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BBVA Compass ClearPoints credit card review

BBVA Compass ClearPoints credit card review

Published: January 19, 2018
Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
2.5 rating
2.5 rating
2.5 / 5
Introductory Offer: 2.5
Net Value: 3.1
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The BBVA Compass ClearPoints card offers a lower minimum interest rate than most of its competitors and a long introductory period; however, its balance transfer fee is on the high side for a balance transfer card.

0% Introductory Period
13 months

Transfer Fee
$10 or 4% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 13 months

Regular APR
12.49-30.49% (variable)

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: Warranty manager, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, $0 liability

Low Interest Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 3.8
Rewards: 2.6
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

For cardholders with excellent credit, the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card is more affordable than the average low interest rate card and offers a long introductory period on balance transfers and new purchases, though also a higher-than-average balance transfer fee.

Regular APR
12.49-30.49% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 13 months

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 13 months

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • 4% or $10 balance transfer fee (whichever is higher)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 4% or $10 cash advance fee

Penalties

  • $37 late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • $27 returned payment fee

Other Notable Features: Warranty manager, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, $0 liability

No Annual Fee Rating:
2.7 rating
2.7 rating
2.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.0
Rewards Flexibility: 4.0
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The rewards on the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card are far from exceptional, but it does allow cardholders to maximize their rewards earnings by choosing their own bonus categories.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 on a category of your choice (office supplies, restaurants or travel)
  • 2:1 on a category of your choice (gas, home improvement or utilities)
  • 1:1 general spending

Sign-up Bonus
$100 if you spend $1,500 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$261

APR
12.49-30.49% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for wide variety of rewards, including statement credits, gift cards, travel and merchandise
  • Can purchase travel from outside sources and redeem for statement credits
  • Can pay for travel with points plus cash

Cons

  • Points expire after 36 months
  • No options to transfer points

Other Notable Features: Warranty manager, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, $0 liability

Rewards Rating:
2.7 rating
2.7 rating
2.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.0
Rewards Flexibility: 4.0
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

Though it offers a merely average rewards program, the Compass ClearPoints card at least allows you to choose your bonus categories.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 on a category of your choice (office supplies, restaurants or travel)
  • 2:1 on a category of your choice (gas, home improvement or utilities)
  • 1:1 general spending

Sign-up Bonus
$100 if you spend $1,500 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$261

APR
12.49-30.49% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for wide variety of rewards, including statement credits, gift cards, travel and merchandise
  • Can purchase travel from outside sources and redeem for statement credits
  • Can pay for travel with points plus cash

Cons

  • Points expire after 36 months
  • No options to transfer points

Other Notable Features: Warranty manager, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, $0 liability

If your credit is excellent and you’re looking for a low rate rewards card with minimal penalties, the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card can be an ideal option. It offers a starting APR that’s well below the average low interest rate card and a fair rewards program that allows you to choose your own bonus categories. But despite the card’s seemingly generous balance transfer offer and low purchase APR, it charges an above-average balance transfer fee that makes it a poor choice for cardholders who want to consolidate balances.

Choose your own bonus categories

Though the ClearPoints credit card comes with an average rewards program, it does give cardholders the opportunity to choose their own bonus categories from a list of very lucrative categories. You get three points per dollar  on either office supplies, restaurants or travel purchases, two points per dollar on gas, home improvement or utilities, and 1 point per dollar on the rest of your purchases.

The card also offers flexibility in how you redeem your points. BBVA allows you to redeem your travel purchases for statement credits – which means you can search for travel deals on discount websites and use your points to cover those purchases. You can also use cash to pay for a portion of a travel reward in case you don’t have the required number of points.

However, there is a major drawback: Points expire after 36 months. Since points are rewarded at a low rate, this means that many cardholders will have a difficult time collecting enough points to redeem for a major reward before the points expire.

Modest sign-up bonus

The card offers a $100 statement credit to new cardholders who manage to spend $1,500 in the first three months of membership. While this is a fair-sized sign-up bonus, the spending threshold is steep considering the size of the bonus.

Low APR – for some

If you can qualify for the card’s lowest available interest rate, the BBVA ClearPoints card can be just what you need to manage modest amounts of debt. Interest rates start at just 12.49 percent, which is significantly lower than what most low interest rate cards charge. According to CreditCards.com data, the average low rate card charges a minimum of 16.15 percent. You may want to look elsewhere, though, if you don’t think you can qualify for the card’s lowest rate. The card’s maximum rate runs as high as 30.49 percent — one of the highest APRs we’ve seen recently on a credit card.

Not the best option for transferring old balances

The BBVA Compass card includes a tempting 13-month 0-percent introductory offer for new purchases and balance transfers. While this is a lengthy introductory period, cardholders should do some careful math before springing for the offer, since the card also incurs  a 4 percent balance transfer fee, or a minimum of $10, which is significantly more than the 3 percent fee that most balance transfer cards charge. If you plan to transfer up to $6,000 or more, transferring your balance onto the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card rather than a lower-fee card can cost you more than $60 in additional fees.

High fees, minimal penalties

You’ll also want to watch out for additional fees buried in the card’s terms and conditions. The Compass ClearPoints card charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, which is typical for general-purpose credit cards, but higher than what many competitors charge. If you plan to use the card abroad, you can easily find a different card that either charges a much lower foreign transaction fee or doesn’t charge extra for foreign transactions at all. The card also charges a 4 percent cash-advance fee, a $37 late fee and a $27 returned-payment fee.

On the plus side, the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card doesn’t charge a penalty APR, making it a much safer card if you occasionally forget a payment. Many cards jack up interest rates to 29 percent if you fall behind on your bills, making it tough to control your debt.

Limited perks

The Compass ClearPoints card comes with a short list of additional perks, including an extended warranty service, an auto rental collision damage waiver and travel and emergency assistance.

Why get the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card?

  • You plan to carry a balance and want a less expensive card with some rewards.
  • You have excellent credit and can qualify for the card’s lowest available interest rate.
  • You don’t expect to use any of the features, such as balance transfers or cash advances, that would cause you to be charged a higher fee.
  • You already have an account with BBVA and want a card with the same bank.

How to use the BBVA Compass ClearPoints card:

  • To get the most out of this card, use it for any purchases you can’t pay off immediately, but can pay off in a reasonable time period.
  • Do the math before you transfer a large balance. You may find that the card’s hefty fees aren’t worth transferring the debt.

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