The SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card is a low APR credit card with a modest loyalty program that rewards everyday spending. The card’s purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APRs start as low as 8.49%, and its fee schedule is very forgiving: there’s no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, balance transfer fee, or cash advance fee (except at ATMs).
Before you can apply for SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card, you need to join State Department Federal Credit Union. SDFCU membership is pretty permissive. To qualify, you or an immediate relative must have some association with an affiliated organization. Some affiliates accept membership applications from the general public – for instance, anyone can join the American Consumer Council for a one-time fee of $15.
You can see the full list of affiliates at SDFCU’s membership page. The best known include:
- The U.S. Department of State
- American Citizens Abroad
- Voice of America
- The various Radio Free organizations (such as Radio Free Asia or Radio Free Europe)
- U.S. Agency for International Development
- National Association of Federal Credit Unions
If you do qualify for SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card, here’s what you need to know to get the most out of it.
Every $1 spent on this card earns 1 Flexpoint, with no caps or restrictions on how many points you can earn. Flexpoints are SDFCU’s all-purpose loyalty currency, and can also be earned on debit card purchases (1 point per $2 spent) and bill pay transactions (5 Flexpoints per transaction).
Flexpoints can be redeemed for travel, events and experiences, general merchandise, and merchant gift cards. Redemption values vary, but generally range between $0.005 and $0.008 per point. In most cases, partial redemptions are not allowed: you need to have enough points to redeem for the entire point value of the reward (for instance, 12,000 points for a $100 gift card). The sole exception concerns travel purchases, for which you can split Flexpoints and dollars as long as you have at least half the reward’s value in Flexpoints.
This card’s credit limit ranges between $500 and $100,000, depending on your creditworthiness and income – a far wider range than most consumer credit cards.
There is no introductory APR promotion. Starting from the day you open your account, the purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR ranges from 8.49% to 16.49%, depending on prevailing interest rates and your personal creditworthiness. There is no penalty APR.
There is no annual fee, balance transfer fee, or foreign transaction fee. There is no cash advance fee for in-person advances (over the counter at SDFCU branches). The fee for ATM cash advances is $3 per transaction, and the fee for late and returned payments ranges up to $25.
- No Annual Fee. SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card has no annual fee. That’s great news for light spenders who don’t earn Flexpoints fast enough to offset any recurring levy.
- Minimal Service Fees. SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card’s service fees are either very reasonable or totally nonexistent. You don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees, balance transfer fees, or cash advance fees for in-person transactions, and the cash advance fee for ATM transactions is quite reasonable (just $3, regardless of transaction size). This is a huge advantage over many competing low APR and cash back credit cards, which can charge up to 5% for balance transfers and cash advances, and up to 3% for foreign transactions.
- Potential for Very Low APR. The low end of this card’s APR range is exceedingly low – just 8.49%. What’s more, this rate applies to cash advances too, not just purchases and balance transfers. Even popular low APR cards such as Barclaycard Ring Mastercard and Chase Slate levy annual interest charges north of 10%. (See Ring’s terms and conditions for more details.) The leading cash back cards’ interest charges are typically higher than 12%. If you want the freedom to carry a balance on a rewards-bearing credit card, it’s hard to do better than SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card.
- High Credit Limits for Qualified Cardholders. This card’s credit limit ranges as high as $100,000 for qualified cardholders. That’s extremely generous – in fact, far higher than most competing consumer cards, whose limits typically stop between $10,000 and $20,000. If you’re financing a major home improvement project or have high ongoing spending needs for any other reason, this is a potentially powerful advantage.
- Need to Be an SDFCU Member to Apply. Before you can apply for this card, you need to be an SDFCU member. It’s fairly easy to qualify for SDFCU membership. However, if you’re not employed by the State Department or other affiliate organizations, you may have to pay to join an affiliate organization as a non-employee, adding to the cost of cardmembership.
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card has no sign-up bonus. That’s a bummer for new cardholders seeking a well-deserved boost to their earnings. Most fellow rewards credit cards have sign-up bonuses, however modest. For instance, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card rewards new cardholders who spend $500 within 3 months with $100 in cold, hard cash.
- No Introductory APR Promotion. This card also lacks an introductory APR promotion on purchases or balance transfers. If you’re trying to pay down high-interest balances accumulated on other credit cards, this definitely isn’t your best option.
- Mediocre Rewards Program. The Flexpoints rewards program is certainly better than nothing, but it’s not particularly generous. Every $1 you spend with this card earns 1 Flexpoint, which can then be redeemed at a rate of $0.005 to $0.008 per point – a 0.5% to 0.8% rate of return. That’s far lower than many competing rewards cards, which consistently offer 1% to 2% back on spending.
The SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card isn’t the most exciting credit product on the market. Its rewards program offers a modest rate of return, it lacks a sign-up bonus, it has no introductory APR promotion, and it has relatively few fringe benefits to entice on-the-fence applicants.
But maybe there’s something to be said for the whole boring thing. Overall, SDFCU Visa Platinum Credit Card has very low fees, and it’s hard to find an active credit card with a lower minimum APR. If you’re not dead set on juicy cash back rewards or generous fringe benefits, this might just be the credit card for you.