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- Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
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The Bottom Line: This card offers some hard-to-find features for those looking to pay down debt, and its modest rewards may make it worth keeping around afterward.
Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
10.90% - 18.00% Variable
recommended credit score
- Generous credit limits.
- No annual fee.
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months – that includes balance transfers!
Pros & Cons
No annual fee
Intro APR period on Balance Transfers
Credit union membership required
Alternate Pick: Longer intro APR period
Discover it® Balance Transfer
Get an intro 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. Plus, earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter (activation required); 1% after that. Bonus categories have previously included gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Annual fee: $0.Read our review
The Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard® showcases some coveted features for a card designed primarily for tackling debt.
For starters, it offers the sought-after trifecta of zeroes: a $0 annual fee, a 0% intro APR period, and a $0 balance transfer fee for balances transferred during the first six months of opening an account. That's an impressive combo.
It also offers a sign-up bonus — toward which balance transfers count — and its ongoing rewards can make it a useful card long after you've crushed your debt.
You'll have to be a member of Aspire Federal Credit Union to get the card. And if you're looking to transfer a particularly large balance, you can find cards that offer much lengthier intro APR periods.
Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard®: Basics
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, an offer Aspire notes is worth $50 in cash back.
Rewards: 1 point for every $1 spent.
Points are worth 1 cent a piece regardless of the redemption option you choose. You can redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and merchandise through the CURewards website or app for iPhone and Android devices. Bonus points are also up for grabs through the CURewards website when you shop at participating merchants.
APR: 0% for 6 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 10.90% - 18.00% Variable.
Foreign transaction fee: 1%.
Balance transfer fee: $0 for balances transferred during the first six months of opening an account. After that, it’s either $5 or 2% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Mastercard benefits: Extended warranties, price protection, ID theft resolution.
Why you might want the Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
Low fees: There's no yearly cost to carry the card, no fee for transferring a balance during the first six months, an intro APR period for balance transfers, and a lower-than-average 1% foreign transaction fee. (Many cards charge a 3% fee.) All together, this means more of your money can go toward paying down your debt.
A sign-up bonus that rewards the balance transferred: Unlike most credit cards, when you transfer a balance to the Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard®, it counts toward earning the card's sign-up bonus. Most credit cards specifically prohibit this.
A 0% intro APR offer and a potentially low ongoing interest rate: The card provides a short break from interest payments when you transfer a balance. Get 0% for 6 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 10.90% - 18.00% Variable. Even that ongoing interest rate range is decent and might be lower than your current one, depending on what you qualify for. The average APR charged in the fourth quarter of 2018 for credit card accounts that incurred interest was 16.86%, according to the Federal Reserve.
Modest rewards: The Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard® offers 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases. It's a low rewards rate, but some balance transfer credit cards don’t offer rewards at all. To keep your finances simple, you may want to avoid putting expenses on the card until you pay off your transferred balance.
Why you might want a different card
Membership is required: Membership at New Jersey-based Aspire Federal Credit Union is available to employees of participating organizations and their qualifying family and household members. You may also be able to join as a member of the Marine Mammals Stranding Center, Aspire's partner association, and by depositing $5 into an Aspire Federal Credit Union bank account. (See eligibility requirements here.) Other balance transfer card options allow you to sidestep membership hurdles, but may come with drawbacks of their own. With the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®, for example, balances transferred within the first 45 days get an intro APR period but incur a balance transfer fee. Balances transferred after that don’t incur a balance transfer fee, but you’ll have to pay the ongoing APR. You can't have both.
You need a longer intro APR period: You can get a longer introductory APR elsewhere if you’re willing to compromise on the balance transfer fee. Consider the Discover it® Balance Transfer. It offers an intro 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. It has a $0 annual fee and a 3% intro balance transfer fee and up to a 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms.)
You don’t have credit card debt: If you have good credit and are in the habit of paying off your balance in full each month, other credit cards can reward you much more handsomely. If you prefer credit unions, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offers 3% cash back on all purchases made in the first year, and 2.5% after that. It does have an annual fee, however: $0 the first year, then $99. If you favor a $0 annual fee, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns 5 points per $1 on gas purchases at the pump, 3 points per $1 on supermarket purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Both of these credit unions offer memberships with a qualifying donation. Or opt for a rewards credit card from a major issuer, where membership isn't required.
To see how these options stack up with the competition, see our roundup of the best credit card offers right now.
Is the Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard® right for you?
The Aspire Platinum Rewards Mastercard® offers a hard-to-find combination of debt-busting features, along with modest rewards and some unique perks.
But if you're not interested in joining a credit union or you need a longer interest-free window for balance transfers, explore other options.
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