Review of NEA Credit Cards

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If you are in the field of education or are a student who is enrolled in a program preparing you for a career in education you may be a member of the National Education Association (NEA).  The NEA is the nation’s largest professional employee organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. There are a few credit card options for members of the NEA, including those that come with rewards. The credit card program has been developed for NEA members and their eligible family members, including parents, spouses or domestic partners, and children. There are currently four different options if you want to carry NEA-branded plastic. Those include three MasterCard credit cards issued through Bank of America and an American Express rewards card. None of the cards charge an annual fee.

Please note: Because NEA memberships are individually managed by your respective state affiliate office you’ll need to contact that local affiliate to find out more about joining the NEA and membership fees.

NEA Credit Cards

  • NEA RateSmart MasterCard This card is a very basic card, perhaps for the first time credit card owner. It does not come with a rewards program, but you will pay 0% in interest for the first 7 months on purchases and balance transfers.
  • NEA Credit Card with RewardsThis card is forthose who want to transfer a high-rate balance, enjoy 0% interest on payments for first 7 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The fee to transfer a balance is only 1%, which is 2% less than the typical industry standard. You can also qualify for a $100 statement credit if you use your new credit card account to make any combination of purchase, balance transfer or cash advance transactions totaling at least $500 within 90 days of the account open date. Additionally, cardmembers will earn 1 point per dollar of new net purchases.
  • NEA Cash Rewards CardThis card will appeal to those who are interested in a more robust rewards program. Cardholders will earn 1% cash back everywhere, plus 2% at grocery stores and 3% at gas stations, up to the first $1,500 in combined purchases in both categories each quarter. Receive a $100 gift card to Target stores by spending at least $500 with the card within 90 days of the account open date.
  • NEA Accelerated Rewards American Express CardThis card comes with the brand status and high level of customer service that Amex provides. There are no bonus rewards on certain categories of purchases, but you will earn 1.25 points per $1 spent on this card on all purchases.

 

  NEA RateSmart Card NEA Credit Card with Rewards NEA Cash Rewards NEA Accelerated Rewards by AMEX
0% Intro APR on Purchases First 7 Months First 7 Months First 12 Months First 12 Months
On-going APR on Purchases 9.99%, 13.99%, 16.99% 11.99% or 16.99% 12.99%-22.99% 12.99%-22.99%
0% Intro APR on B/T First 7 Months First 7 Months First 12 Months First 12 Months
On-going APR on B/T 9.99%, 13.99%, 16.99% 11.99% or 16.99% 12.99%-22.99% 12.99%-22.99%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 4% per transaction $5 or 3% per transaction $10 or 3% per transaction $10 or 3% per transaction
B/T Fee $10 or 4% per transaction $5 or 3% per transaction $10 or 3% per transaction $10 or 3% per transaction
Foreign Transaction Fee 3% per transaction 1% per transaction 3% per transaction 1% per transaction
Annual Fee $0 $0 $0 $0
Rewards Rate N/A 1 Point per $1 Spent 1% per $1 Spent 1.25 Points per $1 Spent
Bonus Category Rewards N/A N/A 3% on Gas; 2% at Grocery Stores N/A
New Cardmember Bonus N/A $100 Statement Credit* $100 Target GiftCard* N/A

Reward Program Details

The only card not offering rewards is the NEA RateSmart MasterCard. Both the NEA Credit Card with Rewards (terrible name by the way) and the NEA Accelerated Rewards American Express Card allows cardholders to redeem their rewards as cash, as gift cards or travel rewards. There is no limit to how many points you can earn, there are no blackout dates on travel, and you can use your rewards on any airline you choose. Rewards can be redeemed once you have earned at least 2,500 points and you can redeem for a gift card with as few as 3,500 points. Points do expire, however, 5 years from the end of the month in which they were earned – so mark your calendar and use them before then.

Cardholders are entitled to free general admission (the first weekend of every month) to more than 150 museums through their “Museums on Us” Program. Card membership also includes MyConcierge service, which provides you with customized services such as dining arrangements and reservations, gifts and personal shopping, tickets to sporting events, concerts and shows, unique transportation, and more.

The NEA Cash Rewards Card differs from the above two rewards cards because these rewards never expire and there’s no cap on how many you can earn.Additionally, cardholders don’t have the freedom to redeem cash rewards in other ways such as in the form of a gift card. Cash rewards are issued in a U.S. dollar sum amount by check (checks expire after 90 days of issuance), electronic deposit, as a contribution to a Merrill Lynch Cash Management account, or as a statement credit. Rewards can be redeemed at a minimum of $25and you can also opt-in for automatic redemption.

Bottom Line

Paired up with Bank of America and American Express I think the NEA has a nice line of credit cards to choose from. These products seem to appeal nicely to the first time credit card owner, the balance transfer saver, the everyday spender, and the individual who really wants to earn rewards or points on all purchases, everyday.

If you’re strictly looking for a card in order to transfer a balance, I would suggest the NEA Cash Rewards or the NEA Accelerated Rewards American Express Card since they come with the longest 0% intro APR period. For those who like to travel overseas often, I would consider the NEA Credit Card with Rewards or the NEA Accelerated Rewards American Express Card because both of them charge only 1% per transaction, although they are other cards on the market that charge no foreign transaction fees. If new cardmember bonuses appeals to you, you will want to consider the NEA Credit Card with Rewards or the NEA Cash Rewards. Both come with a $100 bonus (as a statement credit or Target giftcard, respectively) after making $500 in purchases on the card in the first 90 days of card membership. Just note that returns, fees, and adjustments are excluded from this amount.

*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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