Editorial Review

ABOC Platinum Rewards Review: Good Benefits for Average Credit

There's a lot to like — including a sign-up bonus, a 0% intro APR period and 5X points on rotating categories — for no annual fee. Point values vary, though, and are lower for cash-back redemptions.

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THIS PAGE MAY BE OUT OF DATE

This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet:

  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated offers.

Our Take

4.6

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: This card offers solid benefits while you build credit, if you're OK with varying point values and are willing to put in a little work to track bonus categories.

Best Credit Card for Fair Credit

ABOC Platinum Rewards

on Amalgamated Bank of Chicago's website

on Amalgamated Bank of Chicago's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

  • No Annual Fee

  • Qualify with average credit or better

  • Sign-up bonus

Cons

  • Fee of 3% of each balance transfer (minimum $5)

  • Poor cash-back redemption option

  • If you value simplicity, a flat-rate card may be better

Alternate Pick: Cash-back rewards

Discover it® Secured

Unique bonus

If your credit score is lower than 630, you might actually have bad credit rather than average credit. In that case, consider a secured credit card like the Discover it® Secured. Security deposit: $200 minimum. Rewards: Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. All other purchases earn 1%. Bonus: Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Annual fee: $0

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Capital One QuicksilverOne Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$39

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

It's available to those with average credit, also known as fair credit, which typically means applicants with FICO scores between 630 and 689. But it also packs several valuable features that are rarely offered on those kinds of cards. For starters, it earns bonus rewards in popular spending categories that change each quarter. Plus, there's a sign-up bonus, as well as a 0% intro APR period for both purchases and balance transfers (the latter of which is quite lengthy), all for an annual fee of $0.

These kinds of benefits are normally found on cards requiring good to excellent credit — FICO scores of 690 or higher — and they make this card worth keeping around even if your credit scores improve.

One big caution: You'll get good value from your rewards when you redeem them for travel. But if you want cash back, this may not be the best card for you, as points are worth significantly less when you choose that option.

Nerd tip: ABOC also issues the ABOC Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card. It shares many of the same features, but it's designed for union members or supporters. For more information, see our review of that card.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card: Key features

Card type: Rewards.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening.

Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined spending on categories that change each quarter. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. Those 5X categories are:

ABOC bonus rewards categories for 2019 and 2020

2019 categories

2020 categories

Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)

• Dining. • Grocery. • Pharmacy.

• Recurring payments (including utilities, cell phone plans, cable, insurance payments, streaming services and subscription services).

Q2 (April 1 – June 30)

• Home improvement (including warehouse and wholesale club purchases).

• Dining. • Groceries. • Transportation expenses: Rideshare services, gas and mass transit.

Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)

• Travel purchases: Airfare, cruises, car rentals, hotels and travel agency services.

• Dining. • Entertainment (including movies and theme parks). • Travel purchases: Airfare, cruises, car rentals, hotels, timeshares and travel agency services. • Transportation expenses: Gas, tolls, rideshare services and mass transit.

Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)

• Automotive purchases (including services, repairs and parts).

• Holiday shopping (including superstores, department stores, electronics stores, Costco.com and Amazon.com).

Nerd tip: Unlike with other rotating bonus category cards, the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card doesn't require you to keep "opting in" or "activating" your bonus categories every quarter. After a one-time registration at ABOCRewards.com, you'll be eligible to earn the 5X bonus going forward. Set it and forget it.

Redemption options: Points can be redeemed for travel, statement credit, gift cards and merchandise. You can also gift points to other ABOC Rewards members. Points don’t expire.

Redemption values vary, but travel (including flights, hotels, car rentals and vacation packages) generally offers the best value at about 1 cent per point. (If you don’t have enough points for a particular travel redemption, you may use a combination of rewards and charges to your card to cover it. But in those cases, minimum redemption thresholds apply.)

Statement credit and merchandise redeem for about 0.75 cent per point; gift card rates vary between 0.7 cent and 1 cent per point.

APR: 0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee: 3% of each balance transfer (minimum $5).

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Additional perks: Mastercard benefits such as extended warranty and price protection — offerings that have become harder to find in recent years.

Why you might want the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card

Good rewards for fair credit

If you're in the market for a rotating-bonus-category card, you've likely heard of two of the biggest names in that space: the Chase Freedom® and select Discover cards like the Discover it® Cash Back. Like the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card, those cards also feature 5X-back rewards, up to a quarterly maximum, on categories that change each quarter (1% back on all else). But you must opt in to those bonus categories every quarter, unlike with the ABOC card. And the Chase and Discover products require good to excellent credit scores to qualify.

Sign-up bonus, 0% intro APR period

You get perks that aren't typical of cards designed for fair credit. Earn a $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening. Plus, you'll get a 0% on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.40% - 24.40% Variable APR. That's a lengthy timeframe. The 18-month offer on balance transfers is far more typical of cards designed for good to excellent credit.

$0 annual fee

When you're working on your credit score, every point counts. Closing accounts can ding your score, so you want a card that won't cost you anything to hold on to.

It travels well

As a Mastercard with worldwide acceptance and no foreign transation fees, the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card makes a good travel companion.

Why you might want a different credit card

Cash redemption value is poor

If you're not interested in travel, this card isn't the best choice because all its other redemption values are poor. A cash-back card like the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a better pick. It's aimed at those with fair credit, but it earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase — the same rate you'll find on many cards for people with good or excellent credit. However, this card does have an annual fee of $39.

Rotating rewards create complexity

With the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card, you'll have to keep track of its rotating bonus categories every three months. If you would prefer to keep things simple, a flat-rate cash-back card like the aforementioned Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card will be more your speed.

Your favorite store offers a rewards credit card

Store credit cards can also be an option for those with fair or average credit, and some of them are quite rewarding. For example, the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® is open to those with average credit as long as they meet other application requirements. It earns 5% back on Walmart.com and Walmart app purchases; 2% back on in-store purchases at Walmart (including at Murphy USA and Walmart fuel stations); 2% back on travel and at restaurants; and 1% back on everything else. Those bonus categories make the card a decent choice even for certain everyday, non-store-specific spending. It has a $0 annual fee.

Is the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card right for you?

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card features generous get-out-of-debt terms and rich rewards, making it a good option if you have an average credit score. If, however, you're not interested in keeping track of bonus categories — or if you want cash back — consider other options.

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