Simmons First Visa Platinum Credit Card Review 2013

Be warned, these low APRs come with a high hurdle…

Simmons First Visa PlatinumSimmons First National Bank is one of the oldest in America. Their first location in Pine Bluff, Arkansas was opened nearly a hundred years ago in 1903. Today they operate in 47 different communities in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri.

Despite being just a regional bank, during the last few years the Simmons First credit card offers have gotten a lot of praise by the national media. You can apply for them wherever you live (even if it’s outside those states) but should you?

Here’s a peek at the pros and cons, the latter of which I have not seen covered much by the media. This review will mostly focus on the Simmons First Visa Platinum since those are their most popular cards, but we’ll talk about the others, too.

Pros

Low Interest Rates: The most talked about feature of their credit cards is the low rates they offer. As I write this review here are the APRs to give you an idea:

  • Visa Platinum card: variable 7.25%
  • Visa Classic & Gold Select: variable 10.25%
  • Visa Platinum Travel Rewards card: 9.25%

In today’s economy and the post-reform era of credit cards, they are definitely on the low end for a standard purchase APR.

No Annual Fees: None of their cards have an annual fee. However there is a “Membership Fee” for the Travel Rewards credit card which we will discuss in a moment.

Rewards: One of the cards give rewards: Simmons First Visa Platinum Travel Rewards. The program gives 1 point per dollar spent. When 10,000 or 20,000 points is redeemed, the value for airfare is only $0.01/point (so basically 1% cash back). However if a bigger chunk of points is redeemed it’s possible to do better than 1%. For example, a coach class ticket from the U.S. (48 states) to Europe is 50,000 points, but the price of the ticket can be up to $1,000.

Cons

Extremely Difficult Approval Process: Without a doubt, the most common complaint is the approval process… the Simmons First credit card application is only the first step (which by the way, is a whopping 4 pages of questions). They don’t go just by credit score but rather the whole picture. You will have to prove your income by faxing/mailing your latest pay stubs and even a utility bill. To say this bank is conservative would be an understatement. Many people with stellar FICO scores (near 800 and even above) have reported getting denied.

Customer Service Drawbacks: The call centers are US-based (in Arkansas) which is a huge plus but there are some drawbacks. For starters, while writing this credit card review I called customer service and had to wait a few minutes before I could speak with someone. When I finally a got a rep on the line, she was an extremely sweet Southern lady whom was very polite and helpful, but I have read comments by customers who are not pleased with the service quality. However in all fairness, on the other hand I have read reviews saying the opposite, so the quality seems to be a mixed bag.

Undisclosed Membership Fee For Travel Rewards: I think this is a bit deceiving, because if you go on the bank’s website and look at the credit cards section, there is a table showing the cards and in the “Annual Fee” column all of them list $0.  It wasn’t until hearing from a customer that I discovered the Simmons First Travel Rewards credit card charges a $25 membership fee. The rep I spoke to confirmed this. I also let her know that they really should be disclosing that on the fee table!

Verdict?

Overall, I would say the credit cards from Simmons First National Bank are only a good deal for the standard APRs. But given the fact that you have to jump through a bunch of hoops and have stellar credit to get approved, I’m not sure they’re worth pursuing.

The rates of 7.25% to 10.25% are great for a standard APR, but that applies to both purchases and balance transfers. Personally, I believe it’s smarter (and definitely saves more money) by using 0% offers instead, since many of them give 0% for on both purchases and balance transfers.

This review was updated for 2013

 
Comments
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

I have to get rid of this card as soon as I can and I recommend people don’t even think of getting one. They have bad customer service, you could not hear any expression and smiling in the conservation, manners are as cold as hell. They don’t work on Sat & Sun, so if you get your credit stolen, they will ask you to call back Mon thru Friday while the card theft spent your card for good time all weekend long. I disputed so it was hold for investigation, asked them to send me a statement excluded all fraud amounts as to reveal the total of my purchases. I’ve been awaiting a bit long, so I called again. They claimed that they sent out one which took very long time to arrive. However they charged me late fee & interest. So I called them again but they claimed that I have to pay for late payment & interest regardless of when I received that statement. I have to pay for the mistake that they made ? There are many good credit cards around, don’t look at the APR only. It doesn’t worth it. It costs you more than you think.

I have been an out-of-state Simmons cr crd customer for 30 yrs. I got the card in the first place because it had the best rates in the country 30 yrs ago – still does, doesn’t change. I’ve used autopay for a long time and it’s worked well. When it didn’t they fixed it. The online technology has always been, extremely, behind the curve – it’s a regional bank. Customer srvc, however, imo, doesn’t get any better! With VERY minor exceptions, I haven’t been chrged fees, they have reversed fees where I’ve pushed back. When I went thru financial difficulties, I was treated with the same courtesy and respect as when I was charging thousands a month; and like others have said, when there is a problem, you talk to real ppl. And I still had one of the best rate cr crds in the country. My only problem ever was a cultural one; they wanted to make my husband the ‘primary’ when I added him to MY card … oh well, that was 25+ yrs ago and no one’s perfect. I highly recommend Simmons cr crds.

Have to agree that they are slow to process payments, and they are quick to slap on a late fee (don’t count on customer service to reverse this, even if you’re a good customer — they say it’s the bank’s fault). I pay electronically through my Chase account, and even though it says payment will be delivered in 1 day, it is not posted at Simmons that quickly. In my last bill, payment was due on April 1, I deliberately set it up for Chase to deliver electronically on March 26, and in my statement, it shows it didn’t post until March 31. Why does it take five days to post an electronic payment? Customer service is NO help. Would not recommend this card to anyone.

Because they are not major banks in the network and they communicate much with the outside world

brian rothenberger

They are slow processing payments and that can generate more late fees. Beware!

Anyone thinking of signing up with Simmons First for a credit card, be careful about ELECTRONIC STATEMENT NOTIFICATIONS. THEY DON’T SEND THEM. I never had a late credit card payment in my life; and have a FICO score of over 800. I realized today that I thought I had an open bill with them…it was due yesterday. so they charged me $10 in late fees.

I call ‘no customer service’ and they told me the notices must have gone to my spam. Nope…I check my spam mail to be sure nothing gets in there that should be regular mail. I’ve stopped electronic statements and will now get a paper bill…but won’t be using their card much any longer….maybe $5 here and there just to keep the credit line.

I cancelled the card for good. I am not going to pay the late fee & interest when I keep calling for the statement that came in late.