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BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card review

BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card review

Published: October 25, 2018
Published: October 25, 2018
Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.0
Net Value: 3.6
Features: 2.0

In a Nutshell:

A good card for carrying a balance, the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card earns high marks for its affordable interest rate; however, the BB&T card’s rewards program and 0 percent balance transfer offer aren’t nearly as generous.

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0% Introductory Period
12 months

Transfer Fee
$10 or 3% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR
0%

APR
15.24-24.24% (variable)

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

Low Interest Rating:
3.2 rating
3.2 rating
3.2 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 3.4
Rewards: 1.8
Features: 1.0

In a Nutshell:

The BB&T Spectrum Rewards card is a good card to finance a balance transfer or a new purchase, thanks to its low APR and 0-percent introductory offer.

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Regular APR
15.24-24.24% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 12 months

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 12 months

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 3% cash advance fee

Penalties

  • $37 late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • No returned payment fee

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

Rewards Rating:
2.6 rating
2.6 rating
2.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.6
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 0.0

In a Nutshell:

The BB&T Spectrum Rewards card may not offer the highest rewards rate, but its low APR and accessible sign-up bonus make it a good choice for cardholders who can’t afford pricier cards.

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Rewards Rate

  • 3% cash back on gas
  • 2% cash back on groceries and utilities
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • 10% bonus on cash deposited into a BB&T checking or savings account

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$280

APR
15.24-24.24% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem rewards for cash, travel, gift cards or merchandise
  • Redeem partial rewards for travel
  • No advance notice required for travel

Cons

  • Rewards expire after 60 months
  • You must book travel through BB&T
  • Minimum rewards value for airline travel is $150
  • Points don’t transfer to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

For a rewards card, BB&T’s Spectrum card is a rare breed. It offers one of the lowest interest rates on the market, making it a safer choice for cardholders who might one day carry a balance. It also offers a fairly generous sign-up bonus and a decent return on spending.

This card’s audience is relatively limited. Only cardholders who live in one of 15 states – including Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida – can apply. But for cardholders who already have an account with BB&T, the Spectrum Rewards card could be just what they need to earn some value from their spending without paying a hefty annual fee or risking their credit with a high APR.

Disappointing promotional offer

The BB&T Spectrum Rewards card gives cardholders just 12 months to pay off a balance before the card’s standard interest rate applies. This makes it a poor choice for cardholders who have a considerable amount of debt to clear. If you have a large balance, you’re better off looking for a balance transfer offer that lasts at least 15 to 18 months. This card is best for borrowers who have just a small amount of debt to repay and plan to use the card for regular spending from the day they activate the card. Cardholders are given 12 months to make interest-free purchases, so you can continue using the card while paying down your balance.

Affordable balance transfer fee

The balance transfer fee is also set at just 3 percent or $10 (whichever is higher), making it relatively inexpensive to transfer a balance. Some balance transfer cards charge as much as 5 percent to transfer a balance. BB&T also makes it easy to transfer a balance from another card. Unlike some balance transfer credit cards, the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card doesn’t set restrictions on when and how much you can transfer.

Low regular interest rates

The most attractive feature of the Spectrum Rewards card is its low interest rate. Cardholders with excellent credit can qualify for an APR as low as 15.24 percent. Even on the high end at 24.24 percent, the rate is relatively low for a rewards card. This makes it a good deal for cardholders looking to transfer debt from higher-rate cards. In addition, the Spectrum Rewards card doesn’t charge a penalty APR, so if you accidentally miss a payment, you won’t be stuck with a sky-high APR.

Average rewards

The rewards offered by the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card aren’t the most generous on the market, but for a card with such a low interest rate, they’re pretty good. BB&T Spectrum offers cardholders 3 percent cash back on gas purchases, 2 percent cash back on groceries and utilities and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Customers of BB&T bank may find the card especially rewarding — you get a 10 percent bonus on your earnings when you deposit them into a BB&T savings or checking account.

No sign-up bonus

Unfortunately, the BB&T Spectrum card does not currently offer a sign-up bonus.

Why get the BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card?

  • You have a fairly small balance and only need a year to pay it off.
  • You tend to carry a balance each month and want a card with a lower interest rate.
  • You still want to earn rewards with your spending and prefer cash back instead of points.
  • You want a safer card that doesn’t charge a penalty APR.

How to use the BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card:

  • Take advantage of the card’s three-month sign-up bonus by using your card for the majority of your purchases, but be careful not to overspend.
  • Be aggressive with payments so you can whittle down as much debt as possible before the card’s standard interest rate kicks in.
  • If you have multiple cards with higher rates, consider consolidating them onto your Spectrum Rewards card to save money on interest and simplify monthly payments.
  • Take advantage of the card’s automatic payments feature so you don’t forget any payments.

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