the market, making it a great low-interest card
It has flexible redemption options for rewards, so cardholders aren’t limited to just a basic statement credit like with some cards
It has no annual fee, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee or cash advance fee, so you don’t have to worry about paying for these common credit card expenses
The card offers a reasonable 0 percent intro APR period for balance transfers and decent sign-up bonus
There are more valuable rewards cards with better cash back rates
There is no 0 percent intro APR offer for new purchases, so you would have to start paying interest right away if you’re not focused on transferring a balance
First Tech membership is required in order to be eligible for the card, which could hinder potential applicants from getting the card
New cardholders can earn 20,000 bonus points (worth $160) after spending $3,000 in the first 60 days after opening an account. This is a nice offer if your main goal is to find a low-interest credit card. But if you’re looking for a rewards card that gives you maximum value, this sign-up bonus offers less incentive than many other rewards cards, which typically offer a higher bonus with a smaller spend requirement.
For example, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card has a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. That’s a larger offer and only requires you to spend roughly $333 spread out over three months, compared to the First Tech Choice Rewards card, which requires you to spend at least $1,500 each month for the first two months. Such a high spend requirement in a short amount of time won’t work if you don’t normally spend that much in two months and don’t have any large purchases planned.
The First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard offers 2X points per $1 in a few everyday categories. These aren’t the most competitive rates, especially if you want to earn maximum rewards on your grocery purchases and other everyday essentials. Depending on your spending habits, even a flat-rate card that offers 1.5 percent cash back on all your purchases could prove more valuable.
Cardholders earn 2X points for every $1 spent in the following categories:
All other purchases earn one point. There is no limit to how many points you may earn, so there is no spending cap on bonus category purchases you need to look out for.
However, some services will not be included in these bonus categories unless the merchant has set up such transactions to be classified in that specific category. You can take a glance over First Tech's frequently asked credit card questions to have a better idea of what purchases will and will not earn you points.
Choice Rewards World Mastercard points may be redeemed for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise and charity donations. Plus, your bonus points will never expire as long as your account is active, so you won't have to worry about redeeming points by a deadline.
Since the welcome bonus is worth $160 for 20,000 points, it’s estimated that Choice Rewards points are valued at 0.8 cents. For example, if you earn 50,000 points in a single year, it would be worth at least $400. Since points have a set value, the worth won’t decrease with any of the redemption options.
However, when compared to many of the best rewards cards, the Choice Rewards' value is not as high. Most cash back cards have redemption options that are valued at 1 cent, especially for statement credits. Using the same example above, 50,000 points in a single year would be worth $500 if your points were worth 1 cent — $100 more than what you’d earn with the Choice Rewards card. There are even travel cards like the Bilt Mastercard® that let you transfer your points to other loyalty programs for a chance to redeem your points for even greater value when you book travel.
The Choice Rewards World Mastercard comes with a variety of perks. This includes Mastercard benefits and special bonuses for cardholders who open a First Tech Rewards checking account. There are even some unique features for Portland Trail Blazer fans.
Keep in mind you’ll have to become a First Tech Credit Union member before applying and enjoying all the features this card offers. While the application process is quick, you do have to jump through some hoops to qualify. If you don’t have a family member who is already a member and don’t work for the state of Oregon or an approved company, you’ll have to join the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association, which can be done online.
Cardholders can take advantage of a variety of First Tech Mastercard Benefits, such as MasterRental Coverage, Master Global Service™ and Mastercard ID Theft Protection™.
First Tech cardholders also receive discounts on a number of services to enhance their credit card experience.
Travelers will also be able to take advantage of some travel insurance benefits, including:
Cardholders can have access to around-the-clock customer support whenever they have any questions or concerns about their First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard or are in need of service, such as emergency cash advances, lost and stolen card reporting and emergency card replacement.
Cardholders who open a First Tech Rewards Checking or Savings account will earn special bonuses in addition to the sign-up bonus and regular reward rates, such as an added 0.5 percent cash back, (up to $15 a month) on credit card spending and a $10 monthly rebate on streaming subscriptions.
Members can get a Blazers Debit Mastercard® by visiting any of the First Tech Credit Union locations in Oregon and Washington. They can also get discounted tickets to games, shows, and performances at the Rose Quarter, as well as 10 percent off everything at Rip City Clothing Company in the Moda Center all season long when they use their First Tech credit or debit card.
One of the most significant advantages of this card is the limited fees. Like many of the best credit union cards, it has no annual fee, no cash advance fee, no foreign transaction fee and no balance transfer fee. This gives the card an edge over traditional cards, which typically charge cash advance and balance transfer fees.
The Choice Rewards card also has an impressive APR of 12 percent to 18 percent. This ensures that anyone who qualifies for the card will get a rate that falls below the current average interest rate. Considering many traditional rewards cards have APRs that start near 18 percent and can get as high as 28 percent, this is a fantastic benefit.
Cardholders also qualify for a 12-month introductory APR on balance transfers (12 percent to 18 percent variable APR after the introductory period). This is a decent feature, but it doesn’t rise to the level of other cards on the market. Many of the best balance transfer cards offer introductory periods of 15 months and longer. And many rewards cards come with intro APR offers for purchases and balance transfers that can also last 15 months or longer. If you transfer debt to the First Tech Choice card and then use your card to make purchases, those purchases get hit with interest charges and will continue to accrue interest until you pay your whole balance off, including the balance transfer.
For example, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card offers cardholders a 15-month introductory APR offer on new purchases and balance transfers (17.99 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR thereafter) while earning unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.
Although the Choice Rewards World Mastercard is a good low-interest card and has a nice amount of perks, there are still other rewards cards that are worth considering, especially if you want to maximize your rewards in a specific category or earn rewards in categories that aren’t included with the Choice Rewards World Mastercard.
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When it comes to a low APR, the Choice Rewards card comes out on top against the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. But the Active Cash card is a better fit for rewards seekers.
Since the Choice Rewards World Mastercard offers 2X points per dollar in only a few select categories, you can get better value out of a flat-rate card like the Active Cash card, which offers an unlimited two percent cash rewards on purchases. This gives you more chances to earn a great rate without having to pay attention to bonus categories.
The Active Cash Card also comes with some nice perks you won’t find with the Choice Rewards card. On top of a higher sign-up bonus, longer intro APR offer that covers both purchases and qualifying balance transfers, all of your redemption options are valued at 1 cent. That means 25,000 points with the Active Cash card is worth $25. But with the Choice Rewards card, you’d only get $20.
The Citi Custom Cash Card gives you the chance to earn 5 percent cash back (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1 percent) on their top spending category each billing cycle, which includes restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and more. This helps you earn rewards in additional spending categories not offered by the Choice Rewards Card. New cardholders can also earn 20,000 ThankYou Points (worth $200 in cash back) after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first six months. This is a better offer compared to the Choice Rewards World Mastercard's sign-up bonus, which is only worth $160 and has a higher spending requirement.
If you’re looking to avoid interest charges for a limited time, the Custom Cash card has you covered. It comes with an impressive intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers, though the card’s regular ongoing APR is far higher than the Choice Rewards card. So you’ll have to watch out for the card’s interest rates once the introductory period ends.
The Citi Custom Card may not be the best fit for all rewards seekers. It only offers bonus rewards in one category and has a spending cap on those bonus rewards. Even with the higher rewards rate, it could be tough to maximize your rewards earnings, especially considering the Choice Rewards card has more bonus categories and offers unlimited rewards.
The Choice Rewards World Mastercard offers a low interest rate not typically found with other rewards cards. That makes it a great fit to pair with cards that offer bonus rewards in categories not covered by the Choice Rewards card. For example, the Wells Fargo Autograph card offers unlimited 3X points on gas stations, restaurants, travel, transit, phone plans and popular streaming services as well as 1X points on all other purchases. Together, both cards offer a powerful combination of everyday rewards.
The Choice Rewards World Mastercard is a decent card thanks to its low APR and $0 balance transfer fee. Its rewards program isn’t stellar, but still gives you a chance to earn bonus rewards on everyday purchases like gas, groceries, household goods and telecommunication services. But if you tend to pay your balances off each month and don’t need a low-interest credit card, there are better options. There are a number of rewards cards available that charge no annual fee and have better short- and long-term value. Depending on your spending habits and goals, you can find cards that offer a higher sign-up bonus, longer intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers and better rewards.
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