Ally CashBack Credit Card Review

In an exciting move, Ally Bank has introduced its very first credit card: the Ally CashBack. This new rewards-earner offers something for everyone and makes a good competitor when stacked against other cash back cards, right off the bat.

Before establishing their inaugural credit card, Ally Bank conducted a series of surveys to find out exactly what the market sought. Their findings?

Of credit card-users surveyed, 58% said they preferred a cash back option over travel rewards, gift cards, or even introductory interest rates. On top of that, 80% of respondents said that if rewards were earned, they would prefer to hold various financial products — such as loans, checking/savings accounts, and credit cards — with the same bank, rather than spread them out.

Ally took this information and created the Ally CashBack, which I expect to hold its own among other cash back offers out there. Here is a bit more about the card:

The Rewards

In an attempt to be beneficial to all cardholders, Ally eliminated rotating categories and gave its highest cash back rate (2%) to the categories that apply to pretty much everyone: gas and groceries.

While there are cards that offer higher percentages for either category, they are often rotating (such as 5% back with Discover it® and Chase Freedom® during those promotional quarters). The exception would be my personal favorite, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred — which offers up to 6% on groceries and 3% on gas — though that card also includes an annual fee.

For all purchases not involving gas or groceries, the Ally CashBack card gives 1% back. There is no limit on rewards and they do not expire as long as your account is in good standing.

Bonus — If you’re a customer with the bank, you’ll receive an additional 10% cash back when you deposit your rewards into an Ally non-IRA Online Savings, Interest Checking, or Money Market account. This convenience factor is similar to Fidelity’s Rewards Visa Signature® cash back card, though that one does not offer a bonus for redeeming into existing accounts, as you’ll get from Ally.

You can visit the Ally CashBack site to explore their cash back calculator. Enter your monthly spending on gas, groceries, and everything else, and it will tell you not only your annual rewards, but the potential bonus cash back for depositing in an Ally account.

Ally1

APR, Annual Fee, and Sign-up Bonus

In the quest to be as competitive as possible, Ally is also offering introductory APR for balance transfers: 0% for 12 months. There is no introductory rate for purchases and the standard APR is 13.24-23.24%, depending on creditworthiness.

The card comes with no annual fee, making its competitive edge just a bit sharper. Also, for a limited time, you will receive an initial spending bonus of $100 when you make $500 in purchases over the first 3 months of holding the card.

Other Extras

Ally was named the Best Online Bank of 2016 and the number of customer-friendly benefits they offer with their products spills over into the new credit card domain. Namely, these include 24/7 customer service, as well as online and mobile access to all of your accounts.

The Drawbacks

No card is perfect, and the Ally CashBack is no different. While it offers a 0% balance transfer APR for 12 months, it does not have a 0% purchase APR, like the Chase Slate® card or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Its 2% cash back on groceries and gas is a solid offering, though other cards may offer more at times. For example, Chase Freedom® and Discover it® with CashBack Match™ both offer 5% back on both gas and groceries — the caveat being that those are rotating, quarterly categories (so, you don’t get that rate year round). For some, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express may be the best option, with 3% back all year on groceries and 2% all year on gas (all other categories get 1% back).

Whether the Ally CashBack is the card for you depends on where you spend your money, but it’s certainly worthy of consideration.

In Summary

There are cards out there that offer a higher percentage of cash back, though only a few of them have no annual fee. While this is Ally’s first foray into the credit card realm, they are off to a strong start with the Ally CashBack, offering:

  • 2% cash back on gas and groceries
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 10% cash back bonus for redeeming into certain Ally accounts
  • Introductory 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers
  • $100 initial bonus for making $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • Benefits such as 24/7 customer service and online/mobile account access

It will be interesting to see how the new Ally card competes in the cash back arena, but my gut tells me it will be a strong contender right out of the gate.

You can apply for the card here.


Susan G. Komen® Credit Card – Up to 3% Cash Back + $100 Bonus

The Susan G. Komen® credit card offers excellent cash back rewards, a signup bonus, and a 0% introductory rate. Most importantly, using the card helps support the Susan G. Komen’s fight to find a cure for breast cancer.

When I first learned of this card, I assumed it would be a plain vanilla card with no rewards. After all, Bank of America has promised to contribute millions of dollars to Susan G. Komen. How much could be left for rewards? To my surprise, the card offers a $100 signup bonus, up to 3% cash back, and a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers. And it manages all of this without charging an annual fee.

Susan G. Komen® Credit Card Snapshot

  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • From June 2015 through December 2020, Bank of America is guaranteeing to Susan G. Komen® $3.0 million in conjunction with its Pink Ribbon Banking credit card and checking program.
  • Susan G. Komen® has received more than $6.0 million from Bank of America from this program since 2009.
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.24% – 23.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • More details: Susan G. Komen® credit card

Rewards Program

There are four components of the Susan G. Komen®  rewards program: (1) the $100 bonus; (2) 3% cash back; (3) 2% cash back; and (4) 1% cash back.

1. $100 Bonus: New card members earn a $100 bonus when they spend at least $500 on the card in the first 90 days of account opening.

2. 3% Cash Back: The card pays 3% cash back on gas purchases. There is a spending cap, however, as you’ll see below.

3. 2% Cash Back: Earn 2% cash back at grocery stories. As noted above, there is a cap. Both the 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores are subject to a spending cap of $1,500 every quarter. Once the spending cap is reached in combined purchases of gas and at grocery stores, you’ll earn 1% on additional purchases through the end of the quarter.

4. 1% Cash Back: On all purchases that fall outside the above reward levels you will earn 1% cash back with no spending tiers or caps.

0% Introductory Rate

The card offers a 0% introductory rate for 12 months on purchases and for any balance transfer initiated in the first 60 days. Note that there is a 3% fee (minimum $10) on balance transfers.

What we like about this Card

  • The $100 cash bonus
  • Up to 3% cash back
  • 0% introductory APR
  • No annual fee

What could be better

  • Two and three percent cash back has spending caps
  • Requires Excellent Credit
    Excellent Credit
    Credit cards for excellent credit are
    intended for those with a credit score of 700 or Higher.
    Get Your Free Score

Summary

  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • From June 2015 through December 2020, Bank of America is guaranteeing to Susan G. Komen® $3.0 million in conjunction with its Pink Ribbon Banking credit card and checking program.
  • Susan G. Komen® has received more than $6.0 million from Bank of America from this program since 2009.
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.24% – 23.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • More details: Susan G. Komen® credit card
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.24%-23.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR:Up to 29.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $37
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Ideal for those who want to support Susan G. Komen
  • A good choice for those looking for a 0% APR introductory rate
  • Well suited for those wanting a cash back card with no annual fee
  • Requires Excellent Credit
    Excellent Credit
    Credit cards for excellent credit are
    intended for those with a credit score of 700 or Higher.
    Get Your Free Score

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Review – 80,000 Bonus Points

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card enables card members to earn free night stays quickly with 80,000 bonus points and up to 5 points on every $1 spent.

This card is one of the cards I carry everyday. As a fan of Marriott hotels, this card enables me to earn free stays extremely fast. The combination of 80,000 bonus points and up to 5x points on every $1 spent on the card provides an excellent opportunity to earn free night stays at Marriott Hotels. You also earn a free night stay on every anniversary of card membership.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Snapshot

  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points–Requires spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date.
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at 4,000 Marriott locations, 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants and 1 point everywhere else
  • Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better.Earn 1 Elite Credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases
  • $85 Annual Fee

Rewards Program

There are 6 components of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card rewards program:

1. 80,000 Bonus Points: Earning the bonus points is easy. Spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening and you’ll earn 80,000 Marriott bonus points. Free night stays start at 7,500 points for a category 1 hotel, making the 80,000 points extremely valuable.

As an additional bonus, you also earn 5,000 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.

2. 7,500 Bonus Points: earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.

3. Free Night Stay: You also get 1 free night stay at a Category 1-5 location on each account anniversary date. For me, this more than pays for the annual fee.

4. 5 Points: Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at 4,000 Marriott locations worldwide. This is a great benefit when you vacation at a Marriott resort. We recently spent $4,000 at the Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. At 5 points each we earned 20,000 points.

5. 2 Points: Earn 2 points on every $1 spent on airline ticket purchases directly with airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants.

6. 1 Points: Earn 1 point on every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Elite Status

Marriott has three levels of elite status–Silver, Gold and Platinum. To reach each status, you need 10, 50, or 75 night stays, respectively. Each status provides a number of benefits, including bonus points on each night stay.

With the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, you automatically earn 15 credits each year. This qualifies you for Silver status and puts you on your way toward Gold status.

What we like about the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • 80,000 bonus points
  • Up to 5 points for every $1
  • Silver Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free night stay every year

What could be better

Summary

  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points–Requires spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date.
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at 4,000 Marriott locations, 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants and 1 point everywhere else
  • Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better.Earn 1 Elite Credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases
  • $85 Annual Fee
  • Regular Purchase APR: 16.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Annual Fee: $85
  • Late Payment Fee:Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100; up to $27 if the balance is $100 to less than $250; up to $37 if the balance is $250 or more.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Ideal for those who stay at Marriott hotels
  • A good choice for those looking a quick way to earn Marriott points
  • Requires Excellent Credit
    Excellent Credit
    Credit cards for excellent credit are
    intended for those with a credit score of 700 or Higher.
    Get Your Free Score