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Comparing pro sports leagues' credit cards

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Signing up for a credit card that bears the logo of your favorite sport or sports team may seem like a great way to show your support. But those cheers may turn to jeers if you don't pay attention to all of the card's terms and conditions before you apply.

All four major pro team sports -- baseball, basketball, hockey and football -- offer credit cards for their fans. You can also show your support for pro golf or NASCAR through your card choice.

Comparing pro sports leagues' credit cards

In return, you may score discounts on events and merchandise from your favorite league, or chalk up reward points for your everyday purchases.

But don't let your rooting interest blind you: Sports cards vary greatly in their terms. Most have wide-ranging APRs so they can be issued to all fans, including those with good credit and bad. Scrutinize both the rewards you'll receive, as well as details such as the card's interest rate, fees and balance transfer terms.

The BBVA Compass NBA American Express Card, for example, could have the best interest rate of the lot, or the worst. Its range is from a very good 9.24 percent to a very bad 29.24 percent. It also features a six-month intro period with 0 percent interest.

Only the NBA card carries an annual fee, but under a current promotion if you sign up by Aug. 31, the annual fee is waived for life.

You also should consider what brand of credit card you prefer. The National Basketball Association has teamed up with American Express. The National Football League card is a Visa. The National Hockey League card is with Discover. And Major League Baseball and Pro Golfers Association cards are MasterCards.

You'll strike out if you're looking for a special introductory interest rate with the NFL Visa card. The other cards all offer an introductory 0 percent APR.

NASCAR goes debit
Meanwhile, NASCAR is on a different track. It ended the credit card deal it had with Bank of America, and instead is tapping into the growing consumer interest in prepaid debit cards and offering a NASCAR Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card through Green Dot Bank.

When shopping for sports cards, another thing to consider is what kind of rewards program you prefer. Some of the cards allow you to spend your rewards on things such as gift certificates or sports merchandise, while others will give you cash or a statement credit. If your goal is attending sporting events, the NFL Visa allows you to redeem points for two regular season tickets and Super Bowl tickets.

There may be other perks as well. The NHL Discover card lets hockey aficionados get 10 percent off purchases at Shop.NHL.com, while the PGA MasterCard offers tickets to certain PGA events and greens fee discounts. The NBA, NFL, MLB and PGA cards all offer a major bonus if you make at least $500 worth of purchases within 90 days of opening your card.

COMPARE PRO SPORTS CREDIT CARDS
Card name, bank Annual percentage rate (APR)
Annual fee Balance transfers Rewards
NFL Extra Points Visa Signature, from Barclays Bank Delaware

14.99% to 24.99%; 0% APR on NFL team ticket purchase for 6 months

None

Introductory 0% APR for balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. Promotional APR is in place for the first 15 billing cycles. Otherwise balance transfer APRs are 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%. Balance transfer fee either $5 or 3 percent of the transaction, whichever is greater.

Earn 10,000 bonus points if you make $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. Earn double points on NFL and team purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases. Rewards can be redeemed for statement credits or a variety of NFL merchandise and experiences. 

MLB BankAmericard Cash Rewards MasterCard, from Bank of America
Introductory 0% APR for first 12 months, then 12.99% to 22.99% None

Transfers made within 60 days of account opening get introductory 0% APR for 12 months. After that, 12.99% to 22.99% APR. Balance transfer fee of $10 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater.

Get $100 reward bonus after making at least $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. Earn 1% cash back on purchases, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. Redeem for a statement credit. Or redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account and receive a 10% bonus.
BBVA Compass NBA American Express card 0 percent APR for first 6 months, then 9.24% to 29.24% No annual fee for life if you apply by Aug. 31, 2015. Otherwise $50 annual fee, waived for the first year.

Introductory balance transfer between 0% APR and 3.99% APR. Transfers must be made within 30 days of account opening and introductory APR is in place for the first year. Otherwise 9.24% to 29.24% APR. Balance transfer fee either $10 or 4% of transaction, whichever is greater.

10,000 bonus points if you spend $500 on qualifying transactions within the first 90 days after opening your account. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent, 2 points at gas stations and supermarkets, and 3 points for NBA tickets, in-stadium transactions and NBAStore.com transactions. Earn 5 points on all purchases during the NBA All-Star Weekend and the two weeks of NBA finals. Can be used for NBA merchandise and experiences, cash back, gift cards, travel, and more.
NHL Discover It card

0% introductory APR for first 12 months, then 10.99% to 22.99%

None

0% APR for the first 12 months from the date of the first transfer, and that transfer must be within the first few months. Then 10.99% to 22.99%. Fee is 3% of balance transfer amount.

5% cashback bonus on changing categories, such as gas and restaurants, up to the quarterly maximum. You must sign up each quarter and details may change. 1% rewards on other purchases. Rewards can be redeemed as credit to your account, as an electronic deposit to your bank account, a donation to certain charities, or to pay at certain online retailers. After the first 12 billing periods, you'll receive double cash back rewards for the year, and they'll be applied to your account.

NASCAR Reloadable Prepaid Visa debit card, from Green Dot Bank NA No annual fee, but an assortment of other fees, including $4.95 initial load at a retail store, $5.95 monthly fee (waived if loading, use thresholds met), $4.95 cash reload fee NA
NA
PGA Tour BankAmericard Cash Rewards MasterCard from Bank of America

0% for the first 12 months, then 12.99% to 22.99%

None 0% APR for the first 12 months if you do a balance transfer within 60 days of opening your account. Otherwise 12.99% to 22.99% APR. A transfer costs $10 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is higher. Get a $100 cash reward if you make $500 worth of purchases in the first 90 days after opening account. Get 3% cash back on gas; 2% cash back on groceries; and 1% cash back on everything else. Receive two free tickets to a PGA Tour event if you spend $75 within the first 90 days after opening your card. Get access to TPC golf courses and discounted green fees. Redeem rewards for a statement credit. Get an extra 10% bonus if rewards are deposited into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
Information accurate as of July 1, 2015. To report updates, email editors@creditcards.com

See related: Credit card ranges make comparison shopping toughSusie's Super Bowl adventure: A cautionary tale

Updated: July 1, 2015


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