|Credit Building Rating:||3.8 / 5|
|Cost of Membership||5.0|
|Ease of Building Credit||3.0|
In a Nutshell:
The Jasper Cash Back Mastercard offers a chance at a high credit limit, decent baseline rewards and an application process that’s uniquely flexible for working professionals new to the U.S.
Average Cost Of Membership Per Year ($3,600 annual spend)
Security Deposit Required
Access To Higher Credit Line?
Future credit line increases may be granted based on your overall credit performance, but no specified time period.
Other Rates And Fees
Other Notable Features: Extended warranty, price protection, cell phone protection, auto rental coverage, lost or damaged luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, mobile app to track spending and manage account
The Jasper Cash Back Mastercard gives working professionals with a limited credit history an easy way to start building credit and earning cash back.
Offering approval based on an applicant’s credit potential — rather than on credit history — the Jasper card is an especially good choice for people who are new to the U.S. or on a work visa, as it won’t require a Social Security number** upfront to apply.
While it’s by no means the best cash back card on the market, if a lack of credit history has you facing limited card options, the Jasper card could be a great starter card to use until you can establish credit and move on to more lucrative options.
That said, the rewards are not as impressive as they may seem at first glance, thanks to an impractical referral tier system.
See related: How to build good credit
Earning cash back
Although the Jasper card is designed for people who are still establishing credit, it offers up to 6% cash back***. This is quite a high rate for a cash back card that carries no annual fee; however, earning rewards isn’t as easy as you might think, and it may be tricky to calculate exactly how much cash back you’ll earn with the Jasper card, especially if you’re new to credit cards.
Here’s how it works: All cardholders start off earning 1% cash back for eligible purchases, which is the bare minimum you should expect to earn with a cash back card. Then, to earn a higher cash back rate, you need to refer friends and have them sign up and activate their own Jasper card. For every successful referral, you’ll earn 0.5% more cash back for one full year. You can do this with up to 10 friends for a potential total of 6% cash back for one year.
While this may look good on paper, the utility of this referral program will obviously depend on how many people you know who need a starter credit card and decide the Jasper card is the best fit.
The Jasper card’s terms also note that the maximum amount of cash back you can earn is determined by your credit limit – so if you a have a $5,000 limit and a 6% cash back rate, you can only earn a maximum of $300 back each month, even if you pay off your bill early. While it’s by no means a deal-breaker on its own, this lack of flexibility limits the Jasper card’s appeal as a cash back card.
The good news is that if you can get successful referrals, you may be able to work your way up to that 6% cash back rate even faster than usual. For a limited time, Jasper card is offering 1% more cash back for your first two successful referrals, and then an additional 0.5% for each successful referral thereafter.
This means that you can work your way up to 3% cash back by successfully referring just two people to the card. While this rate is only valid for a year, it could make the Jasper card a better short-term option than popular flat-rate cash back cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
That said, if you’re looking at the Jasper card as more of a credit-building card, its rewards scheme is fairly generous considering the card charges no annual fee and does not require a security deposit.
Redeeming cash back
Because the Jasper card is designed to help people establish good credit and financial habits, cardholders need to prove their credit responsibility before they can access the cash back they’ve earned. After three months of on-time payments, you’ll automatically be credited with your cash back every month.
If you do happen to miss a payment, or should your account otherwise fall out of good standing, your cash back will be locked and you won’t be able to earn any more cash back until your account is back in good standing.
The Jasper card may not carry a particularly robust list of perks and benefits, but it does offer a few noteworthy advantages, including a chance at a fairly high credit limit, a reasonable list of fees and an approvals process that’s uniquely flexible for professionals new to the U.S.
Chance at a good credit limit
New cardholders can be approved for up to $5,000 in credit, which is quite impressive for a starter card. While there’s certainly no guarantee you’ll be given this limit, this is impressive even compared to the best high-limit secured cards. Having a decent credit limit will make it much easier to build credit, as it will offer you more wiggle room when it comes to credit utilization.
That said, the card’s starting limit is just $100, which falls short of the limit you’ll find on many unsecured cards open to people with a poor or limited credit history. These cards typically start you out a limit of at least $300.
No annual fee or deposit requirement
Having no annual fee makes this low-hassle card even easier for newbies to manage and is especially impressive since this is an unsecured card for people with limited credit history.
Unsecured credit-building cards often carry a ton of fees, and cost of membership is our most important scoring factor when evaluating credit-building cards, so the Jasper card earns major points here.
Unlike secured credit cards, the Jasper card also doesn’t require a security deposit as collateral, making it an easier starting point if you don’t want to put up and tie up a chunk of money as you build credit.
The card is also reasonable with its other fees: The card’s late fee is just $27, compared to the up to $40 you’ll find on many cards, and, if you have a late or missed payment on your account, you won’t face a penalty APR. Plus, the card carries no foreign transaction fee, making it a good fit for frequent travelers.
Flexible approvals process
To accommodate new job holders, Jasper can approve applicants up to 60 days before they start their new jobs in the U.S., and unlike most credit cards, which typically ask for your Social Security number up front, Jasper gives you up to 60 days to provide your Social Security information.
The Jasper card’s website also notes that “if you just arrived in the U.S. on a work visa, [the issuer] will not run a hard inquiry with the credit bureaus to process your application.” This makes the card viable as a “soft pull” credit card for some applicants. (Note, however, that “if you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident…or if you have been living in the U.S. for more than one year at the time of application, please be advised that [the issuer] will indeed run an inquiry with the credit bureaus.”)
You’ll also enjoy some solid Mastercard benefits, including cellphone insurance, travel insurance, rental car insurance, ID theft protection, lost or damaged luggage insurance and more.
The Jasper card also comes with a few big disadvantages, especially for rewards-seekers. One area where the card falls short is its average rewards rate. Sure, 6% cash back*** sounds high, but most cardholders will struggle to gather all the successful referrals needed to reach it. You’re probably looking at a more realistic rate of 1% to 3% with the Jasper card. With that in mind, you can find a better rewards program, even with a starter card.
How does the Jasper card compare to other credit-building and cash back cards?
While the Jasper card offers a decent rewards program, reasonable fees and a very accommodating approval process, it’s not your only option if you’re in the market for a low- or no-annual-fee credit-building card that earns cash back.
Here are a few of our favorite alternatives to the Jasper card:
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$500 to $10,000
$200 to $2,500 (based on deposit)
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
The Petal 2 Visa card also charges no annual fee and starts you off earning 1% cash back. You can then boost this rate to up to 1.5% back with on-time payments, offering good incentive for building responsible financial habits. This means it could beat out the Jasper card in terms of rewards, even without successful referrals. You may also qualify for a credit limit of up to $10,000 and the card reports to all three credit bureaus.
A good option for cardholders with fair or average credit, the QuicksilverOne offers a flat 1.5% cash back rate on every purchase, with no referrals required. While the card carries a relatively low annual fee of $39, its solid cash back rate means the fee should be fairly easy to offset. Capital One also reviews accounts for higher credit lines after around six months. You may even be able to upgrade to a higher-tier Capital One card down the line, like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
If you’re willing to put down money in a deposit, the Discover it Secured card is hard to beat as a credit-building option. The card charges no annual fee, offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants and Discover will even match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. The card also offers a good range to choose from when making your security deposit ($200 to $2,500), which will double as your credit limit. Even better, Discover gives you a chance to graduate to an unsecured card after just eight months of responsible use.
Who should get the Jasper card
- Newcomers to the U.S. and recent immigrants
- Working professionals without a credit history
- Credit-builders hoping for a chance at a high credit limit
- Credit-builders with a lot of friends who’d be interested in a referral to the Jasper card
- Credit-builders looking to avoid a security deposit and annual fee
- Credit-builders who don’t mind only having activity reported to two of the three bureaus
Who should not get the Jasper card
- People with no Social Security number (Jasper requires you to provide one within 60 days)**
- People with an established credit history
- Credit-builders looking to maximize their rewards (you can get more than 1% cash back with other cards without paying an annual fee or seeking referrals)
How to use the Jasper card
- Use the card for all purchases to take advantage of the 1% cash back rate.
- Refer any interested friends to the card in order to boost your cash back rate (assuming they’re approved).
- Make every payment on time to start establishing good credit history, and set up automatic payments in the app to ensure you never miss one.
- Use the mobile app to stay on top of your finances, including payment due dates and your cash back rewards.
- Use the card when overseas to take advantage of the travel benefits and lack of foreign transaction fees.
- Pay your cellphone bill with the card to take advantage of the cellphone insurance benefit.
- Consider combining the Jasper card with a credit-builder loan or a secured credit card to ensure all three bureaus have a record of your credit-building efforts.
Is the Jasper card worth it?
For working professionals who are new to the U.S. and need to establish credit history, the Jasper card is a great choice, and even more so if you know others who also need a starter card. But for people who just want to build or repair their credit while earning cash back rewards, another starter card will likely offer a better overall value.
* Review the Jasper fee schedule
** If you have just arrived in the U.S. on a work visa, Jasper will not run a hard inquiry with the credit bureaus to process your application. If you are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. permanent resident, or if you have been living in the U.S. for more than one year at the time of application, Jasper will run an inquiry with the credit bureaus. However, application review is always based on multiple criteria, not just your credit score. No SSN is required to apply for applicants who are new to the U.S. and are in the country on a work visa. SSN is required within 60 days of card activation. Card can only be activated from within the US.
*** Your cash back rate will be increased by 0.5% for 12 months for each referred applicant that activates their card, up to a limit of 6% total cash back. To earn 6% cash back, you must successfully refer 10 new cardholders within the same 12-month period. To become eligible to redeem cash back, you must first make three on-time payments. The purchases on which you can earn cash back are limited each billing cycle to an amount equal to your credit limit. Review the Rewards Terms and Conditions.
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