Texas Credit Cards: Great Regional Banks and Credit Unions vs National Offers
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If you live in Texas, your credit card choices are abundant. Our favorite Texan credit unions and regional banks offer interest rates that can be 5% lower than the national average – not too shabby. You can choose from a large selection of regional banks, or local credit unions, as well as from cards offered by large national credit card issuers.
Texas Credit Unions: Reliable Low-Interest Credit Cards
Credit unions are uniquely local institutions that tend to offer better rates because they are non-profit institutions. Fortunately, there are many credit unions that you qualify for just by virtue of living in Texas. Try using our credit union page to find your nearest credit unions.
|Annual Percentage Rate||Rewards||Notes|
|National Average Credit Card Rate, Banks||13.64% (excellent credit) to 18.88% (average credit)||1.07%|
|Addison Avenue Visa Platinum||7.25% to 16%, variable, depending on your credit score||1% cash back, or CU Rewards Points||No foreign transaction fee, cash advance fee, anyone can join|
|City Credit Union||As low as 7.99%||Membership is open to Dallas, Ellis, and Cooke County residents|
If you live in Houston, Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union is one of over 15 credit unions open to you, and one of our favorites because their cards have no foreign transaction fee, and are part or a massive nationwide surcharge free ATM network called CO-OP with 28,000+ ATMs, as well as a nationwide shared branching network that allows you to bank at over 4,000 partner locations. To become a member, you can make a $5 donation to the Financial Fitness Association.
If you live in Dallas, one of our favorites is City Credit Union, which has the same ATM and branch convenience as Addison Avenue, and APRs as low as 7.99% for excellent credit. Anyone in the Dallas, Ellis, and Cooke county areas can join.
Check our credit union finder and the credit unions’ websites to find out more about the eligibility requirements.
Regional Banks: Low-APR Credit Card Diamonds in the Rough
There are several popular regional banks that have a strong presence in Texas. Texas is unique in that most of its top banks by asset size are either state-chartered or serve only Texas residents. These include Amegy Bank, Texas Capital Bank, and International Bank of Commerce. The standout credit card offers include Amegy Bank’s Visa Platinum card, Texas Capital’s Visa Signature card, and International Bank of Commerce’s credit card.
|Annual Percentage Rate||Rewards||Notes|
|National Average, Banks||13.64% (excellent credit) to 18.88% (average credit)||1.07%|
|Amegy Bank Visa||8.75%, variable||1% cash back, or a points program, for a $25 annual fee||Must make more than $35,000, otherwise your rate is 10.25%, variable|
|IBC Visa||7.24% to 17.24%, variable, depending on your credit score||None|
Amgey Bank: Amegy Bank’s Visa Platinum card offers a low variable APR of 8.75% (as of May 16th) with no annual fees. The only catch is that you must make more than $35,000 per month. If your annual income is below $35,000, you can check out their Visa Classic card. Its APR is higher at 10.25% (prime + 7%), but no annual fees are involved. Both offers compare favorably to averages in Texas and the U.S, and are available to all Texas residents.
These cards give you the option of enrolling in Amegy’s two rewards programs. One is a rewards points-based program, and the other is a cash-back program. While the credit cards have no annual fees, enrolling in either rewards program will cost $25 dollars a year. In terms of book value, the two rewards programs are equivalent; earning a point per dollar is the same as getting a penny back per dollar spent.
After some research, though, the cash-back rewards program is a much better deal than the points program. For example, it takes 35,965 rewards points to get a 32GB iPod touch, which means that you need to spend around $36,000 with the credit card. However, if you buy the same iPod online from Apple, it only cost $299. With the 1% cash back rate, you only need to spend $29,900 to get the same product.
International Bank of Commerce: The IBC also offers a variety of great credit cards. One of them is the IBC card. This card has three APRs, 7.24% (prime + 3.99%), 11.24% (prime + 7.99%), and 17.24% (prime + 13.99%) depending on their evaluation of your creditworthiness. This card, too, has no annual fee.
To qualify or the International Bank of Commerce card, you must be a U.S. permanent resident, 18 years of age or older, and have an annual income of at least $15,000.
National Banks: The Place to Go for Rewards Credit Cards
There are many national banks whose great credit card offers are available to Texas residents. These for-profit banks are big names like Chase, American Express, Capital One, and Bank of America.
The reasons these banks offer the best reward programs is because they are focused on marketing and product design, and have huge budgets to create travel rewards programs to entice affluent customers. Credit unions and small banks simply don’t have the scale to compete with bigger banks’ rewards programs.
Our favorite heavyweight rewards cards are the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, and the Chase Freedom®.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is your best pick if you’re a traveler. You earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend – that’s a 2% rewards rate. You can also earn a great signup bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel. The most unusual feature of this card is that it boasts no foreign transaction fee, versus the standard 3% charge. This can make a huge difference when traveling overseas.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the ultimate in cash back rewards. You can earn 6% back on supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 3% on department stores and gas, and 1% on everything else. There is, however, a $75 annual fee attached to the card. Even taking the annual fee into account, though, this is one of the highest earning rewards cards. Based on our calculations, the average American consumer can earn as much as $500 annually in rewards.
The Chase Freedom® card also features rewards with an annual fee of $0. If you think you won’t spend enough to cover the annual fee with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, then this card is an excellent alternative. It’s a Visa Signature card, which earns you the perks of a premium credit card like concierge service, purchase protection, return protection, travel insurance, and more.
If these three cards aren’t what you are looking for, there are still many credit cards out there that will fit your needs and lifestyle.