The AARP® Visa Signature® Card from Chase

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  • Annual Fee $0
  • Chip Status None
  • Regular APR 16.24% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

AARP offers a Visa credit card through Chase that enjoys only a tepid reception. The $100 introductory offer (when you spend $500 in the first three months) is nice. And so is the zero APR for the first year, but in terms of benefits earned by dining out, fueling the car and such the 3% cash back is not incentive enough to win hands-down over competing cards in the same no-annual-fee category.

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Benefits and Features

Card customers who prize transferable points more highly than fixed-value points should look elsewhere, also. Initially, the AARP card offered a super high 5% cash back for the first six months, but that benefit was taken off the table. For AARP members who spend a lot at restaurants and gas pumps and who want a no-annual-fee card that returns cash back this card may make sense. However, the modest sign-up bonus and the lack of travel rewards do not put this card in the first tier. Also not in AARP’s favor is the 3% foreign transaction bite. In other words, don’t take this card on travels abroad.

To be sure, this is a good card. But those who qualify should do a little comparison-shopping. Look at the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express and other no-fee offers. Chase’s Freedom card, for instance, offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. For restaurants, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Other considerations include a penalty rate of 29.99% if you miss a payment or go over your limit on any Chase card, and a $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) balance transfer fee that could significantly cut into interest savings.

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