To meet all of its clients' financial needs, it makes sense that financial advisory firm Edward Jones issues its own co-branded MasterCard (NYSE:MA) credit cards. The cards offer competitive rewards and interest rates, but is there any reason for consumers to choose them over the competition?
The cards and benefits
The Edward Jones credit card comes in both personal and business varieties.
For personal cards, customers have a choice between two products. For customers who plan to carry a balance or want to transfer balances, the Edward Jones World MasterCard has a low interest rate (12.99% variable) and allows customers to earn one reward point per dollar spent. There is also a pretty generous welcome offer of 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on the card within 90 days. Perhaps the best benefit is a 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months, and no fees (this part is rare) on balances transferred within 30 days of account opening. Even the most generous 0% APR balance transfer offers generally come with a 3% transfer fee attached.
Or, for customers who don't carry a balance, there is the Edward Jones World Plus MasterCard. This one charges higher interest (14.99%-25.99%) but earns rewards at a faster rate. Customers earn 1.5 reward points per dollar for their first $20,000 in charges each year, and two points per dollar thereafter.
Finally, the Business Plus MasterCard has the same balance transfer and introductory offer as the World MasterCard and the same earnings rate as the World Plus variety.
All three cards have no annual fee, and points can be redeemed for cash back, travel rewards, or gift cards, or they can be used to deposit directly into the customer's Edward Jones account.
What about the competition?
The World MasterCard brand is offered by several credit card issuers, so let's see how some of the competition stacks up.
USAA offers two varieties of World MasterCards, and the Cash Rewards World MasterCard has the potential for slightly lower interest (as low as 9.9%) and lets members earn up to 1.25% cash back on purchases. However, there is no similar welcome bonus or balance transfer offer advertised.
For travelers, Barclays offers the Arrival World MasterCard, which has a better sign-up bonus of 20,000 bonus miles with $1,000 in spend. It has a 0% APR deal on balance transfers but doesn't waive the balance transfer fee.
Finally, the Ameriprise World MasterCard is perhaps the best direct comparison to Edward Jones and offers similar rewards and benefits. The 10,000-bonus-point offer is a little easier to get -- it kicks in after just $500 in spending, and points have a better redemption value (1.25%) when used to invest in an Ameriprise account.
Of course, there are many other credit cards that aren't World MasterCard products, but to get significantly better benefits than those listed here, it generally requires an annual fee. For purposes of this comparison, I'm only considering "no annual fee" credit cards.
Stands out in two ways
In my mind, there are two ways that the Edward Jones credit card products stand out from their competition.
First, while a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers is relatively common, the 0% fee that Edward Jones offers is not. And most of those that do offer no-fee balance transfers, like the excellent Chase Slate card, don't offer the potential to earn rewards. This benefit can potentially save cardholders lots of money and definitely sets Edward Jones apart from its competitors.
Finally, the Edward Jones credit card is a good option for people who want to boost their retirement savings but who struggle to find the cash (or motivation) to set money aside. It's similar to one of those bank accounts that rounds up your transactions to the nearest dollar and puts the change into a savings account. You'll accumulate rewards a little at a time, but it could add up to a nice amount of money over time.
The combination of these two features makes the Edward Jones credit card lineup worthy of consideration, either for existing Edward Jones clients or consumers with balances to transfer who may also want to increase their retirement savings.