Did you know that the AT&T MasterCard was one of the first no fee reward cards in existence? It hasn’t aged gracefully…
Back in 1992 when this card came out, it was considered groundbreaking because it was a major credit card that gave rewards and promised “no annual fee for life.” Not only have they since backpedaled on that promise, but their rewards program is also outdated by about 20 years!
If you currently have the AT&T credit card, then you should cancel your account immediately. Here’s why you are getting rotten deal…
The rewards are a total joke
There are two credit cards from AT&T. At first glance they sound appealing…
But the “up to” part comes with a lot of fine print. Here’s how these cards really work…
1st card: AT&T Universal Savings Platinum
- Only 0.5% on the first $250.00 spent each month
- Only 1.0% on spending between $250 and $750 each month
- Only 1.5% on monthly spending which exceeds $750
So let’s say you spend $1,000 this month. This is what you would have earned…
0.005 x 250 = $1.25
0.01 x 500 = $5.00
0.015 x 250 = $3.75
Total = $10 and that equals 1.0% rewards
Conclusion? This program really only benefits the big spenders who are making several thousand dollars per month in purchases. If you’re only spend $1,000 or less per month, your rewards will never be above 1% (you can get that anywhere, so that’s nothing special).
And whether you are a small or large spender, wouldn’t it just be simpler to go with the Capital One Cash Rewards card?
2nd card: AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards
Between the two, this one is probably better but it still is a lousy deal and I’ll show you why…
- 5% savings on eligible AT&T product and services. The 10% only applies to the first year.
- To get the 5% savings your AT&T spending must match the amount you spend on other purchases (so you can’t just use this card solely for paying your AT&T bills).
- Your yearly AT&T savings is capped at $350 per year. That’s a high enough cap for families, but might not be sufficient if you run a small business.
- You earn 1 ThankYou Point per dollar on other purchases. That equals out to be a max of 1% value.
Conclusion? Basically this is a card that earns you 1% on regular spending and 5% on AT&T purchases.
This is a bad deal because there are better credit cards like the Chase Ink that give 5% cash back (or 5x points) on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. Yes, the Ink is a business card, but you can still apply as a sole proprietor using your Social Security number. That card is a better option than restricting yourself to AT&T only.
To make matters worse, it’s light on benefits
There are some cards that have lackluster rewards, but they make up for it in the form of lucrative benefits. Unfortunately, the credit cards by AT&T offer almost no noteworthy benefits. When I go to the application here’s what I see listed:
- $0 Liability on unauthorized charges
- Mobile service including customized notifications and a pre-loaded account management application
- Online Services at universalcard.com, including account management, statements, and faster payments.
Umm… really? So you’re telling me that AT&T’s credit card login for online payments/management is the biggest thing they can boast about? Doesn’t every credit card offer that nowadays?!
Today there are many no annual fee cards offer concierge service, purchase protection, and other perks. But apparently this one doesn’t. You would be better off with one of Citi’s other cards, like the ThankYou Preferred or ThankYou Premier.
It obviously sucks. So why do people still use it?
Even their balance transfer offers are lousy, so there’s only one logical reason I can think of as to why the AT&T MasterCard has survived… legacy users. There are lot of long time cardholders who are still holding onto it. They might not be aware of the fact that there are much better cards on the market right now, that will give a lot more value.