I wasn’t even aware the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had their own credit card until someone mentioned it in another discussion on here. So should you apply for the Teamsters MasterCard? Well, review the good and bad to decide for yourself…
U.S. Based Customer Service – These days many credit cards give overseas customer service. However the Teamsters credit card has made a commitment to only have U.S. call reps 24/7.
Accident Insurance – This is a unique benefit provided by the IBT. As a cardholder you get $10k of workplace and $2k of all-accident protection. Of course these limits aren’t very high in this day and age, but if you want you can buy additional coverage of up to $200k more. Either way, the first $10k is free.
No Rewards Program – I reviewed everything on the card’s website and didn’t see any mention of rewards or cash back, so I called up customer service and they confirmed it: there are no rewards on spending.
The phone rep at HSBC (who yes, was an American and very nice to me) said there is a tiered rewards program for spending on gas/grocery/drugstore but it is an invite-only offer. You can’t apply for it unless HSBC/Teamsters decides to send you an application in the mail.
Mediocre APRs – The interest rates aren’t a ripoff, but they’re not the bargain I was expecting either. Depending on your credit score and history, you will get either 14.99%, 16.99%, or 19.99%.
Lack of Benefits – Not only is there no rewards program, but there’s not much when it comes to benefits, either. The phone rep told me it’s just a basic MasterCard so there are no bells and whistles with it. I would have expected to see credit card perks like this but as it currently stands, they’re not giving you purchase benefits like free extended warranties and protection.
Low Minimum Credit Limit – The rep told me the minimum credit limit is only $500. Obviously though if you have good credit, you will end up with a limit significantly higher than that.
I was really expecting a lot more with this credit card from Teamsters. Is that really the best they can do for a labor union of 1.4 million members? When even the basic credit card nowadays gives you at least 1% rewards, then why does this one give you nothing?!
The Teamsters and HSBC really need to up the ante with this – because as it stands now – this credit card is doing a disservice to members.
If you want something better check these out…
- If you want rewards then try your hand at the Freedom card and its 5% cash back.
- If you want fuel discounts get a card that saves money on gas.
Written or last updated for Jan 2013