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Cash back card for utilities?

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Established Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?

What about getting the Amex BBP And pairing it with Schwab platinum?

Turns first $50k of spend into 2.5%
Message 21 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@jaylau17 wrote:

For the record, I have the Vantage West Connect Rewards VS and while the application process was a little complex, I have had nothing but positive experiences since. I actually love their website. You can link your external accounts with it and view everything on one screen.

 

I joined GABA to qualify for the card since I live in Alabama and have no ties whatsoever to Arizona.


I'm pretty interested in this card, can you elaborate on how the process is a little complex? Do they require a manual review and phone call from an underwriter before approving you? Are there a lot of back and forth and hoop-jumping for verification? Thanks!

 

I think at the moment, the only thing that's stopping me from apping is the fact that wholesale clubs category (the category I'm most interested in) only counts for in-store spending. I do spend a fair amount buying from Costco online as well so I'm hesitant to take an HP and AAoA hit just to get a card that'll be only half-useful. 

Message 22 of 41
Super Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@arkane wrote:

@SBR249 wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:

@SBR249 wrote:

If you have an in with Vantage West, their Connect Rewards card has utilities ("water, cell, electric, etc.") as a 5x point category. But AFAIK, it's pretty much limited to areas of AZ and certain other groups. 


I briefly looked at that the other day and think you can join a certain zoo group for about ~$40 and then be eligible.   But didn't apply so not sure!

 

 ETA:  Checking the site:  PCOA is $25

Our current associational partners are:
contentGABA – Greater Arizona Bicycling Association 
https://reidparkzooPCOA – Pima Council on Aging
https://reidparkzooRPZ – Reid Park Zoological Society


Thanks I hadn't looked into this too much. Apparently these ins are not listed on their eligibility page or I didn't read it carefully enough. An individual 1-year membership to the bicycling association is $15 which suits me fine as I am also a cyclist. 

 

And apologies to arkane, I didn't read the OP carefully enough and didn't realize it asked for cards besides the Vantage West Connect Rewards. 


Not a problem. This would've been my next card were it not for the overwhelmingly negative reviews about Vantage West CU, mostly to do with their customer service and their horrible site. Also the lack of a sign up bonus is a major bummer, plus the $15 one year GABA membership fee to join means I'll be net negative until I run through $300 in utility charges (not hard, just annoying). 🤔


This thread inspired me to apply to Vantage West (before your post about 'negative reviews').  After reading your post, I looked up some of their reviews, and did more research on MyFICO, and found that their reviews were not overwhelmingly negative at all.

 

In any event, my dealings with them have been excellent. They seem like a good organization to me, if you like smaller institutions with personal service.

 

 


Total revolving limits 730000 (603500 reporting) FICO 8 scores: EQ 722 TU 764 EX 734
Message 23 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@SouthJamaica wrote:

 

This thread inspired me to apply to Vantage West (before your post about 'negative reviews').  After reading your post, I looked up some of their reviews, and did more research on MyFICO, and found that their reviews were not overwhelmingly negative at all.

 

In any event, my dealings with them have been excellent. They seem like a good organization to me, if you like smaller institutions with personal service.

Awesome, please report back on how the app process went for you. I'd love to hear about it. 

 

I think the main thing that stood out to me from those negative reviews is that VW may be a bit fee-happy. Someone mentioned somewhere (I think it was a comment on the DoC review of this card) that if you want to raise a chargeback dispute that's an automatic $25 account research fee or something. 

Message 24 of 41
Mega Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?

I was somewhat interested in the card, but fell into inertia.   The reality is that it isn't going to be a whole of money.   If you can max out the category every quarter (which can be easier than the random Discover/Freedom ones) you are getting a max of $45 a quarter extra over a 2% card  (I am ignoring gas as I have 5% cards for that).   Which while not nothing, sort of is nothing!  Plus the one time fee to join the association if you aren't in the right area, and, in my case at least, a small charge to unfreeze by credit report.

 

So a card with a decent signup bonus would be better for quite a while.

 

Still, interesting card.

Message 25 of 41
Super Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@longtimelurker wrote:

I was somewhat interested in the card, but fell into inertia.   The reality is that it isn't going to be a whole of money.   If you can max out the category every quarter (which can be easier than the random Discover/Freedom ones) you are getting a max of $45 a quarter extra over a 2% card  (I am ignoring gas as I have 5% cards for that).   Which while not nothing, sort of is nothing!  Plus the one time fee to join the association if you aren't in the right area, and, in my case at least, a small charge to unfreeze by credit report.

 

So a card with a decent signup bonus would be better for quite a while.

 

Still, interesting card.


Right. It's easy to get caught up in % back, but when you convert it into dollars (i.e. a max of $45 a quarter), it doesn't sound as impressive.

Message 26 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@longtimelurker wrote:

I was somewhat interested in the card, but fell into inertia.   The reality is that it isn't going to be a whole of money.   If you can max out the category every quarter (which can be easier than the random Discover/Freedom ones) you are getting a max of $45 a quarter extra over a 2% card  (I am ignoring gas as I have 5% cards for that).   Which while not nothing, sort of is nothing!  Plus the one time fee to join the association if you aren't in the right area, and, in my case at least, a small charge to unfreeze by credit report.

 

So a card with a decent signup bonus would be better for quite a while.

 

Still, interesting card.


Yep I came to the same conclusion after crunching some numbers. Just not worth the hit to AAoA and inq when a decent sign up bonus will more than offset any % advantages for a few years at least. I think my next card is either going to be the Chase Freedom, or a second Discover It card.


10/14/19:

Message 27 of 41
Super Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@SBR249 wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

 

This thread inspired me to apply to Vantage West (before your post about 'negative reviews').  After reading your post, I looked up some of their reviews, and did more research on MyFICO, and found that their reviews were not overwhelmingly negative at all.

 

In any event, my dealings with them have been excellent. They seem like a good organization to me, if you like smaller institutions with personal service.

Awesome, please report back on how the app process went for you. I'd love to hear about it. 

 

I think the main thing that stood out to me from those negative reviews is that VW may be a bit fee-happy. Someone mentioned somewhere (I think it was a comment on the DoC review of this card) that if you want to raise a chargeback dispute that's an automatic $25 account research fee or something. 


Applying for the savings & checking accounts:

 

No hard pull.

Had to upload a better copy of drivers license, and evidence of eligibility (in my case receipt for donation to one of the organizations)

By next day I was advised my application was granted.

 

Applying for credit card:

 

After getting my deposit accounts set up, I applied for a credit card. The application was simple, prompted me to request a certain credit limit. I put in the maximum for that card.

Oddly I have not received any indication of a hard pull anywhere, although I assume there must be one somewhere.

Within a couple of hours I received a phone call from a very nice representative saying that my credit card application was "fully approved and all" but she wanted to make sure I had intended to apply for the specific card I had applied for, which was the case. I thanked her for the great service.

Within an hour or so, the account actually appeared on the website along with my deposit accounts, and I was able to use it to transfer funds into my checking account. The credit limit was the amount I'd asked for, and the interest rate was the lowest rate offered Smiley Happy

 

Awesome experience.

 

As to unusal fees, I do have to pay $3 a month to use the billpay service. I could avoid the fee by using one of their better checking accounts, but I'm using the stripped down version.


Total revolving limits 730000 (603500 reporting) FICO 8 scores: EQ 722 TU 764 EX 734
Message 28 of 41
Established Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@SouthJamaica wrote:

@SBR249 wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

 

This thread inspired me to apply to Vantage West (before your post about 'negative reviews').  After reading your post, I looked up some of their reviews, and did more research on MyFICO, and found that their reviews were not overwhelmingly negative at all.

 

In any event, my dealings with them have been excellent. They seem like a good organization to me, if you like smaller institutions with personal service.

Awesome, please report back on how the app process went for you. I'd love to hear about it. 

 

I think the main thing that stood out to me from those negative reviews is that VW may be a bit fee-happy. Someone mentioned somewhere (I think it was a comment on the DoC review of this card) that if you want to raise a chargeback dispute that's an automatic $25 account research fee or something. 


Applying for the savings & checking accounts:

 

No hard pull.

Had to upload a better copy of drivers license, and evidence of eligibility (in my case receipt for donation to one of the organizations)

By next day I was advised my application was granted.

 

Applying for credit card:

 

After getting my deposit accounts set up, I applied for a credit card. The application was simple, prompted me to request a certain credit limit. I put in the maximum for that card.

Oddly I have not received any indication of a hard pull anywhere, although I assume there must be one somewhere.

Within a couple of hours I received a phone call from a very nice representative saying that my credit card application was "fully approved and all" but she wanted to make sure I had intended to apply for the specific card I had applied for, which was the case. I thanked her for the great service.

Within an hour or so, the account actually appeared on the website along with my deposit accounts, and I was able to use it to transfer funds into my checking account. The credit limit was the amount I'd asked for, and the interest rate was the lowest rate offered Smiley Happy

 

Awesome experience.

 

As to unusal fees, I do have to pay $3 a month to use the billpay service. I could avoid the fee by using one of their better checking accounts, but I'm using the stripped down version.


Well dang.

 

I'm assuming the better checking account has some minimum deposit requirement. Oh well, I have at least 6+ months to think this over. Thanks for the DP.


10/14/19:

Message 29 of 41
Mega Contributor

Re: Cash back card for utilities?


@arkane wrote:

@SouthJamaica wrote:

 

As to unusal fees, I do have to pay $3 a month to use the billpay service. I could avoid the fee by using one of their better checking accounts, but I'm using the stripped down version.


Well dang.

 

I'm assuming the better checking account has some minimum deposit requirement. Oh well, I have at least 6+ months to think this over. Thanks for the DP.


For me, charging for bill pay ($3 a month??) would be a red flag!   I have several bank accounts, and all of them, including the "totally free with $0" ones, don't charge for bill pay.   I believed that banks thought it helped made the relationship more sticky, you get used to paying bills that way so you keep putting money in.

 

But I guess if you can find people who will pay a fee, even better!

Message 30 of 41
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