By Marcy Bialeschki


5 Min. To Read

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As far as credit cards go, TRIO MasterCard by Fifth Third Bank is a newcomer who is worth a look. It has an attractive introductory balance transfer incentive and a respectable rewards program that puts it in the game. Some people would argue, however, that what it has to offer leaves it short of reaching the Big Leagues.

The TRIO MasterCard offers 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. It also offers new customers a $100 cash back bonus if they spend $1000 in the first 90 days after opening the account. This sign-on bonus is modest but a pleasant perk since some others in its category have no sign-on bonus at all. After the initial grace period for balance transfers, the APR rises to a competitive 13.99% - 22.99% variable. Be advised, however. Even though the TRIO MasterCard by Fifth Third Bank has a 0% balance transfer APR initially, cardholders will be charged a 4% or $5 minimum balance transfer fee per transfer. It is standard for a balance transfer card to charge a fee, but the 4% sits a little higher than most of its competition.

In addition to the alluring balance transfer option, this card is serious about cash back rewards. Card owners can earn 3% at restaurants; 2% at gas stations, grocery stores & drug stores; and 1% everywhere else. Cash back accumulates in quarterly periods with a $1500 cap on all categories combined. Other category credit cards have a similar cap amount for each category. People who spend more in these categories might consider an alternate card with a higher cap for maximum rewards. However, for people who do not spend as much, the TRIO card is a decent option.

It's always nice when a credit card's reward system is uncomplicated. MasterCard makes redeeming your rewards from the TRIO card effortless with several cash back options. TRIO cardholders can enjoy unlimited cash back rewards directly deposited into a checking or savings account. Other options include gift cards and merchandise. Your TRIO cash back rewards can even be used as travel rewards when you book your flight through MasterCard's self-booking tool and use your TRIO MasterCard to pay. The rewards you earn can be used on your flight, hotel, or rental car. The TRIO card also lets you redeem your rewards on specialty sporting events and entertainment, as well as exceptional culinary experiences, provided through MasterCard.

Now that the alluring features of the card have been discussed, what about the basic features? Are they competitive? I would say they are certainly in the ballpark.

No Annual Fee: Not having to pay for your card is always a welcome feature.

$40 Maximum Late Fee: This amount is relatively standard among similar cards.

Competitive Purchase APR: At 13.99% - 22.99%, the TRIO card can hold its own as far as interest rates go.

Cash Advance Fee: There is a 3% or $10 minimum cash advance fee, which is pretty standard.

$0 Fraud Liability: Most credit cards protect their owners from unauthorized purchases, and the MasterCard TRIO by Fifth Third Bank is no exception. You will never be held responsible for unauthorized purchases.

No Foreign Transaction Fee: This feature is becoming more and more standard on luxury credit cards. It is a nice touch on a card that is not considered a travel card.

As always, MasterCard does a great job of protecting their customers. The TRIO card is equipped with MasterCard Identity Theft Protection, which helps customers recover from the devastation of Identity Theft.

The TRIO MasterCard card also has mobile pay, which keeps your wallet out of sight and protected. MasterCard provides cardholders with three ways to pay through Digital Wallet Solutions: Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. MasterCard offers three tiers of protection, including a faux card number that is attached to your actual card number, keeping your account number private. The Digital Wallet Solutions feature on your MasterCard TRIO card makes your card-less purchases not only easy but safe.

Comparatively, the TRIO card has more going for it than most balance transfer cards. After the introductory APR for balance transfers is over, the cash back rewards continue to provide card owners with perks. However, the all-inclusive cap on the quarterly categories puts the breaks on its rewards earning power. Still, people who do not have high expenses in these categories will benefit from these earnings.

The home run for this card is the balance transfer option. If you have a balance on a higher APR card that you feel you can pay off in the 0% APR period, you can start paying down some debt. The forgiving APR after the 12 billing cycles is also attractive, especially if the card you transfer has a significantly higher APR.

Depending on what you need in a credit card, the MasterCard TRIO card could be a reasonable option. Here’s a review of what the MasterCard TRIO card has to offer:

$0 Annual Fee

0% APR on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles

$100 cash back incentive for $1000 in purchases in the first 90 days

Relatively low APR

No initial 0% APR for purchases for new customers

The Balance Transfer offer will still charge a relatively high 4% or $5 minimum fee for each balance transfer

The $1500 quarterly cash back cap covers all categories, unlike some cards that have a similar cap per category.

The TRIO card might not have the availability of similar cards. Some potential customers reported not being able to get the card in their area.

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