Ally Bank Issues First Credit Card
Ally Bank, an Internet-only banking institution, has launched its first credit card, a cash back rewards Visa card.
Cardholders can earn cash back on all eligible purchases they make with the card. Gas and grocery purchases earn two percent cash back. All other purchases are worth one percent cash back. Cardholders can earn an unlimited amount of rewards, and they never expire as long as the account is open and is in good standing. On top of this, if cardholders deposit their rewards into an Ally Bank non-IRA online savings, interest checking or money market account, they'll receive an additional ten percent bonus.
"As we evaluated options to expand our product offerings, adding a credit card to our portfolio was a logical move since it has been a frequent request of our Ally Bank customers," said Diane Morais, chief executive officer and president of Ally Bank in a statement.
Before deciding what type of card to offer, Ally said it conducted research on its potential customer base to see what rewards consumers liked most in their credit cards. Cash back topped the survey, with over half of credit card-holding respondents preferring that option over travel rewards, store promotions and introductory interest rates or bonus rewards.
Ally also found that the vast majority preferred having multiple types of accounts at one bank if they got better rewards for having those accounts. "The savviest consumers not only know what cards to pick, but how to maximize their rewards," said Morais.
In a promotional video, Morias added, "Our philosophy at Ally has always been to help people be savvy savers, and we felt it was important to develop a credit card that supports this goal."
The card has no annual fee and a tiered APR based on the cardholder's creditworthiness. This rate is 13.24, 18.24 or 23.24 percent, but that rate will take effect after the zero percent introductory APR for the account's first twelve billing cycles.
The fine print on rewards stipulates that the account needs to be in good standing; that is, not inactive for a year. If you don't use the card, make payments or carry a balance for 12 billing cycles in a row, you'll no longer be eligible to earn rewards. The rewards program is also only available to individuals--this isn't a business card, so all transactions should be typical for individuals, families or households.
If you link your cashback rewards to a qualifying Ally Bank account, you'll earn a ten percent bonus, but that bonus is based off of the amount of the reward, not the original amount spent. That means $1,000 spent on groceries nets you $20 in rewards. Linked to an Ally account, that bumps it up to $12. Other than depositing the money into another Ally account, the only other way to redeem rewards is by applying them to your credit card account as a statement credit.
Along with the introductory zero percent APR, Ally's giving a one-time bonus for new accounts to the tune of $100 if you spend $500 during the first three billing cycles you have the account. Redeeming this bonus reward has the same terms as regular cashback rewards--a deposit into an Ally account or a statement credit.
Ally has partnered with TD Bank for this offering and hopes its customers will respond. "We are confident the Ally CashBack Credit Card's rewards structure will resonate with customers, and the ten percent bonus feature for rewards deposited in an eligible Ally Bank account is consistent with our philosophy to help them maximize their savings opportunities," said Morias.