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avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Joe Taylor Jr.. Joe Taylor Jr. has covered personal finance and business for over two decades, and has written and researched for personal finance websites for over five years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, Fox Business, and ABC News. Joe also serves as a business sales manager for a Fortune 500 technology company.

Joe Taylor Jr.

To most Americans, Louisiana means great music, good food and some crazy Super Bowl moments. However, keen observers of the credit card industry also know Louisiana as the home of Iberiabank, a solid regional lender that’s been chugging away in cities like New Orleans and Lafayette for more than 125 years. An early adopter of remote banking, Iberiabank offers cards like its Visa Select to consumers with excellent credit all over the country, even if they’ve never been south of I-10.

Iberiabank Visa® Select is the only of Iberiabank’s credit cards that carries an annual fee, albeit a modest one. It’s also the only Iberiabank card with a consistent zero-APR introductory purchase offer, zero percent or 7.50 percent introductory purchase APR for one year from the account open date. After that your assigned purchase rate will apply. Applicants with excellent credit may qualify for one of the lowest variable go-to rates in the country. Even the second- and third-tier APR ranges spelled out in this card’s terms and conditions beat most other cards on the market. Keep in mind other factors, aside from your credit score, may also play a role in the approval process. With a 3 percent balance-transfer fee on each transfer amount and a 12-month introductory balance-transfer APR of either 1.99 or 7.50 percent, this card becomes a good place to park a balance that you know you’ll need to pay off over two or more years. After the introductory period, your APR will be the same as your assigned purchase rate, based on your creditworthiness.

Beyond that, the Iberiabank Visa Select operates like many of the no-frills credit cards you’re used to seeing from national lenders like Chase, Capital One and Citi. Therefore, the real reason you might ever consider this card would be the fact that most of Iberiabank’s larger rivals have merged with each other over the past few decades. By making their best balance-transfer deals available only to first-time customers, some big banks have shut out potential business from consumers who may have once held a card at an acquired institution.

Although banking industry gossip hounds occasionally name Iberiabank as a takeover target for any number of predators, there’s little guarantee that will ever happen. If anything, the bank has used the years since the financial crisis to justify its conservative underwriting approach and to expand its regional branch footprint. Therefore, little Iberiabank looks like a welcome haven for customers who have tried just about every big name in the credit card business.

However, that’s one of the paradoxes that shielded Iberiabank from major damage during last decade’s credit crunch. The kind of consumer who would typically qualify for this credit card probably doesn’t need a destination for a balance transfer. If anything, they’re paying an annual fee in the same price range for a more comprehensive rewards credit card, like a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Still, if you’re a fan of the underdog and you’re happy to spend a little money each year to keep a line of credit on standby for emergencies, you can do far worse than the Iberiabank Visa Select card.

Check Iberiabank’s website for the Iberiabank Visa Select for rates, additional information and application page.

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By offering a suite of services originally designed to help military families make ends meet, Pentagon Federal Credit Union has grown into one of the country’s largest nonprofit financial institutions. Unlike credit unions that require geographic or employer-related eligibility, PenFed extends membership to any citizen with a family connection to our national defenses.

You can also become a PenFed member by paying a one-time membership fee to join the National Military Family Association or Voices for America’s Troops. Having a PenFed membership doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get approved for the PenFed Promise Visa® Card, so make sure your credit score looks great before you apply.

The PenFed Promise Visa Card is one of the best no-frills credit cards on the market. It carries no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no fee when you make a balance transfer, not even a fee on a cash advance. It’s a good thing PenFed is already a nonprofit organization, since they’re not making anything from this card other than finance charges from a seriously low variable APR range based on your creditworthiness.

Issuer Details:
• 4.99% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 10.24% to 17.99%. APR will vary with the market based on prime rate. (Subject to credit approval.) $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within 3 months of account opening.
• Rate and offers are subject to change.
• Absolutely no fees.
• No annual fee.
• No late fee.
• No cash advance fee.
• Federally insured by NCUA.
• Rates as low as 10.24% APR.

PenFed keeps its APRs and fees below the market average by exercising tougher underwriting standards than typical retail banks. Based on feedback from current and former members, you may need to provide documentation of income, even if you carry an above-average credit score. Applicants who normally have no problem getting a quick-response offer reported having to fax copies of pay stubs for credit union review. You’ll also need to agree to receive PenFed credit card statements electronically.

Should you switch to the PenFed Promise Visa?

If your score is on the bubble or if you have late payments or delinquencies on your credit report, you may want to hold back on applying for this card. Otherwise, your donation might help you qualify for a savings account without scoring you the balance-transfer deal you’re really looking for. In addition, that hard credit pull on your profile could make it harder to qualify for another issuer’s best offers.

Overall, this card offers one of the most consistently low variable APRs among all credit cards, even no-frills accounts. With no annual fee, no late fee and no penalty APR, this card makes a great addition for any family that manages bills well, but needs some occasional flexibility due to travel or illness. Credit unions like Pentagon Federal have been breaking customer satisfaction records over the past few years, and the Promise Visa could give you the perfect opportunity to make the switch.

Click on this link for more information about the PenFed Promise Visa Card.

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The Discover it® card with an 18-month introductory balance transfer offer arrived on the market with heavy fanfare, including lots of television ads and billboards touting personal service and a new rebate structure that frees customers from most cash-back traps.

This card’s critics have pointed out that other lenders extend far more generous sign-up offers, dangling hundreds of dollars in bonus rewards for new customers. If you’re carrying no debt at all, those credit card deals might fit better for you. However, Discover®’s 18-month balance transfer deal hits a sweet spot if you’re among the millions of Americans trying to shed an “average” credit card balance. Plus, you get your FICO® Credit Score online, on your monthly statement and online, for free.

You could save hundreds of dollars with Discover®’s balance transfer deal

According to TransUnion, the typical American consumer carries $4,878 in credit card debt. Down from $5,122 the year earlier, the figure shows that we’re making a little headway on our monthly balances, but not much. Using this figure and a 15 percent APR for our example, a $100 monthly payment will zero out your balance in about seven years, costing you $2,700 in finance charges along the way.

Instead, Discover®’s deal includes a balance transfer fee of just 3 percent. Buckle down with Discover®’s offer by making a $280 monthly payment and you’ll clear your $5,025 balance before the promotion expires. That’s like earning an extra $2,420 over 18 months.

Even if you can only budget $100 each month toward your balance, you’ll still clear your debt within about four years, paying $1,077 in fees and finance charges. Either way, this deal could save you at least $1,600 if you get serious about your budget — a much bigger haul than sliding a few thousand rewards points into your virtual wallet.

Shifting gears from spending to saving

This deal bucks a trend where major credit card issuers separate their rewards cards from their balance transfer cards. Even though you can find similar balance transfer offers from Discover®’s competitors, it’s rare to see this kind of opportunity extend to a card with a minimum 1 percent cash back rebate. That’s important, because if you pull off your get-out-of-debt plan with a Discover it® Card’s help, you’ll already be in position to start enjoying the benefits of a decent cash-back program.

In addition to everyday rewards, you can sign up each quarter to participate in Discover®’s quarterly promotions that can score up to 5 percent cash back up to the quarterly maximum spend in purchases on featured purchase categories.

Can a credit card company ever really be nice?

That brings up one of the key messages this lender wants to project with the Discover it® Card. Discover® has consistently earned high ranks for customer loyalty and cardmember service from organizations like J.D. Power and Brand Keys. Instead of shipping call center jobs overseas, Discover® has hired veterans and military family members to handle inbound phone calls from their home offices.

Furthermore, those customer service agents have received training on how to help callers get through tough life events, like job losses, illness and workplace injuries. Instead of shutting down accounts and imposing penalty rates, Discover® has empowered team members to authorize hardship programs with lower rates, lower monthly payments and other forms of assistance.

Of course, they’re not just doing all this to be nice — Discover® hopes that you’ll bring other business their way, through savings accounts, student loans and home loans. However, it’s refreshing to see a major lender ditch penalty fees and adjust its approach to add-on services in favor of offering products that can help us manage our financial lives much more effectively.

Discover® also offers other variations of this card that may better suit your needs. Be sure to read these additional reviews:

Discover it® card

Discover it® cardThe Discover it® card  makes a habit of saying no. No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment — and, in fact, no APR hike for paying late. Discover®’s latest incarnation of cash back cards aims to simplify the relationship between cardholder and card issuer into one of easy cooperation. Plus, free FICO® Credit Score online and on your monthly statement.

Discover it® for Students

Discover it® for StudentsDiscover®’s made strong inroads into student borrowing over the past few years. Discover it® for Students represents the bank’s latest foray onto college campuses, with pricing and features that resemble full-featured credit cards more than the typically watered-down student accounts on the market.

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Discover®’s made strong inroads into student borrowing over the past few years. Discover it® for Students represents the bank’s latest foray onto college campuses, with pricing and features that resemble full-featured credit cards more than the typically watered-down student accounts on the market.

Loading up your wallet for the long haul

For years, student credit cards earned bad reputations for locking college kids into high-APR, low credit line accounts with few added benefits. Discover it® for Students, like many of today’s new-look student cards, offers an experience that more closely matches the kinds of cards for which you’ll qualify after a few solid years of professional work.

Your initial credit line may feel a little constrained, especially if you’ve been an authorized user on a relative’s or a partner’s account. However, you’ll have plenty of room to maximize your rewards by swiping your card and paying down your balance as if you were using a debit card.

Discover® gives a 1 percent cash back rebate on all purchases; and their quarterly promotions can boost your rebates to 5 percent on purchases up to the maximum quarterly spend in rotating categories, as long as you sign-up each quarter.

A student card that doesn’t feel like bumper bowling

Discover® has promoted its new flagship credit card as a revolution in customer service, going beyond the requirements of recent federal regulations into territory that might make you question whether a major bank’s really capable of “being nice.” Other student credit cards have experimented with benefits that expand over time, as a way to prove your worth to a potential long-term lender. Instead, the Discover it® for Students card includes all of the card’s perks and privileges from day one.

This card assumes you’re capable of running your financial life, while making some concessions for occasional mistakes and hardships that affect us all. For example, Discover® will waive your late payment penalty the first time you miss a minimum monthly payment. In addition, your APR won’t automatically spike to the higher penalty rate common on most credit card terms sheets.

Features that fit both student and post-grad lifestyles

At a point in your life when adventure can pop up anywhere, you want a credit card that can help you accomplish your goals. With no foreign transaction fees and a growing merchant presence in Asia and South America, Discover it® for Students makes a great travel companion for both spring break and study abroad trips. The lack of an overlimit fee can also help prevent you from crashing your budget if you spend a little more than you intended.

Just watch out: getting this spoiled with customer service at this stage of your financial life can set you up for disappointment if you eventually start dealing with some of Discover®’s competitors later on.

Discover® also offers other variations of this card that may better suit your needs. Be sure to read these additional reviews:

Discover it® card

Discover it® cardThe Discover it® card makes a habit of saying no. No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no overlimit fee, no APR hike for a late payment, and in fact, no late fee on your first late payment. Discover®’s latest incarnation of cash back cards aims to simplify the relationship between cardholder and card issuer into one of easy cooperation. Plus, free FICO® Credit Score online, on your monthly statement and in Discover®’s mobile app.*

Discover it®

Discover it®The Discover it® arrived on the market with heavy fanfare, including lots of television ads and billboards touting personal service and a new rebate structure that frees customers from most cash back traps. Discover®’s 18-month introductory balance transfer deal hits a sweet spot if you’re among the millions of Americans trying to shed an “average” credit card balance. Plus, free FICO® Credit Score online, on your monthly statement and in Discover®’s mobile app.*

*Click the card name link to see rates, rewards and other information.

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Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Once upon a time, applying for a student credit card got you a cheesy T-shirt, or a hat, or a beer koozie. Often, that same card saddled you with a higher-than-average APR and a bare bones set of features compared to regular credit cards. Instead of spiking your finance charges, the folks behind the Discover it® for Students […]

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Discover it® card Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.

The Discover it® card makes a habit of saying no. No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment, and no APR hike for paying late. Discover®’s latest incarnation of cash back cards aims to simplify the relationship between cardholder and card issuer into one of easy cooperation. Discover it® Card maintains 5 percent […]

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Disney’s Premier Visa from Chase review

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Though I tend to prefer cash back credit cards, a really specific rewards card sometimes comes up with an irresistible offer. Disney’s Premier Visa Card from Chase sounds off the bat like something that would only cater to hard-core fans of the Magic Kingdom. After all, it’s not everyone who can pull off paying for […]

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CitiBusiness/ AAdvantage World MasterCard

by Joe Taylor Jr.
Citibank

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. If you’ve spent any time on a plane in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the growing gap between business travelers and the folks riding in the “back of the plane.” Business owners face a choice: standardize travel on […]

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CitiBusiness ThankYou Card Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.
Citibank

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available. Citibank wants to lure more business owners away from American Express and Chase with a credit card that cribs from its competitors’ playbooks. Like the original Platinum Card, the CitiBusiness ThankYou® Card streamlines expense reporting and adds significant purchase protection […]

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British Airways Visa Signature® Card from Chase Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.

If you’ve ever flown British Airways long-haul from the U.S. to London, you’ve probably lingered when walking past those sleeper seats in the “Club World” section. They don’t just recline, they lay fully flat. You won’t run the risk of a small child kicking the back of your chair for hours before you endure the […]

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