Their website claims this is can be an “essential addition” to your wallet:
It might be a better idea to subtract it from your wallet.
There are 5 things about the Nationwide Bank Visa you need to know about.
4 of these things are bad news, however, it does have 1 redeeming quality. Review for yourself…
1. The rewards system is subpar
There are literally over a thousand different credit cards available in the US which offer a rewards value of 1% or higher. Nationwide being one of them… their card gives you a flat 1% cash back.
No bonus categories. No options for converting your cash back to higher value gift cards (like Discover and Chase offer). They’re just giving you a flat 1%.
So if it’s just 1%, why would you choose them over the 1,000+ other cards on the market that offer the same rewards value or better?
2. Short 0% intro APR on new accounts
Not every credit card will give you 0% on purchases and/or balance transfers, but many of them will. Among them, in 2013, you can find offers that give 0% for as long as 12, 15, and even up to 18 months.
But if you go with the Nationwide Bank credit card, you’re only getting a measly 6 months.
3. No signup bonus
I’m not saying you should choose a card based solely on a signup bonus. But these days, many major banks offer points or other rewards worth $100 (maybe even higher) on some cards.
Apparently, Nationwide Bank isn’t one of them.
If you fill out an application and are approved, you won’t get any kind of bonus whatsoever.
Now some cards with stellar reward programs can get away with that. Take the 5% cash back card, Discover It. Launched a year ago and there’s never been a bonus offer for it. Yet it still remains one of the most popular choices on CreditCardForum because of its alluring rewards program.
On the other hand, the plain Jane 1% you get from the Nationwide credit card… that’s not exactly special enough to garner the same appeal on its own, right?
4. It’s a lower-tiered Visa
I remember when I was a kid, a gold credit card meant you had great credit and platinum meant you had money to burn.
Of course nowadays, you could be on welfare or recently bankrupt and still probably qualify for a platinum card from somewhere. Even many college student cards now brandish the platinum Visa logo.
Today, the higher tier of Visa is called the Signature. Most mid to high end cards will be either a Visa Signature or the comparable World MasterCard.
But not Nationwide Bank. Their Visa is just a plain ol’ platinum. That means you will only be getting the basic benefits from Visa. You won’t get concierge, purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, and other perks that come on the Signature tier.
So let’s do the math…
low rewards + low benefits + no signup bonus = no reason to have it?
Well, there might be one reason to keep it around, which brings us to the #5 thing…
5. Promotional financing on auto repairs
Now in defense of Nationwide, this is a pretty cool benefit that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
As touched on above, many cards give a 0% intro APR. But after that, you’re typically stuck with the regular APR for everything you buy.
With the Nationwide card, you can get 0% for 12 months on auto repairs and maintenance, regardless of how old or new your account is. Even if you’ve already had their credit card for years, you still get this perk.
I called up their customer service to find out how it works. I was skeptical. My guess was that only certain auto repair shops would count, like ones they’re partnered with.
That’s not how it works.
You can go to virtually anywhere you want for the auto repairs. There is a catch though and that is they have to be categorizes under Visa’s merchant code for service stations.
I could see there being a grey area for this.
How about gas stations that also do auto repairs? Is their assigned merchant code for a gas station or a service station?
How about auto part stores that might also do repairs. Are they coded as being an auto parts retailer or a service station?
How about getting service from the car dealer? Does their category fall under car dealership or service station?
Before assuming that you’re definitely going to get 0% for 12 months, I would be sure and talk with Nationwide’s customer service ahead of time regarding the merchant you plan on going to for service/repairs.
If they tell you a given place will qualify, ask them to notate your account in advance with the merchant name and location. That *might* give you some recourse if the merchant code ends up being different than what you expected.
For everything else you buy? Use a different card that gives you better rewards!
This review was written or last updated June 28th, 2013