5 Things to Know About the Choice Rewards World Mastercard

Joining First Tech credit union to get the Choice Rewards World Mastercard can give you access to a rewards cards that goes easy on fees and interest.
Jae Bratton
By Jae Bratton 
Edited by Erin Hurd

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


The Oregon-based credit union First Tech has a small suite of credit cards that includes the Choice Rewards World Mastercard, which boasts a $0 annual fee, $0 balance transfer fee and a lower-than-average APR. However, because a credit union issues the Choice Rewards card, potential cardholders must meet specific eligibility requirements to get the Choice Rewards card.

If you already belong to the First Tech credit union, getting the Choice Rewards card feels like an easy, sensible choice. Everyone else will need to decide if the effort required to join the credit union is worth the benefits of the Choice Rewards card.

Here are five things to know about the First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Though the names sound similar, don't confuse this card with the Choice Privileges® Mastercard®, which is affiliated with Choice Hotels and earns hotel redemption points.

1. Membership is required

Only First Tech Credit Union members are eligible to apply for the Choice Rewards credit card. Nevertheless, there are many points of entry into this credit union. You can become a member if:

  • A family or household member is already a First Tech member.

  • You or a family member work for one of First Tech's partners. The list is quite extensive and represents a range of industries.

  • You work for the state of Oregon.

  • You work or live in Lane County, Oregon.

  • You belong to California's Computer History Museum, which costs as little as $15 a year.

  • You belong to the Financial Fitness Association. Membership costs $8 a year.

The ability to gain First Tech membership by joining the Financial Fitness Association will be especially useful for those who live outside of Oregon, where the First Tech Credit Union is headquartered. Credit union members must typically live or work near one of the union's branches. Still, by joining the Financial Fitness Association, you can bypass that requirement for a few bucks a year.

2. It's light on fees

One of the highlights of the Choice Rewards card is the absence of fees common in other credit cards. In addition to its $0 annual fee, the card also does away with:

The Choice Rewards card does charge up to a $25 fee for late and returned payments, but other cards usually charge as much as $40.

🤓Nerdy Tip

When you open a First Tech Rewards Checking account, you'll get a $10 streaming subscription rebate and an extra 0.5% cash back on monthly credit card spending. Earnings from the additional 0.5% are capped at $15.

3. Its APR is lower than average

Typical of credit cards from credit unions, the annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases on the Choice Rewards card is significantly lower than the industry average. As of December 2023, the purchase APR on the Choice Rewards card tops out at 18%. Meanwhile, the average APR in August 2023 on all interest-accruing credit cards was 22.77%, according to the Federal Reserve.

Ideally, you’re paying off credit card balances in full to avoid interest charges and higher utilization rates, which can lower your credit score. But a card like the Choice Rewards can be a money-saver when it’s not possible to do so.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Choice Rewards credit card has a minimum credit limit of $10,000 and a maximum of $35,000.

4. It earns double points in popular spending categories

The Choice Rewards card earns 2 points per $1 spent on several everyday categories:

  • Gas.

  • Dining.

  • Electronics.

  • Grocery stores.

  • Household goods.

  • Medical expenses.

  • Telecommunications.

All other spending earns 1 point per $1 spent. There's no cap on the points you can earn, and points never expire.

Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash, so 1,000 points equal $10 in cash back. In addition to cash back, rewards points may be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and experiences. Minimum redemption amounts vary depending on the redemption type; cardholders must have at least 2,500 points to redeem for cash.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Choice Rewards Mastercard has a robust list of categories that qualify for bonus points, but read the fine print so you're familiar with what earns double points and what doesn't. For example, food delivery services won't count as dining and warehouse clubs like Costco aren't classified as grocery stores.

5. It has a sweet sign-up bonus

New Choice Rewards cardholders will earn 20,000 points by spending at least $3,000 within the first 60 days of account opening. That's equal to $200. That bonus is competitive with those offered by top-shelf credit cards such as Citi Custom Cash® Card and Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. However, the spending threshold to earn the bonus on the Choice Rewards card is a bit higher than other cards, which can be as low as $500.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Get Started
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.