Credit Cards Prepaid Cards Gift Cards Tools

Credit Card Application Study – 2012

CardHub-2012-Credit-Card-Application-StudyHow up front are the applications on your credit card company’s website? That is what Card Hub set out to discover in the 2012 Credit Card Application Study. We examined the online credit card applications of the top 10 issuers to determine how easily discernible key components – including APRs, fees, and rewards programs – were without reading the fine print.

While it is highly recommended that all consumers read the fine print before applying for a credit card, the reality is that most people do not. Since all credit card issuers know this, it is up to them to determine how up front they want to be with their customers.

Below is a summary table of the results:

Issuer Rank 2012
Rank 2011
Rank 2010 Average Score 2012 Average Score 2011 Average Score 2010
Capital One 1 1 1 98.6% 98.6% 96.4%
Citi 2 10 6 96.4% 82.1% 82.1%
U.S. Bank 3 4 10 88.6% 91.4% 59.3%
Discover 4 9 5 87.5% 82.5% 82.5%
Bank of America 5 2 2 87.1% 97.9% 95.0%
Wells Fargo 6 5 3 86.4% 87.1% 87.9%
Chase 7 3 7 85.5% 91.8% 81.4%
American Express 8 T-7 8 76.7% 85.0% 78.3%
USAA 9 T-7 9 72.7% 85.0% 77.5%
Barclays 10 N/A* N/A* 62.0% N/A* N/A*
HSBC N/A* 6 4 N/A* 86.0% 86.0%
Average Scores - - - 84.2% 89.0% 82.3%

*Barclays became the 10th largest credit card issuer based on outstanding balances and therefore garnered inclusion in this study when the majority of HSBC’s credit card portfolio, including the Orchard Bank brand, was absorbed by Capital One earlier this year.

Key Findings:

  • Capital One has the clearest credit card applications for the third straight year, receiving an average score of 98.6% in 2012.
  • The worst performing issuers were USAA and Barclays, with average scores of 72.7% and 62.0%, respectively.
  • While the majority of issuers improved their transparency from 2010 to 2011, likely due to the CARD Act taking effect in February 2010, most issuers saw their scores fall from 2011 to 2012.  The result was a decline in overall transparency, with the average score falling from 89.0% in 2011 to 84.2% in 2012.
  • Citi’s credit card applications showed the most improvement from last year – its average score rose 14.3 percentage points, and USAA saw the biggest decline – its average score fell 12.3 percentage points.
  • In relative ranking, Bank of America and Chase fell the most, dropping 3 and 4 positions from their 2011 rankings, respectively. Citi had the biggest improvement in relative rank, improving by 8 positions.
  • Chase, American Express, and USAA reverted to scores similar to those seen in 2010 after rising in 2011.
  • The areas in which the most ambiguity still remains are the same as in previous years: Information related to rewards redemption and information on the balance transfer fee continue to be the areas with the most deficiencies across the board.
  • Most applications were very clear about the annual fee, how to earn rewards, and information on the purchase APR.
  • The study found that ambiguous language and phrases such as ‘up to’ and ‘as low as’ still exist in credit card applications, although this has diminished considerably since 2010.

Methodology:

We visited the online applications of the top 10 issuers, based on outstanding balances, and subjectively evaluated how clear key information was based on the ease with which we could locate it. The issuers were assigned points for each card based on how visible this information was within the page, whether we had to click to a new page to find pricing information, and whether we had to read the fine print to find these key components.

We isolated a few key components of a credit card agreement that people should definitely be aware of before applying for a credit card. The components included clarity on the introductory and regular APRs for purchases and balance transfers, clarity on the balance transfer fee and annual fee, clarity on how a customer earns rewards, and clarity on how valuable their points and miles are for rewards credit cards. Ideally, an applicant should not be able to start filling out an application without seeing this information.

When available, we evaluated two rewards credit cards and two non-rewards credit cards for every issuer.  We also used the same cards from the 2011 Credit Card Application Study for consistency purposes, where possible.

The cards received scores on a scale of 1 through 10, based on their clarity in the categories below. A score of 10 means the following in each category:

  • Clarity on Rewards:The application clearly defined, without reading the fine print, how to earn rewards and how much the rewards were worth to the customer (e.g. Are 10,000 miles worth a trip to New York or a trip to Greece?).
  • Clarity on Annual Fee:The annual fee is clearly displayed without having to go to the pricing disclosures for the credit card.
  • Clarity on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: The introductory and regular APR for new purchases made on a credit card were clearly displayed without having to go to the pricing disclosures, read the fine print, or click out of the landing page.
  • Clarity on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: The introductory and regular APR for a balance transfer, as well as the balance transfer fee, were clearly displayed without having to go to the pricing disclosures, read the fine print, or click out of the application page.

It is important to note that we consider a Terms & Conditions page to be fine print because issuers could (and some already do) list the most important information contained therein in a much more consumer-friendly manner.

Below is a breakdown of the points assigned to each card by issuer. If a category is not mentioned, it is because that card received 10 out of 10 points in that category and matches the description above. Rewards credit cards received a score out of 40, and non-rewards credit cards received a score out of 30 (as they cannot be evaluated in the rewards category).

The study also considered the information found on pages leading up to the landing page for individual credit cards. In most cases, an applicant will go through another page (typically the issuer’s homepage for credit cards where all of their credit cards are listed) in order to get to the specific landing page of a credit card, so any information found on this page was considered, as it is highly likely that an applicant will see this information before they apply. If there is not a link to an issuer’s credit card homepage, it is because that information did not differ from the landing pages of the individual credit cards.

Detailed Findings:

Capital One
Total Score: 138/140 – 98.6%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 4

Capital One’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • No Hassle Cash Rewards Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 40/40
  • Orbitz® Visa® Platinum Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 38/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 8/10 – It is clear on the landing page of the application that the card allows the cardholder to earn 3 points per dollar on all eligible Orbitz.com bookings and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. However, in order to determine the value of these points, the applicant has to click out of the main page to the “Rewards” tab. On this tab the information on the value of the points is very prominent, as is the “Rewards” tab itself on the main details page of this application, which is why Capital One was only deducted 2 points in this category.
  • Capital One® Classic Platinum Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 30/30
  • Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 30/30
Back to Table

Citi
Total Score: 135/140 – 96.4%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 4

Citi’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • Citi Forward (landing page) – Points Earned: 35/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – The information on the landing page clearly says that the applicant can earn 5 ThankYou points for every dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment and 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases as well as  bonus points for certain account activity. However, it does not state how much the points are worth. Some people may notice the small print on the landing page that states 10,000 bonus points are worth “up to” $100, but not only is that statement somewhat vague, but many people will either miss it or be unsure whether all rewards points carry the same value.  What’s more, even when the applicant navigates away from the page to read the “Terms and Conditions” page, information about the value of ultimate value of rewards cannot be found.
  • Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 40/40
  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® (landing page) – Points Earned: 30/30
  • Citi® Platinum Select® Visa® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 30/30
Back to Table

U.S. Bank
Total Score: 124/140 – 88.6%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 4

U.S. Bank’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 36/40
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – Both the introductory and regular balance transfer APR are very clear from the U.S. Bank homepage for credit cards. However, the applicant cannot find the balance transfer fee unless they click “View Terms and Conditions,” which is a major issue given that not everyone knows to search for the balance transfer fee.
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 36/40
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – Both the introductory and regular balance transfer APR are very clear from the U.S. Bank homepage for credit cards. However, the applicant cannot find the balance transfer fee unless they click “View Terms and Conditions,” which is a major issue given that not everyone knows to search for the balance transfer fee.
  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 26/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – Both the introductory and regular balance transfer APR are very clear from the U.S. Bank homepage for credit cards. However, the applicant cannot find the balance transfer fee unless they click “View Terms and Conditions,” which is a major issue given that not everyone knows to search for the balance transfer fee.
  • U.S. Bank College Visa® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 26/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – Both the introductory and regular balance transfer APR are very clear from the U.S. Bank homepage for credit cards. However, the applicant cannot find the balance transfer fee unless they click “View Terms and Conditions,” which is a major issue given that not everyone knows to search for the balance transfer fee.
Back to Table

Discover
Total Score: 105/120 – 87.5%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 3

Discover’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • Discover More Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 35/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – While the landing page makes it clear that you earn 5% on rotating expense categories, there is no mention of the fact that you also earn “up to” 1% cash back on all other purchases, which is buried in the fine print of the “Terms & Conditions.”
  • Miles by Discover Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 35/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – It is clear from the landing page of this credit card application how to earn miles using this credit card. However, in order to determine what the miles are worth, you have to click on the “Miles by Discover Card FAQs” link and click on the question “What can I redeem my Miles for?”, which is the 10th question listed and could easily be missed.  The fact that one must do so much digging to find this information resulted in this card getting penalized the same amount as cards that require you to peruse the Terms & Conditions.
  • Discover Motiva Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 35/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – While the landing page makes it clear that you earn 5% of your interest charges as a cash back bonus during months you make an on-time payment, they do not provide any details about the cash back rewards you earn by making purchases.  This information is buried in the fine print of the “Terms & Conditions” and could easily be missed if a consumer does not know to specifically look for it.
Back to Table

Bank of America
Total Score: 122/140 – 87.1%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 4

Bank of America’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 37/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 7/10  – The landing page clearly states that cardholders earn 3% on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else, the fact that quarterly limits apply to rewards earning, and the ability of cardholders to “Get a $100 cash back bonus after qualifying purchase(s).”  However, you must click on the “Terms and Conditions, scroll down the page to the “Features” section, and carefully read the information about rewards to see specifics about quarterly maximums — the bonus rewards on gas and groceries only apply to the first $1,500 in combined purchases you make in these categories each quarter.
  • BankAmericard® Power Rewards® Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 33/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – It’s clear from the card’s main page that you earn three rewards points per dollar spent on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first six months as well as one point per dollar on everything else, but you have to click on and then carefully read the “Terms and Conditions” in order to find information about how much these points are worth and only by following the link to www.bankofamerica.com/powerrewards provided therein does the value even become clear.
    • Deficiency on Annual Fee:  8/10 – The annual fee is not listed on the card’s main page or the top of its application, and you must click on the “Interest Rates & Fees” tab or scroll down to the “Terms and Conditions” section of the application in order to see this cost.
  • BankAmericard Basic® Visa® Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 26/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases:  8/10 – This card did not get a perfect score because a consumer has to click on the “Interest Rates & Fees” tab to see its specific purchase APRs.  Nevertheless, this tab is prominent on the card’s main page and displays information in a very consumer-friendly way.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 8/10 – This card did not get a perfect score because a consumer has to  click on the “Interest Rates & Fees” tab to see its specific balance transfer APR and fee.  Nevertheless, this tab is prominent on the card’s main page and displays information in a very consumer-friendly way.
  • BankAmericard® for Students (landing page) – Points Earned: 26/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases:  8/10 – This card did not get a perfect score because a consumer has to  click on the “Interest Rates & Fees” tab to see its specific purchase APRs.  Nevertheless, this tab is prominent on the card’s main page and displays information in a very consumer-friendly way.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 8/10 – This card did not get a perfect score because a consumer has to  click on the “Interest Rates & Fees” tab to see its specific balance transfer APR and fee.  Nevertheless, this tab is prominent on the card’s main page and displays information in a very consumer-friendly way.
Back to Table

Wells Fargo
Total Score: 121/140 – 86.4%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 4

Wells Fargo’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • Wells Fargo Cash BackSM Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 36/40
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – While the interest rates for new purchases and balance transfers are listed clearly, the only mention of balance transfer fees on the landing page or the card’s main page is a hyperlinked statement that “Balance Transfer fees may apply” alongside the rest of the interest rate information on the main page.  This merely directs you to the cards Terms & Conditions, where you have to scroll down and examine the fine print in order to figure out what the balance transfer fee is.
  • Wells Fargo Rewards® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 33/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 7/10 – While it’s clear how rewards are earned with this card, their value is somewhat hard to determine.  If you click on the card name from the landing page, you’ll be directed to a page with a lot of small print and many links, one of which will direct you to another congested page, where you can determine the value of rewards.  On the other hand, if you notice the part of the description paragraph on the landing page that mentions the fact that rewards “can be redeemed for travel, cash rewards, gift cards, and more” and click on the link provided therein, you’ll be directed to a page that makes it fairly simple to determine the value of the card’s rewards, but it will still take a couple of clicks.  As a result, this card was penalized more than the Capital One Orbitz Visa, but less than cards that require you to parse the Terms & Conditions or visit an external website.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – While the interest rates for new purchases and balance transfers are listed clearly, the only mention of balance transfer fees on the landing page or the card’s main page is a hyperlinked statement that “Balance Transfer fees may apply” alongside the rest of the interest rate information on the main page.  This merely directs you to the cards Terms & Conditions, where you have to scroll down and examine the fine print in order to figure out what the balance transfer fee is.
  • Wells Fargo® Platinum Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 26/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – While the interest rates for new purchases and balance transfers are listed clearly, the only mention of balance transfer fees on the landing page or the card’s main page is a hyperlinked statement that “Balance Transfer fees may apply” alongside the rest of the interest rate information on the main page.  This merely directs you to the cards Terms & Conditions, where you have to scroll down and examine the fine print in order to figure out what the balance transfer fee is.
  • Wells Fargo®  College Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 26/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 6/10 – While the interest rates for new purchases and balance transfers are listed clearly, the only mention of balance transfer fees on the landing page or the card’s main page is a hyperlinked statement that “Balance Transfer fees may apply” alongside the rest of the interest rate information on the main page.  This merely directs you to the cards Terms & Conditions, where you have to scroll down and examine the fine print in order to figure out what the balance transfer fee is.
Back to Table

Chase
Total Score: 94/110 – 85.5%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 3

Chase’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • Chase Freedom® Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 40/40
  • Chase Sapphire Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 24/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – It’s clear from the card’s main page that you get two points per dollar at restaurants and one point per dollar everywhere else as well as 10,000 bonus points for spending $500 during the first three months.  However, it’s not apparent how much these points are worth.  Some people may consider the fact that the 10,000 bonus points are worth $100 in order to make an educated guess about the value of the ongoing rewards, and this actually saves the card from receiving a 0/10, but most will look elsewhere, eventually having to visit Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Web page, which is not linked from the card’s online listing.  As a result this card was given an average score.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 5/10 – Unless you click the “Pricing & Terms” link on the landing page or scroll down to the bottom of the application page in order to view the “Pricing & Terms” section there, there is way to know what the purchase APR is.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 4/10 - Both the balance transfer APR and balance transfer fee information can only be found by either clicking the ‘Pricing and Terms’ link on Chase’s homepage for credit cards, or by looking at the ‘Pricing Information’ at the bottom of the actual application page. While the balance transfer APR is at the top of the ‘Pricing Information’, you cannot see the balance transfer fee while looking at the application page unless you scroll a ways down in the ‘Pricing Information’ box. It is particularly important that the balance transfer fee is clearly displayed because it is much less likely that an applicant will know to look for it (as opposed to knowing to look for the APRs). It is also buried much lower than the APRs on the “Pricing and Terms” page.
  • Slate From Chase® (landing page) – Points Earned: 30/30
Back to Table

American Express
Total Score: 92/120 – 76.7%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 3

American Express’ credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • Blue from American Express® (landing page) – Points Earned: 34/40
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 4/10 - You have to visit the “Terms & Conditions” in order to see what the balance transfer APR is, which is somewhat odd given that the purchase APR is listed clearly on the card’s landing page.  In addition, you have to scroll much farther past the balance transfer APR to find the balance transfer fee, which means it could easily be missed.
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 24/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 0/10 – The number of bonus miles you can earn and what it takes to get them are clearly laid out at the top of this card’s landing page, but you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the additional information provided there to see what the ongoing rewards are like.  What’s more, while the landing page clearly lists that “You can redeem Delta miles for Award Travel with Delta or over 15 airline partners,” there is no mention of the value of reward miles on the landing page or the card’s Terms & Conditions.  You have to visit Delta’s website (http://www.delta.com/skymiles/use_miles/ways_redeem_miles/index.jsp) to obtain this information.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 4/10 – You have to visit the “Terms & Conditions” in order to see what the balance transfer APR is, which is somewhat odd given that the purchase APR is listed clearly on the card’s landing page.  In addition, you have to scroll much farther past the balance transfer APR to find the balance transfer fee, which means it could easily be missed.
  • Clear from American Express® (landing page) – Points Earned: 34/40
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 4/10 – You have to visit the “Terms & Conditions” in order to see what the balance transfer APR is, which is somewhat odd given that the purchase APR is listed clearly on the card’s landing page.  In addition, you have to scroll much farther past the balance transfer APR to find the balance transfer fee, which means it could easily be missed.
Back to Table

USAA
Total Score: 80/110 – 72.7%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 3

USAA’s credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • USAA American Express® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 29/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 7/10 – The value of this card’s rewards are either quite clear or difficult to determine, depending on whether you click on its name as listed on the left side of  the general landing page or on its illustrated listing in the middle of the page.  If you do the former, you’ll only need one more click (on the “Redeeming Rewards” tab) in order to determine the value of your points.  If you do the latter, you’ll have to reference the Terms & Conditions.  As a result, this card was penalized more than the Capital One Orbitz Visa, but less than cards that absolutely necessitate parsing the Terms & Conditions or visit an external website.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 7/10 – The information on the landing page says that the purchase APR is “as low as” 9.9%. This is vague language, and to get the maximum rate, the applicant has to either scroll down and read the fine print at the bottom of the page or click the link to “View Rates, Fees and Other Cost Information,” which leads you to a Terms & Conditions page.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 5/10 – The information on the landing page does mention the balance transfer APR, but says it is ‘as low as’ 9.9%. This is vague language and the applicant has to click the link to “View Rates, Fees and Other Cost Information” to read the pricing disclosure and get the maximum rate. The applicant also has to click the link to “View Rates, Fees and Other Cost Information” to get information on the balance transfer fee, which is not listed together with the balance transfer rate and could therefore easily be missed.
  • USAA World MasterCard® (landing page) – Points Earned: 29/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 7/10 – The value of this card’s rewards are either quite clear or difficult to determine, depending on whether you click on its name as listed on the left side of  the general landing page or on its illustrated listing in the middle of the page.  If you do the former, you’ll only need one more click (on the “Redeeming Rewards” tab) in order to determine the value of your points.  If you do the latter, you’ll have to reference the Terms & Conditions.  As a result, this card was penalized more than the Capital One Orbitz Visa, but less than cards that absolutely necessitate parsing the Terms & Conditions or visiting an external website.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 7/10 – The information on the landing page says that the purchase APR is “as low as” 9.9%. This is vague language, and to get the maximum rate, the applicant has to either scroll down and read the fine print at the bottom of the page or click the link to “View Rates, Fees and Other Cost Information,” which leads you to a Terms & Conditions page.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 5/10 – The information on the landing page does mention the balance transfer APR, but says it is ‘as low as’ 9.9%. This is vague language and the applicant has to click the link to “View Rates, Fees and Other Cost Information” to read the pricing disclosure and get the maximum rate. The applicant also has to click the link to “View Rates, Fees and Other Cost Information” to get information on the balance transfer fee, which is not listed together with the balance transfer rate and could therefore easily be missed.
  • USAA Rate Advantage Card® (landing page) – Points Earned: 22/30
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 7/10 – The only information  that you can find about this card’s purchase APR without referencing its Terms & Conditions is the vague statement that it can be “as low as” 6.9%.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 5/10 – The only information  that you can find about this card’s balance transfer APR without referencing its Terms & Conditions is the vague statement that it can be “as low as” 6.9%.  There is also no mention of its balance transfer fee, except for in the Terms & Conditions, which is problematic since most consumers won’t know to seek this fee out.
Back to Table

Barclays
Total Score: 93/150 – 62.0%
Number of Cards Evaluated: 4

Barclays’ credit card homepage – this is included because the information on the homepage was considered in the evaluation.

  • Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® (landing page) – Points Earned: 14/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 0/10 – It’s clear from the landing page that the card “offers 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase, and lets you earn 2 points per dollar on gas, groceries, and utilities and 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else,” but you can’t figure out what these rewards are worth without logging into your Barclays account, which necessitates having a Barclays credit card.
    • Deficiency on Annual Fee: 5/10 – There is no mention of the card’s annual fee on the landing page, nor the card’s main page.  You must scroll down to the bottom of the application to the “Term & Conditions” section to see what it is.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 5/10 – Unless you click the “Terms & Conditions” link on the landing page or scroll down to the bottom of the application page in order to view the “Terms & Conditions” section there, there is way to know what the purchase APR is.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 4/10 – The information on the balance transfer APRs and balance transfer fee can only be found by either looking at the bottom of the application page or by reading the card’s Terms and Conditions.
  • Priceline Rewards Visa® Card (landing page) – Points Earned: 24/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – It’s clear that you earn 5x points on Name Your Own Price® purchases and 2x points on everything else.  Similarly, while it’s obvious that you can earn “up to” 5,000 bonus points for qualifying balance transfers made during the first 30 days, it’s hard to determine exactly how much you stand to get for a given transfer without reading the fine print.  In addition, consumers might be understandably at a loss as to how much these points are worth.  Some people may use the fact that the 5,000 bonus points are worth $50 to make an educated guess as to the value of the ongoing rewards, but nowhere is the worth explicitly stated on any page directly linked from the card’s landing page.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 5/10 – Unless you click the “Terms & Conditions” link, you’ll have no way of knowing what the purchase APR is.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 4/10 – You have to click on the “Terms & Conditions” link in order to see interest rate information, and the balance transfer fee could easily be missed by a consumer who does not know to look for it given that it is much farther down the page than the APR.
  • US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard® (landing page) – Points Earned: 25/40
    • Deficiency on Rewards: 5/10 – It’s clear how rewards are earned with this card, and while the card’s main page gives consumers a vague idea of how much miles are worth (40,000 miles is “more than enough” for a free flight), you have to check the US Airways rewards website for specifics.  This website is not linked from the card’s landing page or application, and you have to look it up separately. As a result, this card received an average score.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Carry a Balance for New Purchases: 5/10 – There is no mention of the card’s purchase APR on its main page or application, and unless you click on the Terms & Conditions link or scroll down to the Terms & Conditions section on this card’s application page, you’ll have no way of knowing what its APR is.
    • Deficiency on How Much it Costs to Make a Balance Transfer: 5/10 – The only mention of the card’s balance transfer APRs on its main page or application is that it offers a “Low introductory APR on balance transfers for 6 months.”  You have to read its Terms & Conditions to fill in the details, and the APR and balance transfer fee are not listed together, which means the latter could easily be missed.
  • Barclaycard Ring MasterCard® (landing page) – Points Earned: 30/30
Back to Table

 

For questions or more information regarding this study, please contact our media department.

Previous years’ studies:
2011 Credit Card Application Study
2010 Credit Card Application Study

Previous The Olympics of Spending: Visa Stats from the Games’ First Week Reveal Surprising Trends   Is Chase’s Liquid Prepaid Card the Check Cashing Killer? Next

Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.