Reviews Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature credit card review
Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature credit card review

Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature credit card review

Published: July 18, 2017
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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
10.99-20.99% (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

No Annual Fee Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.1
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 modest rewards rate on various rotating categories of purchases, and can help shave down a balance by offering 3 percent cash back on each dollar of interest that you accrue on the card each month.

Rewards Rate

  • 3% cash back on bank account interest
  • 2% and 3% cash back in select categories
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$219

APR
10.99-20.99% (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:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.6
Rewards Flexibility: 3.3
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

If you can qualify for the card’s lowest available interest rate, this is an ideal card for carrying a balance: It helps you shave down your finance charges by offering 3 percent cash back on any interest payments you make on your balance and it offers an additional 2 to 3 percent cash back on select purchases.

Rewards Rate

  • 3% cash back on bank account interest
  • 2% and 3% cash back in select categories
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$219

APR
10.99-20.99% (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.

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 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 10.99 percent, which is one of the lowest interest rates you can get – especially for a rewards card. Even the card’s maximum APR of 20.99 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.

Bonus points for carrying a balance
For the most part, the rewards offered by the Commerce Bank Special Connections Visa Signature card are fairly average. Commerce Bank awards cardholders one point for every dollar spent on purchases, which is typical for a rewards card from a smaller bank but significantly less generous than some competitors.

What sets the card apart from other rewards cards is the incentive it gives cardholders to carry a hefty balance. Commerce gives cardholders an extra three points for every dollar paid in interest, which is an unusual way to reward frequent spenders. For cardholders who tend to carry a balance, the points can help take the sting out of making interest payments, but the overall value of the rewards is still low.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • 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 it:

  • 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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