There was a Clark gas station in the Midwest town I grew up, but you don’t see them everywhere. If there happens to be locations in your area, then you definitely will want to check out the new Clark MasterCard.
Simply put, this is one of the best gas station credit cards on the market. Review for yourself.
However the Clark credit card still pays a high rebate of 4% (at Clark and Crown gas stations). That’s like saving 16 cents/gallon when the price of fuel is $4.00.
It’s a major credit card – Most gas cards suck because they are not affiliated with Visa/MC/AmEx/Discover so you cannot use them anywhere except for the station. The nice thing about the Clark card is that you can use it for purchases elsewhere since it’s a MasterCard (1% cash back rewards outside of their stations).
The issuer is respectable – This card is issued and managed by First National Bank of Omaha. They have a better reputation than most store card issuers.
The interest rates aren’t bad – At the start of 2013 the application listed the variable APR as being either 13.99%, 15.99%, or 17.99% based on creditworthiness. These are fairly reasonable.
There’s no annual fee – Okay this isn’t that special, but still worth mentioning.
There’s not a good signup bonus – When I was looking at the card’s application, there wasn’t any promotion for signing up. Obviously that could change at anytime – but if they’re not offering one – then you may want to check out other cards with signup bonus offers of $100 to $400.
You’re restricted to one brand of gas – A drawback with a station-branded credit card is that you only get the fuel rewards when filling up at their stations. So don’t expect the 4% cash back if you use your Clark gas card at say, Shell, Speedway, or anywhere else.
If your local Clark location always has the cheapest price then this won’t be a problem. But if not, the true value of your rewards could end up being less, relative to buying elsewhere (if someone else is selling for a lower price per gallon).
The 4% cash back is capped – Not surprisingly, there is a cap on how much fuel you can buy that will qualify for the high rewards… you can earn a max of 5,000 points per billing cycle.
5000 ÷ 4 = $1,250. So you can spend up to $1,250 per month at Clark/Crown stations and you will earn 4% on it.
Even though this is listed in the “cons” category I think most people would agree this threshold is plenty high for most drivers. The only people I could see maxing out would be truck drivers or folks with fleets of business vehicles.
Average benefits – Even though it’s technically called the Clark Platinum MasterCard, don’t let the name fool you… these days a “platinum” Visa or MasterCard in and of itself doesn’t mean much. In fact, there are now higher levels such as a the Visa Signature and World MasterCard.
What does this mean? The reason to apply for a Clark credit card is to get the rewards. Don’t apply just for the benefits, because those are just average.
Verdict for 2013?
Most gas station branded cards are a bad deal… but not this one! The Clark gas credit card has one of the best programs out there for being station-affiliated. I gladly give it my stamp of approval!
On the other hand, if you would prefer a card that gives you gas rewards at every station (regardless of brand) here are some good fuel rebate credit cards to check out.