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Unconfirmed: Emigrant Direct Drops Cash Back MasterCard

This article was written by in Credit. 11 comments.

Jim submitted this news today, but I’ve been unable to find a confirmation online. Perhaps holders of the Emigrant Direct MasterCard have received this announcement.

The party is over on the Emigrant Direct Savings account and Mastercard program.

As the Fed has cut interest rates, so too has Emigrant Direct (2.75% as of 4/19.2008). What is worse, they just pulled the rug out of their cash back program on the Mastercard side.

It used to be that you could earn 1.4% cash back on all purchases as long as you maintained a $10,000 balance in your Emigrant Direct savings account. However, that will all end on 5/15/2008. Emigrant Direct is now issuing a new card called the World Elite. The new cash back program is now capped at 1.5% back on the first $10,000 in purchases or in other words $150 maximum cash back.

We used to charge EVERYTHING to our Emigrant Direct Platinum card. We earned over $500 in cash back last year, so this comes as quite a disappointment. In fact, with the lousy interest rate in the Emigrant Direct Savings account and now coupled with the horrible cash back program of their Mastercard program, it may be time to shut down my accounts and move elsewhere.

A cash back rebate capped at $150 is hardly a benefit.

Updated May 26, 2009 and originally published April 19, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar BenG

Sounds like its time to go check out the other two popular cash back cards. Amex Blue Cash is my personal favorite. Not only do you get a great cash back program, you also get the additional Amex consumer protections and warranties that go above and beyond your typical Visa or MC.

The other major option out there is the Chase Freedom card.

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avatar Eric

Don’t forget other options like Citi cards and even the Discover More card.

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avatar John

This is NOT true! The new card, which I’ve had for a week already, gives you 1.5% cash back for the first $10,000 and then 1.4% cash back thereafter. It is a BETTER deal than the original – for the first 10k.

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avatar Ed

I’ve been a big user of ING and ING’S Electric Orange. But I am being tempted by Igobanking.com.

Has anyone used Igobanking.com and what have you liked or disliked about it. How does it comapre to ING?

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avatar Patrick

See the fine print in your mailing, or Comment #3 above, which are both correct. The new ED World Elite Card is 1.5% cash back on the first 10K of spend, and then 1.4% thereafter. In that sense it is a stronger cash rewards program than the original. The only real catch is that you have to spend at least $35K per calendar year on the card, or they can kick you out of the program.

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avatar Jim

Here’s the email (below) that I got back for clarification (except for the word miles?? in the email, it sounds like the first person I talked to at Juniper/Barclays was misinformed). Call off the dogs, the deal is basically the same as it always was. Sorry for the confusion.

In the interim, I did sign up for a card from HSBC called the Weekend Card which offers 2% unlimited cash back on anything charged on the weekends, 1% on the weekdays, so I’ll be using the weekend card for the weekends and the Emigrant Card for M-F. Since I’ll only be using the Weekend Card on the weekends, it should be pretty simple to figure out if HSBC has their act together figuring out what transactions were made on the weekends but posted on Monday. I’ll let you know how the experience goes and would be interested to know from anyone if you are consistently getting your 2% cash back.

————————– email from Juniper rep below ———————
Dear Jim,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your Emigrant Direct MasterCard account.

Our records indicate that your account receives 1.5 % for the first $10,000.00 miles and then 1.4 % on all charges after the first $10,000.00. Keep in mind, the 1.4 % is not capped off at a certain amount.

Please be advised, we will have the benefits and rewards brochure sent on 04/24/2008.

If you should have any other questions, please reply to this email or contact us at the number listed on the back of your card.


Lowan Davis
Relationship Manager

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avatar Hello

Check out 2% cash back Discover card available at Sam’s Club.

Best card I’ve ever had.

I keep a 1.25% Capital One Visa as a back-up for the occassional place that doesn’t take Discover.

Good luck to all!

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avatar Eddie

I think the following is optimal:

EmigrantDirect MC: Mon-Fri (1.4-1.5%)
HSBC Weekend: Sat-Sun (2%)
Capital One Visa: Mon-Sun – gas stations and grocery stores (2 % + 25 % bonus = 2.5 %)
Capitol One Visa: Mon-Sun – if on travel outside the USA in non-USD based countries (1.25 %). Other cards add 2-3 % for international transactions.

but I don’t think it’s worth the weekends for non-grocery/gas to have one extra card. On 10,000 dollars (on the weekends!) annually it’s 50 bucks difference to carry an extra card.

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avatar Anonymous

smartypig pays 3.25% on savings and is SIMPLE and QUICK to set-up. Why leave $10,000 hostage at a bank just to keep a cash back card?

I transfered all money here and use my USAA cash back mastercard which pays 1.25% which does not require any money be held hostage in their bank to get it.

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avatar Daniel

Hum.. What if I have $5k on deposit and charge $20K to my CC? In this case, the benefit I get from higher savings rate will not compare to the benefit I get from higher CC cash back rate. Additionally, earned interest is taxable, but cash back $$$ is not.

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avatar Del

I just opened my mail from Barclays. They are the issuer for the Emigrant direct cash back Master Card. Their letter contained some very SAD NEWS. They are ending the lucrative cash back program which my wife and I have enjoyed for the past several years effective June 30,2011. Naturally, their notice of this change paints a rosy picture on what surely appears to be a take away. I guess I’ll be closing my account with Emigrant Direct Bank shortly after my June 2011 statement. I’m really going to miss getting 1.4% back on every purchase, even at Sam’s Club.
Does anyone have any ideas for a comparable Master Card to the one the Emigrant Direct is now ending?

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