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Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature credit card review

Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature credit card review

Published: December 5, 2017
Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Introductory Offer: 1.2
Net Value: 4.5
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The interest rate on the Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card might be low, but its sky-high balance transfer fee and stingy promotional offer make it a poor choice for transferring a balance.

0% Introductory Period
9 months

Transfer Fee
$10 or 5% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR
0%

Regular APR
11.24-21.24% (variable)

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: Use card as a debit card, free FICO credit score, extended warranty, purchase protection, roadside assistance, lost luggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance, rental car collision damage waiver, concierge service

Low Interest Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 4.0
Rewards: 2.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Special Connections Visa Signature card features an exceptionally low interest rate and a fairly long 0-percent introductory period on balance transfers and new purchases.

Regular APR
11.24-21.24% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 12 months

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 12 months

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • 5% balance transfer fee
  • 1% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cash advance fee

Penalties

  • $37 late payment fee
  • 28.24% penalty APR
  • No returned payment fee

Other Notable Features: Use card as a debit card, free FICO credit score, extended warranty, purchase protection, roadside assistance, lost luggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance, rental car collision damage waiver, concierge service

No Annual Fee Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.4
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.4
Rewards Flexibility: 3.3
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card offers a high 1.5 percent rewards rate on every purchase but lacks a sign-up bonus.

Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on every purchase

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$238

APR
11.24-21.24% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No limit on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for wide variety of rewards, including cash back, merchandise, gift cards, travel and more

Cons

  • Rewards expire after 5 years
  • 10,000 points required to redeem for airfare
  • Can’t transfer points

Other Notable Features: Use card as a debit card, free FICO credit score, extended warranty, purchase protection, roadside assistance, lost luggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance, rental car collision damage waiver, concierge service

Rewards Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.4
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.4
Rewards Flexibility: 3.3
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

While the card’s 1.5 percent rewards rate is fairly high, cardholders can find far more rewarding cash back cards that offer large sign-up bonuses.

Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on every purchase

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$238

APR
11.24-21.24% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No limit on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for wide variety of rewards, including cash back, merchandise, gift cards, travel and more

Cons

  • Rewards expire after 5 years
  • 10,000 points required to redeem for airfare
  • Can’t transfer points

Other Notable Features: Use card as a debit card, free FICO credit score, extended warranty, purchase protection, roadside assistance, lost luggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance, rental car collision damage waiver, concierge service

Don’t be fooled by the relatively low interest rate on this balance transfer card. The Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card offers one of the highest balance transfer fees on the market, as well as one of the stingiest introductory offers, making it a poor choice for cardholders with big balances.

If you only have a small amount of debt to repay and are looking for a long-term rewards card that you can use to carry a balance, this card can be more appealing than the average rewards credit card – especially since you might be awarded bonus points in exchange for paying interest. But if you need to transfer a large balance and your credit score is high enough to qualify for an extra-low rate, you can probably find a better deal on a less expensive card.

Meager rewards

The Commerce Bank Special Connections card offers a seemingly high 1.5 percent cash back rate on every purchase. Unfortunately, cards with 1.5 percent cash back rates are fairly common these days, and most of these offer $100 to $200 bonuses for signing up, making them far more rewarding than the Special Connections cards. Also, you can find cards with much higher rates of cash back. The Citi Double Cash card, for example, offers up to 2 percent cash back — 1 percent when you make a purchase and another 1 percent when you pay your bill on time.

Unaffordable balance transfer fee

The biggest downside to the Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card is its 5 percent balance transfer fee, which is one of the priciest fees around. Most balance transfer cards charge just 3 percent to transfer a balance, while some cards charge a maximum of 4 percent. The Commerce Bank Special Connection card’s balance transfer fee is so high you can unintentionally inflate your balance just by transferring your debt to your new card. For example, if you transferred roughly $6,000 to the Commerce Bank Visa, you’d owe up to $300 in fees – $120 more than you’d owe on an average balance transfer card.

Below-average balance transfer promotion

The introductory offer on the Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card is also substantially less generous than most balance transfer cards, making it a poor choice for cardholders with big balances. Commerce Bank gives cardholders just nine months to transfer a balance without paying interest, while most competitors give cardholders at least a year. The shorter introductory period can make it tough to pay off your balance before the end of the card’s promotion, especially if you transfer a significant amount. For example, if you transfer $6,000, you’ll have to pay a minimum of $700 a month. The bank card does at least offer nine months of interest-free purchases, though, so you can start using the card right away.

Better-than-average interest rate

The biggest selling point for the Commerce Bank Special Connections card is its minimum interest rate, which is on the low end for balance transfer cards. Cardholders with excellent credit can qualify for an APR as low as 11.24 percent, which is one of the lowest interest rates you can get – especially for a rewards card. Even the card’s maximum APR of 21.24 percent is relatively low compared to some competitors. If you tend to carry a balance and are looking for a rewards card that’s relatively affordable, the Commerce Bank Special Connections card can be a decent option, but don’t expect knock-out rewards.

 

Why get the Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card?

  • You’re looking for a long-term rewards card with a relatively low interest rate.
  • You have a small amount of debt to transfer and can afford to pay it off before the end of the card’s promotion.
  • You’re already a Commerce Bank customer and want a card with the same bank.

How to use the Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card:

  • Don’t transfer more than a few thousand dollars to the card. Even a $3,000 balance transfer costs up to $150 in fees.
  • Do the math before you transfer your balance. Divide how much you need to pay each month to clear your balance in nine months and try to accelerate your payments.
  • Don’t be tempted to overspend just because you’re being rewarded for making interest payments. The rewards you earn won’t make up for the amount you pay in interest.
  • Take advantage of the card’s free FICO score access by regularly checking your credit.

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