With new credit card rules in place the top issuers launched more
consumer and business friendly products in 2009. Among the best new card
products of the year is a truly “green” card and a debit card with
discounts for teens. cardtrak.com has compiled a list of the ten best
new cards of 2009. And the winners are:
1. Gconomy Visa
2. Chase Ink
3. BofA Basic Visa
4. Citi Forward
5. Chase Sapphire
6. AmEx Gold Premier Rewards
7. Discover Current
8. U.S. FlexPerks Visa
9. Priceline Visa
10.BBVA Compass ClearPoints
Here is a rundown on each:
The “Gconomy Visa” offers points for each purchase, donates a portion of every purchase to a “green” schools program, and rewards households for recycling. The card is also made from 55% recycled plastic. The new card which rewards cardholders for positive “green” actions is the product of Barclaycard US and RecycleBank. Cardholders earn 1.5 “RecycleBank Points” for every dollar spent with “RecycleBank Reward Partners” and one point spent elsewhere. A portion of every purchase is donated to the “RecycleBank Green Schools Program,” that offers numerous grants, ranging from $100 to $5,000 to schools that work with children (ages 6-18) in the fields of environmental awareness, education, and action. Additionally, RecycleBank motivates households to recycle by measuring the amount of recycled material from the home and converting it into “RecycleBank Points.” RecycleBank has committed to donating a minimum of $1 million dollars over the next five years to the “RecycleBank Green Schools Program” via the “Gconomy Visa” card.
Chase introduced a new business card portfolio that includes four distinct cards and marks the issuer’s first introduction of a pay-in-full charge card. The new cards include: “Ink Bold,” “Ink,” “Ink Plus” and “Ink Cash.” “Ink Bold” is a pay-in-full charge card with a $95 annual fee offering premium rewards from business purchases with no limit on how many points may be earned and the points do not expire. “Ink” is a business credit card with no annual fee and a rewards program. “Ink Plus” with a $60 annual fee is a business credit card with a rewards program. “Ink Cash” is a no annual fee credit card that offers unlimited cash back and accelerated earnings on everyday business purchases. All the new cards offer online expense management tools, complete with online reporting capabilities as well as customized reports on spending that can be categorized, sorted and downloaded to accounting software for easy tracking and tax purposes. Also, additional cards are available for employees with individual spending limits and custom alerts delivered via email or text to track employee spending – all while earning rewards from employees’ purchases.
Bank of America announced a new credit card with a core interest rate of prime +14%, compared to the prime +10% APR that dominated the market for the past decade. The new “BankAmericard Basic Visa” is being promoted as a card with simplified rates and terms. Indeed the APR is the same for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. BofA’s current cards charge an APR as high as 24.44% for cash advances. The over-limit fee is gone and the late payment fee is $39, regardless of the amount past due. BofA says the new card features an easy-to-understand, single-page disclosure. The new “Basic” card is one of four new cards in a simplified suite of cards offered under the BankAmericard brand. Other cards in the suite include: “BankAmericard Power Rewards Visa”; “BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa”; and “BankAmericard Visa.” All four cards will also offer up to 20% cash back on purchases through the “Add It Up” program. For more information visit: www.bankofamerica.com/learn
A new credit card that lowers the purchase interest rate by a quarter percent when cardholders use credit wisely and rewards them with points has emerged each billing period for paying on time and staying under the credit line has emerged. The new “Citi Forward” card also offers a variety of credit education and online features. Citi also teamed with MySpace to offer “Citi Forward by MySpace,” a card that rewards cardholders for both financial and social responsibility. “Citi Forward by MySpace” cardholders will receive the same benefits and incentives for using credit wisely as well as the opportunity to earn additional “ThankYou Points” for completing socially responsible acts, such as donating to a local food drive, going paperless, switching to energy efficient light bulbs, volunteering and more.
The new “Sapphire” card from Chase is targeted at the upper 15% of U.S. households in income and offers no preset limit, offers personalized customer service and is linked Chase’??s “Ultimate Rewards” program. The card is available as “Sapphire” and for a $95 annual fee as the “Sapphire Preferred.” The upgraded “Sapphire Preferred” offers one-to-one point transfer to airline and hotel programs, points worth 25% more when redeeming for travel online, and a spend bonus of 10,000 points for customers spending $50,000 annually. Both cards offer unrestricted benefits, including no annual spending caps, points that never expire and no travel restrictions or blackout dates on travel reward redemptions. Premier travel benefits include trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage protection, rental car insurance, emergency service assistance, and an interactive online travel concierge.
6. GOLD PREMIER REWARDS
American Express launched a new “Gold” charge card that offers the opportunity to earn triple “Membership Rewards” points on airfare purchases, double points on gas and grocery purchases, and one point for all other purchases. The new “Premier Rewards Gold Card,” which carries a $175 annual fee, enables cardholders to earn 15,000 bonus points when they spend $30,000 per calendar year. The new card is part of American Express renewed focus on its “Charge Card” portfolio. The new “Premier Rewards Gold Card” also offers access to special amenities valued at $100 to $150 on virtually any trip from American Express Gold Card Destinations travel partners; a $75 food and beverage credit whenever they book a stay of two or more consecutive nights at more than 500 Starwood properties around the world; a wide variety of exclusive, unique travel and entertainment packages that are updated monthly at www.goldcarddestinations.com; and gold card events, which offers access to advance tickets and premium seating at some of the most sought-after shows and concerts, as well as VIP packages, exclusive tickets to family events, and much more. For more information visit: http://www.americanexpress.com/getthecard
Discover Financial Services introduced a debit card for teens. The new “Current” card by Discover eliminates the risk of overdraft fees and offers members-only in-store coupons and online discounts at hundreds of merchants. The new card is also offered in seven designs. Parents can deposit funds directly onto their teen’Âs “Current by Discover Card” at no cost from their credit card, bank account or through recurring deposits. Spending activity is easy for parents to track online at the “Current Account Center” and through e-mail and text message alerts. Cardholders pay a $5 monthly charge for each card, or save $10 by paying an annual fee of $50. Fees include four free ATM withdrawals per card per month.
U.S. Bank took off with the new “FlexPerks” program to replace its NWA “WorldPerks” card. “FlexPerks Travel Rewards” cardholders will earn one “FlexPoint” for each dollar spent on their new card. Customers will automatically earn double “FlexPoints” for what they spend on gas, groceries or airline purchases – whichever is highest for the customer during the month. In addition, double points are earned on most cell phone related charges. Cardholders can redeem as few as 20,000 “FlexPoints” for airline tickets on more than 150 airlines, including Northwest and Delta Air Lines. Each redeemed award ticket will also feature a credit allowance of up to $20 for possible baggage fees or in-flight food or beverages. “FlexPerks” cardholders also have the choice to redeem “FlexPoints” for gift cards, merchandise, travel certificates or statement credits. U.S. Bank is also offering “FlexPerks” on its debit cards, enabling cardholders to combine their “FlexPoint” earnings from both credit and debit card purchases.
priceline.com has launched a credit card offering instant rewards. When cardholders make a purchase, they collect rewards points and then, as soon as the points post to their account (typically within two days), redeem accumulated points to pay for items on the credit card, including the item they just purchased. The new “priceline.com Visa” earns up to 4 points for every $1 spent on priceline.com “Name Your Own Price” reservations and up to 3 points on their published-price travel reservations. Card members can choose from one of three everyday spend categories (utilities, groceries or home improvement) to earn 2 points for every $1 spent. And every other purchase made on the card earns 1 point per $1 spent. There two Visa programs, one for a $29 annual fee offering more points and a no annual fee program. The card is issued through Barclays.
Sunbelt-based BBVA Compass introduced the “BBVA Compass ClearPoints” credit card that features clear, simple and transparent terms and conditions, as well as pricing terms that will never change. The “BBVA Compass ClearPoints” card is a suite of three credit cards that covers every level of creditworthiness and includes a secured credit card, called the “BBVA Compass Optmizer” credit card. Features of the new “BBVA Compass ClearPoints” credit card include pricing terms that are tied to a Prime Rate index that will not change for the life of the card, no default pricing, no annual fee, no unexpected or hidden fees and offers rewards for good payment behavior, free credit bureau monitoring, free identity theft coverage and the “CompassPoints” rewards program. BBVA Compass credit card products are currently available in Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and Colorado.