I often hate that sounding like a snake oil salesman is the only way to get someone’s attention, but in today’s ad-filled world you have to really shout to be heard. “Hey look, here’s a FREE $100 for filling out an application,” sounds like a classic case of too good to be true and makes me sound like a shady character for saying it.
The thing is though, that is essentially what is being offered right now. MBNA is so desperate for you to take their credit card that they are going to give you a $100 gift card to a place like Amazon or Best Buy (your choice) in addition to the usual “sign up perks” just for putting their credit card in your wallet. No minimum purchase necessary and there is definitely NO Annual Fee (I triple-checked just to make sure).
For the next few days these guys are trying to make a big splash and are willing to give away $100 (that I plan to turn around and use on the Amazon Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals) AND 5% cash back on grocery and gas purchases for the first six months. Personally, I spend about $400 a month on groceries and another $200 on gas. That means that over the course of the next six months, I’ll save myself another $180 just by buying stuff I would have bought anyway.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take $280 if MBNA wants to give it to me.
How We Plan to Let MBNA Pay for Our Christmas Gifts
I’ll be honest, after those first six months are up, this credit card isn’t anything special. In fact, I’ll switch right back to using my Aspire World Travel Card (and I’ll continue to use that one for anything that isn’t gas or groceries). I just have a hard time turning down a FREE $280! I recommended my fiancée sign up for one as well, so that between us, the sign up perks on the cards will basically pay for our Christmas shopping. (Granted, we aren’t big gift people since we’re relatively young and living on a bit of a tight budget.)
If you’ve been around here for a while you know we don’t usually promote stuff like this. We refuse to push stuff that we don’t use ourselves. When I say, “I signed both my fiancée and I up,” I don’t mean that in some abstract metaphorical sense. I mean that yesterday I saw this offer pop up in my inbox, clicked through, and less than ten minutes later my fiancée and I were signed up. Since we both hate the mall (who doesn’t this time of year?) we’ll both request Amazon gift cards when we get the confirmation email in the next couple of days.
After the Honeymoon Period… Well Some Things Just Aren’t Meant to Be
I should reiterate that this credit card isn’t particularly special after the first six months. It isn’t bad – I mean getting 2% cash back on gas and groceries and 1% cash back on all of your other purchases is decent and competitive – especially for a no-annual-fee card. I just prefer the one I currently use if I’m not getting a ridiculous introductory rate of 5% cash back on essentials that I would be buying anyway.
My plan is basically to let the card sit in my wallet for a while after the initial six months are up. It’s not great for your credit rating to cancel credit cards right after getting them, and since it doesn’t cost me anything to keep it, I won’t rush into doing anything drastic.
How Will This Affect My Credit Rating and Debt Situation?
In fact, since my fiancée and I only have one credit card each, getting approved for this one should actually help our credit rating (assuming we don’t do anything dumb like forget a payment or anything). Having 10+ cards with various balances on them might hurt your credit rating, but simply having one other open line of credit will just lower the overall percentage of the credit available to you that you are using. Consequently, it should actually help your credit score if anything.
The card also has some low balance transfer stuff if you want to mess around with that, but there are better cards out there if you’re doing the debt-shuffling thing. This card does charge 19.99% annual interest – which I don’t care about because I ALWAYS pay my credit card balance – but if you are carrying a balance disregard this offer and go do something about paying off that credit card before you do anything else!
Instant Stress-Free Holiday Shopping!
Enjoy your free holiday shopping courtesy of MBNA and Mastercard this year. Ten minutes of time filling out applications and then using our gift cards to ship our presents right to our doorstep has got to be the least stressful Christmas shopping experience I’ve ever been a part of!
P.S. – Just got two confirmation emails (one for my fiancée) two days after originally writing this post. Quick and painless. Apparently MBNA is so certain that specific types will carry large balances on their card, they’re willing to give people like you and me a few hundred bucks for FREE!