When first hearing about the TD Cash Rewards Card, my first thought was: who the heck is TD? I’ve never heard of them. You may not have heard of TD either, because they are actually a Canadian based bank that is now breaking into the U.S market through lending and credit card services due to mergers. They currently offer two basic cards, the TD Easy Rewards card and the TD Cash rewards card, both of which are VISA cards with no annual fee. The primary difference between the two is one uses a cash-back rewards system via statement credits and the other uses a point-based system.
Personally, I’ve always preferred cash over complicated point systems, so I choose to look into the TD Cash Rewards card. This credit card comes with a fairly basic program, which isn’t unusual for cards without an annual fee, but parts of their contract are a bit deceptive in my opinion.
Introductory terms for the TD Cash Rewards Card:
With their TD Cash Rewards Card, TD has followed the very common practice of offering a pretty sweet introductory deal. New card holders get zero percent APR for the first 12 months and a respectable 9.24 to 24.24 percent thereafter (at least the low end of the scale is respectable). This intro APR does apply to balance transfers.
For the first six months, TD Cash Rewards Card holders also gain five percent cash back rather than one, now that sounds pretty awesome right? Certainly, above standard for the industry, however, here’s where a little deception comes in. If you follow the link to the terms and conditions of that deal (hidden way down at the very bottom of the page), you’ll find it only applies to certain purchase categories defined by TD as ,”dining, grocery, gas and bill pay.” They even go on to specify bill pay must be “telephone, utility, and cable TV bills.” This would be less deceptive if those category restrictions were simply stated on their sign-up page rather than hidden in the fine print—and I mean fine print. I had to magnify their terms to read them. Now, setting aside my apprehension at any company that fails to reveal their terms all big and in my face, those are some pretty good categories honestly, probably where most of us do a lot of our spending, but I still have two qualms there.
First, sometimes charges don’t categorize properly. I have some experience with category specific rewards from my good ole Discover card. For example, I do most my shopping for groceries at Fred Meyer (Kroger), because it’s one of the only stores my town has, yet Fred Meyer does not show as a grocery store to credit cards, it’s a department store, thereby with a TD Cash Rewards card I would not be getting five percent back on my groceries. In the fine print, you’ll find this will occur with warehouse stores like Costco, discount stores, department stores, and superstores.
Second, many people don’t use their credit cards for small everyday purchases, and, at least with my bills, it would cost me extra to pay by credit card. This sweet introductory offer doesn’t apply to categories where people make large purchases or tend to use their cards the most, such as holiday shopping, big ticket merchandise purchases, online shopping, and travel. Whether shopping online or in person, whether or not you gain that five percent hinges on the merchant code the purchase is billed under, which you cannot control, nor does it apply to the generally higher bills people have—mortgage and car payments.
However, you do still earn a less impressive one percent on all of your purchases. This is also the return you would receive on all purchases after those first six billing cycles at the introductory rate. You can request a statement credit once your cash back balance has reached $25. You cannot, by the way, request a cash refund, such as you can with say, the Paypal Extras Mastercard, your reward must be received as a statement credit.
Other terms of the TD Cash Rewards Card:
The rest of the package that comes with a TD Cash Rewards Card is actually below or at industry standard and nothing too impressive with fees including:
-A three percent foreign transaction fee
-A four percent balance transfer fee
-A five percent cash advance fee at 23.24 percent interest plus a $10 additional fee
– A $39 late fee
On the upside, qualifying for a TD Cash Rewards Card isn’t too difficult. You’ll just need a credit score over 660, which makes this card obtainable for those on the lower end of the credit scale. There is a minimum credit limit of $500 and the maximum is based on your income.
You also receive Visa Signature service which includes access to exclusive events, 24-7 concierge service, free upgrades, shopping perks, coupons, and discounts. This program comes standard with all VISA signature cards, though it does add over 100 perks according to the VISA signature program page.
Who might use a TD Cash Rewards Card?
Well, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this TD Cash Rewards Card. If you have stellar credit you may score that 9.24 percent interest rate and for the first six months if you did a lot of shopping in those proper categories you could earn a decent return, but in this case, I’d rule this card a bait and switch deal. The initial offering is pretty good, the long-term not so great.
Those who already bank with TD for one reason or another may find it convenient to also carry a TD Cash Rewards Card, those who are looking for a cross-border card (America to Canada), or perhaps you just want to broaden your card portfolio, but otherwise, there are other zero interest VISA cards out there with far better rewards offerings and terms. If you have your heart set on a TD card, the cash card does have better rewards than the points version and requesting statement credits for your cash back earning is pretty simple.