Hello, to everyone. I want to tell you about the MyPoints Visa credit card. The credit card is issued by Washington Mutual bank, which is part of Washington Mutual, Inc., which is a holding company for all of Washington Mutual's enterprise endeavors.
Recommend this product?
The credit card is tied to the popular online rewards program, MyPoints (mypoints.com). By using this credit card, you accumulate points in the MyPoints program.
Most people use credit cards, or if they are foolish, use debit cards. In any case, most of us use a Visa or Mastercard "card" (credit or debit). As this business has evolved over the years, the issuing institutions have offered incentives to attract customers.
Some banks will partner with airlines, others with retailers, others with an array of countless other types of firms for various reasons, all in the hope of attracting us as customers. If I want, I can get a Minnesota Vikings credit card. I think that would be among the stupidest things I could possibly do, but if I want, I can do that.
So my point here is that it pays to shop around and find a credit card that rewards you for using it. And of course, you don't want to pay for the privilege of using the card (otherwise known as an annual fee).
Prior to 2006, the only rewards card that I used was a Discover card. Discover pays cash back, so I continue to use that card for anything that I buy, unless the merchant does not accept my Discover card.
Because the Discover card is not as widely accepted as a Visa or a Mastercard, I decided last year to go about finding a Visa card that had a rewards program. Previously, I had a Visa credit card from my local bank, a card that did not offer any rewards.
I settled on the MyPoints Visa card, primarily because of my familiarity with the MyPoints online rewards program. Well, there were other factors involved in the decision. I don't travel a lot, so an airline card didn't make sense. Other cards promising "rewards" didn't seem to make sense to me; their programs were difficult to decipher, difficult to understand exactly what my rewards were worth.
Well, I know what points are worth in the MyPoints program, so the MyPoints Visa credit card made a lot of sense to me.
Now, I probably would not have written this review just to tell you that this card existed and that you could get MyPoints points just by using a Visa credit card. This is a primary reason for writing this review, but it is not the only one.
The other primary reason for writing this review is to tell you about Washington Mutual's credit card service.
The service that I have received from Washington Mutual's credit card program is by far, by far, the best experience I have had using a credit card. I have opened and closed nearly two dozen credit cards in my life, including a few Visa cards, and a lot of merchant store cards (using up all of those one-time offers for signing up for a card, as you know).
The service has been so impressive that I insisted that the Lead of this category add this card to the lineup. I'm glad he agreed. I think you should be aware of not only the MyPoints Visa card and simply the opportunity to get MyPoints points by buying things you would buy anyhow, but also so that you are aware of a truly fantastic credit card experience.
First though, I need to get some of the fine details, or fine print of the terms of service, published here, so that I cover all of the ground.
+ APR can range from 11.99 and 31.99% (based on credit history)
+ you earn one point for every dollar you spend
+ balance transfers are available, but their terms vary based on your credit worthiness. In comparison with other cards I've had, Washington Mutual is competitive.
I guess that's all I can put up here. The account fees are not published at the website. Those details were sent to me by snail mail and I discarded them. I don't deal with late payments or over-the-limit penalties because I am a responsible consumer. Honestly, I don't care what the fees are. If you want my limited recollection of what I saw on the fees chart, I think they were in the $30 range for various mistakes that a person might make.
Of course, if you fail to make a minimum payment on a balance transfer, your rate on that transfer will likely revert to the highest possible rate that the bank charges on the account. This is just common sense stuff, so I am not going to further comment on things like this.
Now what you're looking for is how this credit card separates itself from others, right?
Look no further than the Web interface. It is hands down, the best online interface for a credit card account that I have ever seen. That is saying something, since I have been doing this online since 1999 and have dealt with some of the biggies - Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fleet Boston, Bank One, and others (whether of my own account or a company card).
For starters, it is relatively clean. It has a tabbed approach across the top of the screen. There are four tabs: "Account Information," "Make a Payment," "Credit Profile," and "Transfer Balance."
The Account Information tab is obviously where most of your work gets done. By default, after logging in you will be brought under this tab and will be shown a summary of your account details - current balance, current payment due, next statement date, and so forth.
Within this tab, you can quickly link out to see recent statements. There is a convenient link to request "old" statements on paper.
Also within this tab is an option to have reminders sent to you when payments are due. You can have a reminder phone call or a reminder email or both. I've never seen this before, but then again, I've never looked for it. At this site, it's just a small font mini-link next to the payment due date on the account summary.
You can also have email alerts set up when payments have been posted, when your balance reaches a certain limit (you specify the number), and when you FICO score changes (more on this later!). It's such a smooth and straight forward process. Quite impressive.
Under the "Make a Payment" tab, you can make payments. You add a checking account to your profile in this area, and then the credit card account will withdraw your payment from your checking account. You can specify any particular amount of a payment, can choose which day you want it to post, and can choose from which bank account you want it drawn upon. As far as I know, you can have at least two linked checking accounts. I suppose it's possible to have more, but I wouldn't know, since at the moment, I only have one linked.
There are two payment options. One is the standard payment, and there is not a charge for this option. However, you can not choose a same-day date for this option. There is an "Express Payment" option, and this will post immediately, but that option costs $15.
All money transfers are done by ACH.
Also under the "Account Information" tab is a personalized "Customized Spending Profile." Complete with a pie chart, it analyzes where your money is spent (restaurants, gas, groceries, etc.). It's really cool.
Further under this tab, there is a chart that shows your payment history, including details such as if you made the minimum payment or if you made more than the minimum payment. It also has a meter - looks like a thermometer - that displays how many points you accumulated during the the billing cycle.
NOW, HERE'S THE KICKER:
This is something I have never seen in a credit card service and never expected to see:
You are given an ongoing analysis of your credit history, beginning with when you opened your account. Washington Mutual provides you with your FICO score and tells you from which of the three credit bureaus it obtained it. It seems to me that it alternates among the three sources every month. I could be wrong, but I believe that's the case. This month, my score is taken from TransUnion.
FICO score information is usually something a person has to pay for. Not only does this service give you your current score, but it provides a graph as to how your score fluctuates (or rather, if you're good, how it improves). It's amazing!
Also included under the Credit Profile tab is a "Credit Report Snapshot." This includes details such as number of accounts, number of open accounts, number of closed accounts, inquiries, derogatory items, number of delinquencies, and total revolving balances.
Can you believe this? I'm still finding it hard to believe that I get all of this for free! And I get points for my MyPoints account to boot.
There are also other nifty utilities such as a "FICO score stimulator." This nifty tool allows you to enter in hypothetical information and how your score might change if you do this or if you do that.
There's a "Why is my FICO score XXX?" utility. It actually gives you reasons why your score might be what it is. It gives a source for the information, but it is not the credit bureau, so I don't know how they come up with this stuff, but it makes sense!
By now, I would hope that you'd be convinced to open an account with these guys. I mean, of nothing else, if you don't have a rewards Visa credit card, just open a Washington Mutual Visa credit card account. You'll get all of these tools without an annual fee.
I think it's amazing.
There are other things I could talk about, and I will, but I'm going to keep them brief.
Further about the website - at least for me, my color scheme is a background of white, with blue and light green colors, with orange buttons. It's a great color scheme.
The site is just very well designed, period. I like the tabbed approach to begin with, but at no time is the site overwhelming. Information is contained within certain screens, but enough is there so you don't have to click and click and click.
I even tried the site map just for the heck of it. Absolutely logical. Most site maps are disasters. This site map will direct you to anything you're looking for - the terms in the site map are clear, so you know where you're headed.
I think I'm going to stop here. There's nothing loopy about this service - nothing under the table, no shady practices, nothing to worry about, as far as I can tell. I've had this account for nearly four months now.
One thing I will say is that there is a problem getting your points credited to your MyPoints account in a timely matter. I am currently investigating this situation and I will post an update here at a later date. So far, only my initial 1,000 point bonus has been credited, and that only happened because I initiated the process with MyPoints customer service.
So that could be a problem, and it would be a big one, if the system does not work to get your points credited properly, much less in a timely manner. I'm going to give them some more time to get this straightened out before I report back. It's possible that it takes time for the credit card company and MyPoints to get in sync. I don't know what the deal is, so I'm not going to come down hard on them just yet. But be aware that it has not been smooth going in this area, at least for me.
One other thing that bothers me about this service, and well, it's the ONLY other thing that bothers me, is that I cannot configure the account to be entirely electronic. I have my Discover card configured this way, and it's great. When I had a Mastercard, I had that card set up that way. Paperless statements should be an option in this day and age. I'm surprised this option isn't offered.
But the bottom line here is that you get a Visa credit card, which everybody needs, you get rewards that are effectively cash back if you want them (redeem for points at Target if you want - that's basically cash), and last but not least, you get a personal utility that analyzes your credit history, including your FICO score.
That's a nice package for no annual fee, a great web interface, and a form of currency that practically everybody needs (Visa or Mastercard).
I highly recommend the MyPoints Visa credit card, issued by Washington Mutual.
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