Santander bank (formerly Sovereign Bank) serves mostly the Northeastern part of the United States and is also one of the largest banks in the region. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, this bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group. The bank offers a whole lot of options in credit cards such as business credit cards, student credit cards and rewards credit cards. The standout offer amongst all its credit cards is the no annual fee Santander Sphere Credit Card. A Visa card offering cardholders the opportunity to earn rewards in the form of World Points, this card is the first credit card launched after Santander Holdings acquired Sovereign bank. The card is a dual branded card, featuring the logos of both Santander and Sovereign.
The better aspects of the Santander Sphere Credit Card
The no annual fee Santander Sphere Credit Card is a rewards credit card that has been specifically designed keeping the simplicity aspect in mind. Cardholders are eligible to earn 1x points for every $1 that they spend in qualifying net retail purchases. Cardholders can redeem the accumulated points for a wide variety of things and rewards such as air travel (15,000 points), cash (2,500 points) gift cards, merchandise, dining options, groceries, gas, and travel aspects. What’s more, the qualifying travel rewards are not subject to any blackout dates. Additionally, cardholders are also eligible to earn 2x additional points for qualifying purchases for the first six months of card membership. The points accrue each month and are rounded off to the nearest whole point. The amount of points that cardholders can earn is unlimited, but the points expire after a period of five years. The premise of the Santander Sphere Credit Card is simple – simple rewards and features allowing families and individuals to focus on what is more important to them, allowing them to prioritize on their spending. The annual maximum limit on the rewards potentially earned through the rewards program is 10% cash back on all purchases (up to $100 cash back) through 31st January, 2014.
The Santander Sphere Credit Card has a host of options for the cardholders to simplify payments for them. The card offers an Introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months of the cardholders having opened their accounts. After the introductory rate and period, a standard variable APR rate of 10.99%-24.99% is applicable. The card also has a special low promotional rate of 0% on balance transfers made during the first 18 billing cycles since the account has been opened by the cardholder. Thereafter a standard and competitive variable APR rate of 10.99%-24.99% is applicable. The variable APR in both the introductory APR and the balance transfers is dependent on the account holder’s creditworthiness. This card does not have any annual fees and is an added bonus aspect in favor of the card.
The Santander Sphere Credit Card also has certain additional benefits and perks for the cardholders. The extended warranty feature on the card extends the manufacturers’/retailers’ warranty on the item bought with the card for a maximum period of one year. The zero liability and the fraud liability features of the card cover cardholders in case any unsanctioned or unapproved payments or withdrawals have been made on the card, protecting them from fraud. The purchase security feature on the card protects the cardholder in case any item bought with the card is damaged, lost or stolen. The foreign currency transaction fee on the Santander Sphere Credit Card is 3% and the balance transfer fee is 4%.
The points reward system of the Santander Sphere Credit Card clearly matches up to those of most of its competitors. For a no–fee credit card, the quality of the balance transfer payments and the 0% Intro APR benefits for a long 18 – month period are the star standouts in the offerings of the Santander Sphere Credit Card. While most providers do not provide for the inclusion of both clauses together, this card does so. Customers can find all the details of the card at http://www.ninjacredit.com/card-details/SphereVisaSignaturefromSovereignBank.php#.UvHWIvQW3Xo.
The cons of the card
Although the Santander Sphere Credit Cardhas pretty decent benefits, it does have some pretty serious downsides. Firstly, there is no sign – up bonus available with the Santander Sphere Credit Card. Its other no–annual fee peers such as Bank Americard Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Chase Freedom Credit Card and the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card have much generous sign–up offers. Secondly, the Intro APR incentive has no rewards for cardholders making timely payments, which most of the other reward credit cards usually have.
The foreign transaction fee on the Santander Sphere Credit Card is pretty high, which deters cardholders from venturing into foreign territory for a longer period of time. There are certain peers in the market offering a 0% foreign transaction fee such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Bank Americard Travel rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, and this card isn’t one of them.
The rewards system of the Santander Sphere Credit Card, although good compared to some other cards, could be much, much better. The 2x points earning system is valid only for the first 6 months, after which the cardholder will receive only 1x points for every $1 spent for the rest of the lifetime of the card. This program is a little lacking compared to cards such as the Chase sapphire Card which not only has a good rewards program but also has a lower interest rate on both balance transfers as well as APRs. Moreover, the zero liability for fraud feature on the card is something that can be found with most Visa cards, thus making the entire offering a bit lacklustre. Similarly, the Capital One Venture One Card also has a similar APR, no annual fee similar to the Santander Sphere Credit Card, but it also has a 0% interest for more than one year as well as an additional bonus reward of 10,000 miles. This makes the reward program of the Sphere Credit Card look a little lacking in certain areas.
While the Santander Sphere Credit Cardhas its perks with no blackout dates and a good entry-level reward system, the card’s offerings need to be stepped-up in order for it to get ahead in the game.