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Verdict: The advantages to the Members 1st Visa Platinum card are clear: no annual fee, no cost for balance transfers and a variable rate as low as 8.25%. With two versions of the card, including a rewards version that earns the cardholder their choice of cash back or points, it’s unfortunate that there are a few major drawbacks that make the card hard to recommend. The cash back system is tiered, so purchases under $1,000 earn only 0.25%. Spending must be over $3,000 to earn the standard 1% cash back that most rewards cards offer on all purchases. The card also has a high penalty APR that penalizes cardholders who miss payments. Overall, there are better credit cards out there that avoid the disadvantages of the Members 1st Visa.
Overview: The Pennsylvania-based Members 1st Federal Credit Union offers a number of financial products to members. The two Platinum credit cards offered have a number of advantages for cardholders, including no hidden costs, annual fee or cost for balance transfers. Unfortunately, the Platinum Visa and Platinum Choice Rewards card fail in some respects. The rewards system offers a lot of choice, although the cash back system is flawed. The APR for this card may also be as high as 15.75% with a penalty APR of 18.0%. There are better credit cards available to consumers who want to avoid unnecessary costs and earn better rewards for purchases.
How These Cards Work: There are two versions of this credit card: the Visa Platinum and the Visa Platinum Choice Rewards. Both cards have the same features, although the Choice Rewards card includes enrollment in a program that earns rewards in points or cash back on every purchase. The cash back rewards is tiered, with purchases under $1,000 earning 0.25%, $1,001 – $2,000 earning 0.50%, $2,001 – $3,000 earning 0.75% and purchases over $3,001 earning a full 1.0% cash back. The points system earns one point for every dollar, along with up to 4 bonus points per dollar while shopping at select retailers. Points may be redeemed for travel, accommodations, merchandise, gift cards and more. Points never expire and may be redeemed through ScoreCard online. There is a 25-day grace period for the card that applies to purchases only. This time period allows cardholders to avoid interest charges completely by paying their balance in full, although interest will be charged immediately for balance transfers, cash advances and convenience checks. There is a penalty APR of 18.0% for this credit card which may be applied if the account is more than 60 days overdue. The penalty APR will be applied for at least six months, at which point it may be lowered provided there are no more late payments received.
Travel & Shopping Benefits: The Platinum Choice Rewards card has many benefits for cardholders, including travel accident insurance up to $1,000,000 for the cardholder, spouse and dependents. Auto rental collision damage waiver is automatically included for rented vehicles, along with emergency services like cash disbursement and card replacement. The warranty manager allows the cardholder to register warranties for all eligible purchases, which then receive an extended warranty. Fee-free balance transfers and free convenience checks are two additional benefits for cardholders to save money. An optional loan protection service is also available. This option allows the cardholder to receive coverage if they pay a monthly protection fee. In case of death, disability or involuntary unemployment, all payments and outstanding balances will be cancelled.
Fees: There is no annual fee for this card. The variable APR is between 8.25% and 15.75%, based on credit history. This APR applies to purchases, cash advances, balance transfers and convenience checks. A penalty APR of 18.0% may be applied. There is no transaction fee for cash advances or balance transfers, although a 1.0% fee applies to foreign transactions that require multiple currency conversions and 0.80% on foreign transactions with a single currency conversion. The late fee is up to $25, the over limit fee is up to $15 if the cardholder opts in and the returned check fee is a flat $10.
- No annual fee
- Choice of cash back or rewards points with Choice Rewards card
- APR as low as 8.25%
- Must belong to the Members 1st Credit Union
- Cash back is tiered and may be as low as 0.25%
- Penalty APR of 18.0%