UnionBank Maximum Rewards Visa Review

UnionBank Rewards VisaThe UnionBank Maximum Rewards Visa is a credit card which allows members to earn rewards on every purchase.  New account holders currently receive a 0% introductory annual percentage rate on purchases and balance transfers.  It is issued and serviced by First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha.

The UnionBank Maximum Rewards Visa offers new account holders a 0% introductory APR on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles once your account is activated.  After this promotional period ends, your APR will be 15.99%, 18.99%, 20.99% or 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness at the time of approval.  This card also offers new members an introductory balance transfer fee of $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater) for balance transfers made in the first 12 billing cycles.  After this promotional period ends, the standard balance transfer fee of $10 or 5% of the total amount (whichever is greater) will apply to each transfer.  Compared to most other credit cards, this balance transfer fee is high.

Cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent on qualifying credit card transactions posted to your account.  Members are automatically enrolled in the Maximum Rewards Program upon acceptance of the card.  There is no annual reward program fee nor is there a limit to the amount of points you may earn.  Points expire on or after the fifth anniversary of when they were awarded.

Card members have several options when redeeming points.  These include:

  • Merchandise – including home goods and electronics
  • Gift Cards and Certificates – including Amazon.com, Macy’s, Starbucks, and many other popular retailers and merchants
  • Travel – including booking flights, hotels, and car rentals
  • Cash Back – as a credit to your account

Rewards are administered by Maximum Rewards and can be redeemed at their website (maximum-rewards.com).  Unfortunately, prospective applicants cannot access the online catalog to ascertain any point redemption values.  This is usually a good indicator that redemption values are low – meaning that, in reality, the card delivers less than 1% cash back.

The UnionBank Maximum Rewards Visa offers cardholders additional Visa Card benefits such as:

  • Auto Rental Insurance – Provides coverage, at no additional cost, for damage due to an accident or theft of the vehicle itself.
  • Zero Liability – A guarantee that you will not be held responsible for any fraudulent transactions made on your card.
  • Purchase Protection – Provides replacement, repair, or reimbursement (up to $1,000 per claim) on eligible personal property items within 90 days from the date of purchase. Restrictions and exclusions apply.
  • Extended Warranty – Extends the manufacturer’s original warranty for up to one additional year.

Members are charged a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made on the card while traveling internationally.

There is no annual fee associated with this card.

The Facts

Below we have broken down the specifics of the UnionBank Maximum Rewards Visa to assist you in determining if it’s a good choice for you.

The Good:

Introductory APR:

New card members receive a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles from when your account is opened.  After this promotional period ends, your actual APR will be a variable rate of 15.99%, 18.99%, 20.99%, or 22.99%, depending on your credit score and other factors at the time of approval.  This is a good deal for anyone wanting to purchase an expensive item and pay it off over a year with no additional interest charges.  The introductory APR also benefits anyone having a high interest credit card balance who wants to move it to another card with a lower APR.

Easy to earn points:

Members earn one point for every dollar of eligible net purchases made on the card.  Net purchases are the total amount of new transactions minus any credits, returns, or other adjustments.  Fees, interest charges, cash advances, and balance transfers are not counted as purchases and do not earn points.

Multiple redemption options:

Members may redeem points in the following ways:

  • Merchandise
  • Gift Cards and Certificates
  • Travel
  • Cash Back

Additional Visa benefits:

  • Auto Rental Insurance
  • Zero Liability
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty

No annual fee:

There is no annual fee charged for this card.

The Bad:

Introductory Balance Transfer Fee:

This card offers new account holders an introductory balance transfer fee of $10 or 3% of the total transfer amount (whichever is greater) on any balance transfer processed during the first 12 billing cycles that your account is active.  After this time, the standard transfer fee is $10 or 5% of the total amount transferred (again, whichever is greater).  The bottom line is both of these rates are steep – the norm seems to be around $5 or 4% per transfer.  So this isn’t much of a deal.

Not everyone will be approved:

Applicants generally need very good to excellent credit (720+ FICO) to be approved for this card.

Note:  When you apply for the UnionBank Maximum Rewards Visa, your application is automatically considered for the Signature Visa Card.  If you meet the credit eligibility criteria, you will be upgraded to the Visa Signature Card (which has no preset spending limit).

The Ugly:

The Fine Print:

Earning points with this card is straightforward.  One point for every dollar spent, no limit on points you can earn, and no spending caps.  However, redeeming your points is another matter.  There is no way to know (before you are an actual cardholder) the value of each point you earn.  This usually means the rate of return is less than 1%.  Another way to look at this is: 100 points should be worth $1.  Anything less than that can’t be called much of a reward.

This card doesn’t have an annual fee but it is relatively ordinary given its weak rewards program.  There are better options.