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The demand for 0% intro APR cards has never been greater since the coronavirus pandemic happened. If you’re looking to make big purchases at zero interest during this recession, the ABOC credit card is a great option that you should look into.
Never Heard Of ABOC Before?
If you’re skeptical about ABOC or the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, don’t be. The company has been around since 1922 and it was established by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union to offer banking services for the working class.
But in recent years, the bank started to offer credit cards, one of which is the ABOC credit card or officially known as the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard.
The card has three key factors that beginners should always look for when they’re getting a credit card: rewards, 0% intro APR periods, and zero annual fees.
We’ll discuss everything in detail whether this card is good for you or not.
ABOC Credit Card Rewards Program
The ABOC credit card offers a decent rewards program for its consumers. Earning points is super easy and here are the two ways on how to do it:
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on rotating categories (up to $1,500 per quarter)
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases (unlimited points earning)
Most cards only have bonus categories that are locked into certain stores or brands but the ABOC’s bonus categories include a wide coverage of common expenses like bills, transportation, dining, groceries, and electronics. You’ll have lots of ways to rack up points easily. Here are ABOC’s bonus categories of the year 2021.
- January – March – Health and Wellness: Eligible supermarket purchases, fitness clubs, hospitals, and pharmacies.
- April – June – Spring Spruce Up: Eligible home improvement, gardening, Amazon.com, and other major online retailers.
- July – September – Travel: Eligible airline, cruise, car rental, hotel, travel, gas, tolls, and rideshare purchases.
- October -December – Enjoy the Holidays: Eligible dining and groceries, food delivery, liquor stores, and Amazon.com purchases.
New cardholders can start earning points right away after making their first purchase. The card also comes with a $150 welcome bonus if you’re able to spend $1200 within three months of getting the card.
ABOC Rewards points don’t expire as long as you’re account remains active. Plus, there’s no limit to the number of rewards that you can redeem using your points whether it’s for airfare, gift cards, or statement credits.
ABOC Credit Card Benefits
Aside from the card’s main features, it also has other benefits that makes it even more valuable.
No Annual Fee: You don’t have to pay annual fees with the ABOC credit card so it’s a great starter card for beginners who are testing out the waters. If you don’t like the card after a year of using it, you can just cancel it easily.
No Foreign Transaction Fees: Splurge all you want when you shop abroad because the card won’t charge foreign transaction fees. Typically, these fees cost around 3% – 3.5% of the purchase.price.
0% Intro APR For Purchases: Pay zero interest on purchases for 12 months. This is a great feature is you’re planning to make big purchases in your first year of getting the card.
Mastercard Buyer Benefits: Since the ABOC credit card is affiliated with Mastercard, it comes with buyer protection benefits such as zero liability for unauthorized purchases, warranty extension, and 60-day price protection.
Lower Credit Requirements: Even though the bank looks at various factors for credit card approval, people with “fair too good” credit or a FICO score of at least 580, can get approved for the card.
Why You May Want Another Card
Generally, the ABOC credit card ticks off almost all consumer pain points but there a few drawbacks that make you think of getting another card.
Points Redemption Value Is Low
You can redeem your points through the ABOC rewards portal, however, the rewards aren’t as competitive compared to other credit cards (except for travel redemption).
Here’s how the points are valued for different rewards:
- Travel: While the value of your points differs for hotel, car rental, and airfare redemption, it’s usually at $0.013 per point.
- Statement Credit: Your points have a redemption value of $0.0075 per point for statement credits. This isn’t the best way to redeem your points since it’s almost half the value if you redeem it for travel.
- Gift Cards: Gift cards that have a high value require fewer points. For example, you can redeem a $25 gift card for 3,250 points which is equivalent to $0.0077 per point. Meanwhile, redeeming a $500 gift card will require 50,000 points or $0.01 per point.
- Merchandise: You can use your points to redeem ABOC merchandise such as union-themed apparel and coffee mugs. Unless you’re an ABOC fan, we don’t really recommend using this redemption method since there aren’t a lot of valuable rewards here.
No 0% Intro APR For Balance Transfers
The card used to have 0% intro APR for balance transfers but they recently removed it this May of 2020. It’s not yet known if they’re going to bring this feature back soon.
However, it’s really best to get balance transfer cards because it helps to pay off your loans faster.
Alternative Credit Cards
Chase Freedom Flex
If you’re a fan of rotating categories, the Chase Freedom Flex is also a great option. The card also has a $200 sign-up bonus but the spending threshold is only $500 to get the bonus. It’s obviously lower compared to the ABOC credit card’s $1200 spending threshold.
In addition, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are considered to be one of the most valuable points in the market. Your points have a redemption value of $0.01 to $0.015 (1 – 1.5 cent) per point and it can even have a higher value if you transfer them to other partner programs.
Discover It Cashback Card
The Discover It card is also a cashback card that has rotating categories. However, it offers 0% intro APR not only for purchases but also for balance transfers. The introductory period lasts for 14 months which is a great offer compared to other cards that only have 9 or 12 months.
While the $50 sign-up bonus for this card isn’t that lucrative, the card has a unique “double cashback” feature. For example, if you’ve earned $200 worth of cashback for one whole year, Discover will match that and give you $200 more.
Citi Double Cash Card
For those who don’t want to trouble themselves with rotating categories and prefer a flat cashback rate, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great option. You’ll earn 2% cashback – 1% for making a purchase and another 1% if you pay off that purchase.
In fact, you don’t have to choose between the Citi Double Cash Card and the ABOC Platinum Rewards Card since both cards work well together.
You can use your Citi card to earn 2% cashback whenever you want to make a purchase that’s not on ABOC’s rotating categories.
Who Can Benefit From The ABOC Credit Card?
Different people have different needs so maybe the ABOC credit card might not be for you. However, if you belong to any of these categories we’ve listed below, then you should consider getting the card.
You Have Fair Credit SCore
If you only have a fair credit score but want perks that are only present in cards that require an excellent credit score. The ABOC credit card is one of those cards that offer a lengthy 0% intro APR even if you only have fair credit.
You Want To Earn Points Automatically On Rotating Categories
There’s not doubt that the cashback is always higher for cards with rotating categories but for some unknown reason, it always requires activation.
The ABOC credit card doesn’t need activation and you can start earning points right away if you make purchases from the current bonus category.
You Want A Higher Value For Your Points For Travel Redemptions
Who doesn’t love free travel? Well, the ABOC Rewards points are valued at $0.013 or 1.3 cents if you redeem them towards travel rewards.
It’s pretty competitive since the points on travel credit cards only with zero annual fees are only valued at $0.01 or 1 cent.
- Lengthy 0% intro APR period for purchases
- Sign-up offer
- No annual fees
- No foreign transaction fees
- Only requires “fair to good” credit score
- No 0% intro APR for balance transfers
- 3% fee per balance transfer (minimum $5)
- Poor cash-back redemption option
Thoughts From Points Panda
From a rewards standpoint, the ABOC credit card isn’t that competitive because the redemption value isn’t that high. If you do get this credit card, make sure to focus on travel redemption to maximize the value of your points.
However, the card is a great overall card because of its has zero annual fees and foreign transaction fees. Plus, it’s lengthy 0% intro APR is really a great benefit. You can sign up for our travel concierge if ever you need credit card or award booking assistance.