For 2013 The Farm Bureau Credit Card Is Not Competitive

As someone who was born and raised in a rural agricultural community in Michigan, I’m quite familiar with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The AFBF? They’re good! But the Farm Bureau Bank credit cards? They’re not the best!

And you may be surprised to learn that they aren’t even the issuer. Barclaycard (a subsidiary of the UK bank, Barclays) is actually who issues them. Farm Bureau basically slaps their name and logo on them.

Now there’s nothing wrong with Barclaycard. In fact they’re a good credit card company. But I only mention this to make this point: you are actually applying for a card issued by someone else.
And if you’re going to go with someone else, you might as well go with whoever has the best offer. Unfortunately, these two cards in particular aren’t the best in my opinion and I’ll explain why.

Version 1: Farm Bureau MasterCard Rewards

Simply put, this rewards program is not competitive. The application lists the following:

  • 1 point per dollar on purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on purchases of dining, travel, and qualifying transactions at these participating Farm Bureau partners:

participating partners

Of course even if you do business with one of these partners, it’s not like you can buy much from them other than perhaps your vehicle insurance policy. If they accept credit card payments for those, then they could earn double points.

2x on dining and travel are a nice touch, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also gives double points in those same categories. The difference? Chase’s points are lot more useful!

Meanwhile 1 point per dollar on other purchase is pretty typically these days. So that in and of itself is not a good reason to apply.

With rewards redemption, your Farm Bureau credit card points are only worth 1 cent each when redeemed for a statement credit. That means it’s basically only earning you 1% normally, 2% on a couple categories. There are better programs out there like this:

Version 2: Farm Bureau Platinum MasterCard

There was a time when having a “platinum” level card actually meant something. These days, it doesn’t with Visa or MasterCard. In fact, now platinum is only a mid-tier card, as there are higher levels above it (like Visa Signature and World MasterCard).

This is definitely the worst credit card from Farm Bureau Bank and I do not recommend it under any circumstance.

The first drawback is that it doesn’t offer any type of rewards programs. The so-called benefits they list like zero liability for unauthorized purchases and 24/7 online account management are included on practically every major credit card nowadays.

The second drawback is the APR. Since you’re not getting it for rewards, the only other reason to apply would be for financing purposes. But this is hardly a compelling argument for that:

interest rate table

Worse yet, there is no 0% introductory rate for purchases. The 0% on balance transfers is only good for the first 12 months, which is shorter than the 14 to 18 months that many other cards are currently offering.

Conclusion? You can do better elsewhere for 2014

As I said at the start, since these cards aren’t actually issued or managed by Farm Bureau Bank, you don’t need to feel compelled to go with them for loyalty purposes. Remember when you call up the customer service number on the back of the card you are not even talking to Farm Bureau, but rather the other bank who manages the accounts.

This review was written or last updated November 15, 2013

 
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