A little-known bank is trying to do something that its bigger competitors haven't been able to pull off: a credit card with decent rewards and a low interest rate.
There are generally two types of credit cards: those that feature rewards, and those that offer a low interest rate. Rarely do these two qualities intersect in a single card. Yet that doesn’t stop innovative banks from trying.
IberiaBank is a Louisiana-based institution that’s already known for its IberiaBank Visa Classic Card with one of the lowest interest rates on the market. While Classic cardholders don’t earn rewards, IberiaBank also offers its IberiaBank Visa Platinum Rewards Card that has a slightly higher interest rate but earns reward points for spending.
Earn reward points. For each dollar spent, you receive 1 point in the ScoreCard rewards program. Points can be redeemed for travel or merchandise.
- Standard interest rate. You receive a standard APR equal to the Prime Rate plus 6, 9, or 12 percent, depending on your credit score. Since the prime rate is now 3.25 percent, that translates into card rates of 9.25 to 15.5 percent.
- Introductory balance transfer rate. New cardholders are offered a 1.99 percent promotional financing rate on balance transfers for six months. There’s a 2 percent balance transfer fee.
- Travel accident insurance and emergency assistance. You get insurance against injury or death resulting from airline, bus, or train travel purchased with this card. It also offers assistance with travel emergencies, such as roadside dispatch and emergency card replacement.
- Foreign transaction fee. There is a 2 percent fee on all charges processed outside of the United States.
- Annual fee. None.
- Low APR. While not the lowest rate on the market, it’s lower than most other rewards cards.
- Earns rewards. It’s rare to find a card that offers any rewards with interest rates as low as 9.25 percent.
- No annual fee. Uncommon among rewards cards.
- Simple rewards program. There are no bonus spending categories that revolve every quarter, or frequent flier miles to redeem. Cardholders simply visit a website and browse for the rewards they prefer.
- Multiple possible interest rates. While the lowest rate for this card is great, applicants won’t know which rate will apply until they actually receive the card.
- Low-value rewards program. In looking through the ScoreCard rewards program’s website, it seems like each point is worth substantially less than 1 percent each toward many of the merchandise options. I’d guess each point is probably worth one-half to two-thirds of a cent each – making this a below-average rewards card.
- Mediocre balance transfer offer. There are many zero-percent balance transfer offers that extend a year or longer. So 1.99 percent for six months is not the most competitive.
- Foreign transaction fees. The trend in the credit card industry is to end these unnecessary fees, so it’s disappointing that IberiaBank has not done so yet. (See How to Avoid Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees.)
The bottom line
Whenever companies try to meld two features into one credit card, they risk creating something that does neither well. While it’s not best-of-breed in either category, IberiaBank Visa Platinum Rewards Card does a decent job of delivering both low interest rates and rewards.
If you insist on finding the absolute lowest interest rate or the absolute best rewards, check out our credit card page for articles that will help with rewards and a credit card search to find your best card.