Reviews M&T Visa credit card with rewards review
M&T Visa credit card with rewards review

M&T Visa credit card with rewards review

Published: July 18, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
1.8 rating
1.8 rating
1.8 / 5
Introductory Offer: 1.7
Net Value: 2.9
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

The M&T Visa card charges a lower APR than most rewards credit cards, but the benefits it offers are modest and the above balance transfer fee it charges could cut into cardholders’ savings.

0% Introductory Period
12 months

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

Introductory Purchase APR
0%

Regular APR
11.99-18.99% (variable)

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: EMV chip, overdraft protection

No Annual Fee Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.5
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

This no-annual-fee travel card offers a pretty meager rewards rate, though at least the APR is very reasonable.

Rewards Rate
1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 bonus points if you spend $500 in the card’s first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$192

APR
11.99-18.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Can redeem points for cash, travel, merchandise and dining
  • No travel booking fees

Cons

  • Points expire after 4 years
  • Must go through M&T Bank to book airfare
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: EMV chip, overdraft protection

Rewards Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.6
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

A basic, no frills card with limited rewards, the M&T Visa card is a decent choice for balance-carrying cardholders who don’t mind foregoing extra benefits such as car rental insurance or price protection.

Rewards Rate
1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 bonus points if you spend $500 in the card’s first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$192

APR
11.99-18.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Can redeem points for cash, travel, merchandise and dining
  • No travel booking fees

Cons

  • Points expire after 4 years
  • Must go through M&T Bank to book airfare
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: EMV chip, overdraft protection

Travel Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.8
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

Cardholders on the market for a new travel rewards card will find the M&T Visa credit card doesn’t have much to offer besides an affordable interest rate and anemic card rewards.

Rewards Rate
1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 bonus points if you spend $500 in the card’s first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$192

APR
11.99-18.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Can redeem points for cash, travel, merchandise and dining
  • No travel booking fees

Cons

  • Points expire after 4 years
  • Must go through M&T Bank to book airfare
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: EMV chip, overdraft protection

If you’re just looking for a card on which to carry a balance and earn some modest rewards, the M&T Visa card isn’t a bad pick. It offers one of the lowest interest rates on the market, making it a safer card for monthly borrowing. It also offers a humble card rewards program that allows you to earn a small amount back with your purchases, as well as a money-saving interest and fee-free balance transfer offer that lasts for 12 months.

If you were hoping to cash in your rewards for free travel, though, don’t bother with this low-earning rewards card. The M&T Visa ’s skimpy rewards program just doesn’t offer enough points to earn a free trip in a reasonably short period. It also offers too few cardholder benefits to rely on it as your only card.

Anemic rewards program
For a travel card, the rewards program on the M&T card is disappointing. Cardholders earn just 1 point for every dollar they spend, which is about average for a small bank card, but well below what most travel cards offer. The M&T Visa card also offers a respectable 10,000-point sign-up bonus – worth $100 – that can help you earn enough points to buy a plane ticket if you spend heavily enough each month. But it doesn’t offer any other bonus program, making it tough to earn enough points for a significant travel purchase after the card’s first year.

Somewhat flexible redemption
That said, the M&T Visa card doesn’t limit how many points you can earn. So if you’re set on applying for a card from M&T Bank and are a heavy monthly spender, you won’t have any restrictions holding back your earnings. You also won’t have to schedule your rewards-funded travel around arbitrary date restrictions since M&T doesn’t impose any travel blackout dates. Like most rewards card issuers, M&T does require you to book rewards-funded travel through the bank, though, so you won’t be able to shop around for better deals.

Depending on what you can find, you may be better off redeeming points for cash and purchasing travel through another merchant.

Affordable terms
The most attractive feature offered by the M&T Visa card is its competitive APR, which is significantly lower than the rate attached to most rewards credit cards. M&T charges a minimum APR of just 11.99 percent, which is well below average for a rewards credit card. It also caps the card’s maximum APR at just 18.99 percent. By contrast, the average rewards credit card charges an APR of 16.06.

Zero extra benefits
Unfortunately, the M&T card doesn’t offer any additional cardholder benefits, such as travel insurance or price protection. So you may not want to rely on this as your only card. Most rewards cards these days offer at least a minimum amount of travel coverage, such as car rental insurance and travel accident insurance, as well as price protection and extended warranty. If you use the M&T card for all purchases, you’ll miss out on these extra benefits.

Reasons to get it:

  • You want a low-rate card with some rewards.
  • You plan to transfer a large balance and want to take advantage of the card’s promotion.
  • You already have an account with M&T bank and want a card with the same bank.

How to use it:

  • Take advantage of the card’s 12-month interest-free balance transfer offer and fee waiver by consolidating outstanding balances onto your M&T card.
  • To save on interest, use this card for any other purchases you can’t afford to quickly pay off.
  • Think twice before using this card for travel purchases, such as car rentals or flights. Because it doesn’t offer travel coverage, you’re better off using a card that offers more protection.

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