Dawn Of The Neobank: The Fintechs Trying To Kill The Corner Bank

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The sky is the limit,” gushes MoneyLion founder and CEO Dee Choubey as he strolls into Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, the oak and ash trees turning color in the October sunshine.

Choubey, 38, is taking a midday constitutional from MoneyLion’s cramped offices in the Flatiron District, where 65 people labor to reinvent retail banking for the app generation. He ticks off a couple businesses he looks up to—ones that have fundamentally changed the way money flows around the world—putting his ambitions for his six-year-old startup into sharp relief. “PayPal,” he says. “Square.” Two companies worth a combined $150 billion.

“The promise of MoneyLion is to be the wealth manager, the private bank for the $50,000 household,” Choubey says.

At last count, MoneyLion’s app had 5.7 million users, up from 3 million a year ago, and a million of those are paying customers. Those people, many from places like Texas and Ohio, fork over $20 per month to maintain a MoneyLion checking account, monitor their credit score or get a small low-interest loan. In all, MoneyLion offers seven financial products, including unexpected ones like paycheck advances and, soon, brokerage services. Choubey expects revenue of $90 million this year, triple last year’s $30 million. His last round of financing, when he raised $100 million from investors including Princeton, New Jersey-based Edison Partners and McLean, Virginia-based Capital One, valued the company at nearly $700 million. By mid-2020, he predicts, MoneyLion will be breaking even. An FDIC-insured high-yield savings account will be rolled out soon, while credit cards are on the schedule for later in 2020. To retain customers, he says, “we have to be a product factory.”

Like most other entrepreneurs, Choubey thinks his company’s potential is essentially unlimited. But having spent a decade as an itinerant investment banker at Citi, Goldman, Citadel and Barclays, he’s also a guy who knows how far a horizon can realistically stretch. And he is far from the only one to see the opportunity for upstart digital-only banks—so-called neobanks—to transform retail banking and create a new generation of Morgans and Mellons. “I just heard a rumor that Chime is getting another round at a $5 billion valuation,” he says.


Leading the Neobank Pack

In 20 years, these VC-backed startups could dominate consumer banking, but they’ll face plenty of competition. Fintech companies that originally offered investing are rushing to add bank services.

                                            

Sources: the companies, CB Insights, PitchBook.


Globally, a vast army of neobanks are targeting all sorts of consumer and small-business niches—from Millennial investors to dentists and franchise owners. McKinsey estimates there are 5,000 startups worldwide offering new and traditional financial services, up from 2,000 just three years ago. In the first nine months of 2019, venture capitalists poured $2.9 billion into neobanks, compared with $2.3 billion in all of 2018, reports CB Insights.

Underlying this explosion is new infrastructure that makes starting a neobank cheap and easy, plus a rising generation that prefers to do everything from their phones. While it can take years and millions in legal and other costs to launch a real bank, new plug-and-play applications enable a startup to hook up to products supplied by traditional banks and launch with as little as $500,000 in capital.

“Now you can get your [fintech] company off the ground in a matter of a few months versus a few years,” says Angela Strange, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, who sits on the board of Synapse, a San Francisco-based startup whose technology makes it easier for other startups to offer bank products.

Using such middleman platforms, tiny neobanks can offer big-bank products: savings accounts insured by the FDIC, checking accounts with debit cards, ATM access, credit cards, currency transactions and even paper checks. That frees fintech entrepreneurs to concentrate on cultivating their niche, no matter how small or quirky.

Take “Dave.” Dave (yep, that’s its real name) is a little app that rescues folks from the pain of chronic bank overdraft fees. Created by a 34-year-old serial entrepreneur named Jason Wilk who had no prior experience in financial services, Dave charges its users $1 a month and, if they seem likely to overdraw, instantly deposits up to $75 as an advance. Nice little business, but nothing to give Bank of America jitters.

Betterment cofounder Jon Stein at his New York City startup. It took a decade to get 420,000 clients for its robo-advisor business managing stocks and bonds; as a neobank newcomer, Betterment already has 120,000 on a waiting list for a checking account.


But then Wilk decided to turn Dave into a neobank. In June, using Synapse, Dave rolled out its own checking account and debit card. Now it can make money on “interchange,” the 1% to 2% fees that retailers get charged whenever a debit card gets swiped. These fees are split between banks and debit-card issuers like Dave. Wilk optimistically predicts Dave will bring in $100 million in revenue this year from its 4.5 million users—up from $19 million in 2018, the year before it transformed itself into a neobank. Dave was recently valued at $1 billion.

Established fintech companies that didn’t start out in banking are getting into the game too. New York-based Betterment, which manages $18 billion in customers’ stock and bond investments using computer algorithms, recently rolled out a high-yield savings account. It pulled in $1 billion in deposits in two weeks. “The success has been unprecedented. In our history we’ve never grown this fast,” marvels Betterment CEO and cofounder Jon Stein. Now he’s launching a no-fee checking account with a debit card, and credit cards and mortgages might be next, he says.

Neobanks are swiftly emerging as a huge threat to traditional banks. McKinsey estimates that by 2025 up to 40% of banks’ collective revenue could be at risk from new digital competition. “I don’t believe there’s going to be a Netflix moment—where Netflix basically leapfrogs Blockbuster—where fintechs basically put the banks out of business,” says Nigel Morris, a managing partner at QED Investors, an Alexandria, Virginia-based VC firm specializing in fintech. “[Traditional banks] are really complicated businesses, with complex regulatory issues and consumers who are relatively inert.” But, he adds, “If [neobanks] can get people to bundle, [they] can get more of a share of a wallet of a consumer. [The] economics can move dramatically. It changes the game.”

Diwakar (Dee) Choubey was supposed to be an engineer, not an investment banker. Born in Ranchi, India, he came to the U.S. at 4 when his father was finishing a graduate degree in engineering at Syracuse University. The family ended up in New Jersey. Choubey’s mom taught autistic children, while his dad worked as an engineer at Cisco—and plotted his son’s future.

When Choubey started at the University of Chicago in 1999, he signed up for a bunch of computer science classes picked by his dad. But after earning a couple of B-minuses, “I cried uncle,” Choubey says. He became an economics major, strengthening his grades and job prospects by taking corporate finance and accounting courses at the business school. After graduating with honors, he went into investment banking, where he remained for the next decade.

From an insider’s vantage point, he saw that traditional banks were excruciatingly slow to respond to the preferences of their customers and exploit the power of smartphones. That, plus a never-ending series of bank scandals, convinced him that there was an opening for a digital “private banker.” In 2013 he walked away from his near-seven-figure salary to start MoneyLion.

Choubey raised $1 million in seed funding and started out offering free credit scores and micro-loans. But he struggled to raise more money. Forty venture investors turned him down, deeming his vision impractical and unfocused. “I was laughed out of a lot of VC rooms in our early days,” he recalls.

While Choubey banged unsuccessfully on VC doors, MoneyLion putt-putted along, bringing in a little revenue from loan interest and credit card ads and collecting a bunch of data on consumer behavior. Finally, in 2016, he persuaded Edison Partners to lead a $23 million investment. That enabled MoneyLion to add a robo-advisor service allowing users to invest as little as $50 in portfolios of stocks and bonds. In 2018, it added a free checking account and debit card issued through Iowa-based Lincoln Savings Bank.

Managing rapid growth, while striving to keep costs low, has proved tricky. MoneyLion was hit with a deluge of Better Business Bureau complaints over the past spring and summer. Some customers experienced long delays transferring their money into or out of MoneyLion accounts and, when they reached out for help, got only computer-generated responses. Choubey says the software glitches have been fixed, and he has bumped up the number of customer-service reps from 140 to 230.

Other neobanks have had operational growing pains too. In October, San Francisco-based Chime, with 5 million accounts, had technical problems that stretched over three days. Customers were unable to see their balances, and some were intermittently unable to use their debit cards. Chime blamed the failure on a partner, Galileo Financial Technologies, a platform used by many fintech startups to process transactions.

Tim Spence, Fifth Third’s chief strategist, in the regional bank’s downtown Cincinnati headquarters. Most of his neobank competitors are losing money, but “the lesson . . . learned from Facebook and Amazon and Google . . . is that the internet is amenable to a winner-take-all market structure.”


On a warm fall day Tim Spence speed-walks his 6-foot-3 frame through the towering, 31-story Cincinnati headquarters of his employer, Fifth Third, a 161-year-old regional bank with $171 billion in assets. Clad in a plaid sport jacket with no tie, Spence doesn’t look like a traditional banker. And he’s not.

A Colgate University English literature and economics major, Spence, now 40, spent the first seven years of his career at digital advertising startups. He then moved into consulting at Oliver Wyman in New York, advising banks on digital transformation. In 2015, Fifth Third lured him to Ohio as its chief strategy officer and then expanded his mandate. He now also oversees consumer banking and payments, putting him in charge of $3 billion worth of Fifth Third’s $6.9 billion in revenue. Last year, he brought home $3 million in total compensation, making him the bank’s fourth-highest-paid executive.

Fifth Third has 1,143 branches, but today Spence is focused on Dobot, a mobile app the bank acquired in 2018 and relaunched this year. Dobot helps users set personalized savings goals and automatically shifts money from checking to savings accounts. “We reached 80,000 downloads in a matter of six months, without having to spend hardly anything on marketing,” he says.

Scooping up new products is one part of a three-pronged “buy-partner-build” strategy that Spence has helped devise to combat the neobank challenge. Partnering means both investing in fintechs and funding loans generated by the newcomers. Fifth Third has a broad deal with Morris’ QED, which gives it a chance to invest in the startups the VC firm backs. One of Fifth Third’s earliest QED investments was in GreenSky, the Atlanta-based fintech that generates home remodeling loans (some funded by Fifth Third) through a network of general contractors.

The best of these partnerships provide Fifth Third access to younger borrowers, particularly those with high incomes. In 2018, it led a $50 million investment in New York-based CommonBond, which offers student-loan refinancing to graduates at competitive interest rates. Similarly, Fifth Third has invested in two San Francisco-based startups: Lendeavor, an online platform that makes big loans to young dentists opening new private practices, and ApplePie Capital, which lends money to fast-food franchisees.


Funding Bonanza

Global venture capital funding for digital banks is exploding. This year, it’s on pace to exceed 2017 and 2018 combined.

                                         

Source: CB Insights 


“The thing I’m most envious of, when it comes to the venture-backed startups that we compete with, is the quality of talent they’re able to bring in. It’s really remarkable,” Spence says.

But while Spence envies them sometimes and partners where he can, he isn’t convinced the neobanks will make big inroads into traditional banks’ turf. “None of them have shown that they can take over primary banking,” he says. He also argues that having physical retail branches is still important for building long-term relationships with customers. In a recent Javelin survey of 11,500 consumers, an equal number rated online capabilities and branch convenience as the most important factors when deciding whether to stick with a bank.

Fifth Third has been reducing its overall number of branches an average of 3% a year, but it’s opening new ones designed to be Millennial-friendly. These outlets are just two thirds the size of traditional branches. Instead of snaking teller lines, there are service bars and meeting areas with couches. Bankers armed with tablets greet customers at the door—Apple Store-style.

That raises the question of whether any of the neobanks will be so successful that they’ll eventually open physical outposts, the way internet retailers Warby Parker, Casper and, of course, Amazon have done. After all, it’s happened before. Capital One pioneered the use of big data to sell credit cards in the early 1990s, making it one of the first successful fintechs. But in 2005 it started acquiring traditional banks, and today it’s the nation’s tenth-largest bank, with $379 billion in assets and 480 branches.

Cover photograph by Franco Vogt for Forbes.

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I cover fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain and investing at Forbes. I’ve also written frequently about leadership, corporate diversity and entrepreneurs. Before Forbes, I worked for ten years in marketing consulting, in roles ranging from client consulting to talent management. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia Journalism School. Have a tip, question or comment? Email me jkauflin@forbes.com or send tips here: https://www.forbes.com/tips/. Follow me on Twitter @jeffkauflin. Disclosure: I own some bitcoin and ether.

Source: Dawn Of The Neobank: The Fintechs Trying To Kill The Corner Bank

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Dear banks, Game Over. Disruptive challenger banks are here to wipe the floor with traditional banks, who have, according to Chad West, head of comms and marketing at challenger bank Revolut, failed to make their offering open and transparent to customers, and failed to give them control over their money. Digital bank alternative Revolut has scaled to 1.8 million customers in three years – and now offers cryptocurrency processing. ABOUT WIRED SMARTER Experts and business leaders from the worlds of Energy, Money and Retail gathered at Kings Place, London, for WIRED Smarter on October 9, 2018. Discover some of the fascinating insights from speakers here: http://wired.uk/V29vMg ABOUT WIRED EVENTS WIRED events shine a spotlight on the innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs who are changing our world for the better. Explore this channel for videos showing on-stage talks, behind-the-scenes action, exclusive interviews and performances from our roster of events. Join us as we uncover the most relevant, up-and-coming trends and meet the people building the future. ABOUT WIRED WIRED brings you the future as it happens – the people, the trends, the big ideas that will change our lives. An award-winning printed monthly and online publication. WIRED is an agenda-setting magazine offering brain food on a wide range of topics, from science, technology and business to pop-culture and politics. CONNECT WITH WIRED Web: http://po.st/WiredVideo Twitter: http://po.st/TwitterWired Facebook: http://po.st/FacebookWired Google+: http://po.st/GoogleWired Instagram: http://po.st/InstagramWired Magazine: http://po.st/MagazineWired Newsletter: http://po.st/NewslettersWired

As Buffett Looks To Increase His Stake, Bank of America Beats Earnings Expectations

Topline: Another major U.S. bank beat earnings expectations on Tuesday, showing that despite ongoing tariff pressures, interest rate cuts and slowing trading revenues, Wall Street had a solid quarter.

  • Bank of America reported profit and revenue that came in higher than analyst estimates—with a net income of $0.56 per share compared to $0.51 expected—thanks to strong consumer and advisory businesses that helped counter declining trading revenues.
  • Shares of Bank of America rose over 2% in early trading; the stock has now risen almost 17% so far this year.
  • The bank is the second-biggest lender in the U.S., making it especially sensitive to interest rate cuts—but despite the Federal Reserve’s recent slashing of rates, Bank of America grew loans by 7%.
  • Three out of four of the bank’s main divisions saw revenue gains: an 8% increase in its global banking business, a 3% increase on consumer banking revenue and a 2% increase in wealth management revenue.
  • While revenue fell 2% in the bank’s trading division, total company revenue was largely unchanged from a year earlier at $23 billion, beating analysts’ $22.8 billion estimate.

Tangent: Bank of America is one of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s favorite stocks. Through his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett recently asked the Fed for permission to raise his stake beyond 10%, according to a Bloomberg report.

Crucial quote: “In a moderately growing economy, we focused on driving those things that are controllable,” CEO Brian Moynihan said in a press release.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: As Buffett Looks To Increase His Stake, Bank of America Beats Earnings Expectations

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Aug.16 — Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said this week’s bond-market turmoil has been driven by issues outside the U.S., and that recession risks are low in the country as consumer spending remains strong. He spoke to Bloomberg’s David Westin in New York.

Deutsche Bank Faces A Smaller, Poorer Future

The London offices of Deutsche Bank. On July 24, 2019, Deutsche Bank reported a headline loss of €3.1bn which it said arose from the radical restructuring plan it commenced this month, in which its operations in the U.K. and U.S. are being drastically cut. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Deutsche Bank has issued its results for the second quarter of 2019. They make grim reading. The bank reported a headline loss of €3.1bn ($3.44bn), which it said was due to “charges relating to strategic transformation” of €3.4bn ($3.78bn). But both net income of £231m ($256.67m) and underlying profits of €441m ($490m) were significantly down on the same quarter in 2018.

The restructuring announced earlier this month has yet to impact fully. The “capital release unit” into which the bank plans to put €74bn ($82.22bn) of poorly-performing and non-strategic assets and business lines, including its entire equities trading division, is not yet up and running, and although headcount is about 4,500 lower than it was a year ago, the latest round of sackings doesn’t yet show up in the redundancy costs. Restructuring costs themselves therefore only contribute €50m ($55.56m) to the headline loss.

A further €350m ($388.89m) comes from junking software and service contracts that will no longer be needed because of the restructuring. But by far the largest part of the headline loss arises from impairment of goodwill to the tune of €1bn ($1.11bn) and a €2bn ($2.22bn) reduction in the value of the bank’s deferred tax asset.

This may sound like accounting gobbledegook, but it sends a very important message. Deutsche Bank’s management has admitted the bank will never return to the profitability of the past. When the restructuring is complete, it will be a much smaller, poorer bank.

First, the writedown of the deferred tax asset (DTA). A DTA arises when a firm pays taxes in advance and then suffers losses that wipe out that tax liability, resulting in an overpayment. Rather than claiming back the money, firms can “carry forward” the overpayment and use it to offset their tax liability in a subsequent reporting period. This “carried forward” amount is shown as an asset on the balance sheet.

However, a firm can only carry forward overpaid tax into subsequent periods if it is reasonably certain that the firm will eventually make enough profits to be liable for that amount of tax; and there is usually a time limit by which the deferred asset must be used. If the firm can’t generate enough profits to use the DTA, it is lost.

This is how Deutsche Bank explains its decision to write down the DTA (my emphasis):

Each quarter, the Group re-evaluates its estimate related to deferred tax assets, including its assumptions about future profitability. In updating the strategic plan in connection with the transformation the Group adjusted the value of deferred tax assets in affected jurisdictions. This resulted in total valuation adjustments of € 2.0 billion in the second quarter of 2019 that primarily relate to the U.S. and the UK.

Deutsche Bank has admitted that the deep cuts to the investment bank will result in profitability being significantly lower for the foreseeable future.

Now to goodwill. Goodwill can be regarded as another type of overpayment. It is the amount by which the purchase price of an asset or business exceeds the fair value of the tangible and intangible assets acquired and any liabilities taken on. Firms overpay for acquisitions when they expect them to deliver higher returns in future. But if they disappoint, then eventually the value of the “goodwill” must be reduced.

In two divisions – corporate finance, and the wealth management unit within its private & commercial banking division – Deutsche Bank has written off its entire goodwill, amounting to €491m  ($545.56m) in corporate finance and €545m ($605.56m) in wealth management. Importantly, the notes to the accounts show that the write-off is not a restructuring cost; these are business lines that have been under-performing for quite some time. The bank blames “adverse industry trends” and “worsening macroeconomic assumptions, including interest rate curves.” This is code for “we thought interest rates would be much higher by now.” Revenues have persistently disappointed because of very low interest rates, and now that the European Central Bank has indicated that rates will stay low for the foreseeable future – and may even be cut further – there is no real prospect of recovery. These business lines are simply never going to make enough money to cover their acquisition cost. Cue transfer to the “capital release unit” as soon as it is up and running.

The good news is that the €3bn ($3.33bn) writedown of DTA and goodwill didn’t affect the bank’s capital. The all-important CET1 capital ratio stayed firm at 13.4%. But looking ahead, there are clearly more restructuring costs to come. The bank says it currently has provisions for about €1bn ($1.11bn). It expects to use all of this, and it may need more. And Deutsche Bank also faces further litigation charges which it admits could be considerable.

But the biggest problem is Deutsche Bank’s desperate lack of income. Troubled though it is, the investment bank is still Deutsche Bank’s biggest source of revenue. The planned cuts will slash that to the bone, and there is no evidence that any of the other divisions can step up to replace it. All Deutsche Bank’s divisions, apart from its asset manager DWS, have flat or declining revenues and poor profitability. Unless it can turn this around, the future looks very bleak.

Despite the management’s upbeat presentation, the share price fell on these results. Shareholders were clearly unimpressed with the promise of “jam tomorrow” in the form of dividends and share buybacks from 2022. Perhaps they, like me, were looking at the bank’s promise to turn ROTE of negative 11.2% today into positive 8% by 2022, and thinking, “I don’t believe a word of it.”

Forbes Special Report: Picking the right investment opportunities is critical. Get insights from top advisors in the free report 9 Stocks To Buy For The Second Half.

 

I used to work for banks. Now I write about them, and about finance and economics generally. Although I originally trained as a musician and singer, I worked in banking for 17 years and did an MBA at Cass Business School in London, where I specialized in financial risk management. I’m the author of the Coppola Comment finance & economics blog, which is a regular feature on the Financial Times’s Alphaville blog and has been quoted in The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Guardian. I am also a frequent commentator on financial matters for the BBC. And I still sing, and teach. After all, there is more to life than finance.

Source: Deutsche Bank Faces A Smaller, Poorer Future

Bank Of England Governor Might Open Opportunity For Ripple Tech, Says That Payments Across Borders Should Be Indistinguishable From Those Across The Street

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has vowed to transform the central bank in preparation for the upcoming “fourth industrial revolution.”

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit, Carney said that he would focus on encouraging innovation among fintech startup, and making climate change and Artificial Intelligence (AI) priorities.

Carney stressed on the emerging digital economy, which many developing nations are preparing for by embracing blockchain technology and decentralized systems.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has vowed to transform the central bank in preparation for the upcoming “fourth industrial revolution.”

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit, Carney said that he would focus on encouraging innovation among fintech startup, and making climate change and Artificial Intelligence (AI) priorities.

Carney stressed on the emerging digital economy, which many developing nations are preparing for by embracing blockchain technology and decentralized systems.

The second great wave of globalisation is cresting. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is just beginning. And a new economy is emerging. That new economy requires a new finance. A new finance to serve the digital economy, a new finance to support the major transitions underway across the globe, and a new finance to increase the financial sector’s resilience.

Carney also spoke of the changing nature of the way we exchange value,

Consumers and businesses increasingly expect transactions to be settled in real time, checkout to become an historical anomaly, and payments across borders to be indistinguishable from those across the street.

Though Ripple is not mentioned by name, the kind of solutions that Ripple offers is a partial answer for the kind of upgrade that Carney speaks of. The cross-border solutions that Ripple provides has been warmly welcomed by banks across the world.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum released a report that showed over 40 central banks across the world were conducting research and/or implementing blockchain solutions. Certainly there is a lot to be gained by established entities adopting the technology, IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, has also said that “cryptocurrencies clearly shake the world.”

Abhimanyu Krishnan
About Abhimanyu Krishnan

Abhimanyu is an engineer on paper but a writer by living. To him, the most celebratory aspect of blockchain technology is its democratic nature. While he’s hodling, he can be found reading a good book or making the local dogs howl with the sound of his guitar playing.

Source: Bank Of England Governor Might Open Opportunity For Ripple Tech, Says That Payments Across Borders Should Be Indistinguishable From Those Across The Street

Top 7 Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit – Julie Myhre Nunes

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If you have stellar credit, you want a card with the most competitive offer. After all, if your credit qualifies you for the best, you deserve the best. With so many credit card offers, it’s hard to determine which cards are worth their salt. To help, we’re detailing the top 7 cards for those with good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher). Keep reading to find the perfect addition to your wallet.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

With the highest intro bonus of any cash back credit card we’ve reviewed (cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening will get a hefty $500 bonus!), the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is hard to beat. It earns an uncapped 4% cash back on dining and entertainment (movie theaters, tourist attractions and more), 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There are also no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee for the first year (then it’s $95).

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it Cash Back earns 5% cash back on rotating categories every quarter you activate (up to the quarterly maximum, currently $1,500, then it’s 1%) and 1% cash back on other purchases. Discover will match all of the cash back new cardholders earn at the end of their first year, meaning if you earn $300 in the first year, Discover will match that $300 for a total of $600 back! The Discover it Cash Back card has a long 0% intro APR period and requires average to excellent credit (a credit score of 670 or higher) for approval — click “Show Details” to see more.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

If you prefer a straightforward low APR credit card, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card is right for you, as it offers an 18-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with an intro balance transfer fee of 3% for 18 months, then it’s 5%). This card also comes with no annual fee and free access to your FICO credit score. On top of that, those who use their Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card to pay their monthly cell phone bill will receive up to $600 phone protection against covered damage or theft (with a $25 deductible per claim and a maximum of 2 claims per year).

Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card offers a $200 bonus to cardholders who spend $500 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s like earning 40% cash back on the first $500 spent! On top of that, you’ll earn 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to the first $2,500/quarter on gas/grocery/wholesale club purchases). Cardholders will also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases and pay no annual fee. Click “Show Details” to learn about the card’s 0% intro APR period, the customer bonus opportunity and more.

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card offers an 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee, $5 minimum). On top of that, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay for the purchase. The cash back rewards do not apply to balance transfers, but we don’t think it is that big of a deal since the card has so many other strong features, like the long 0% intro APR on balance transfers. The Citi Double Cash Card also has no annual fee and offers free monthly FICO scores.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Travel is easy with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. That’s because this card not only earns an unlimited 2X miles on all purchases, but it also offers 50,000 bonus miles — that’s worth $500 in travel — to cardholders who spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, cardholders will earn an unlimited 10X miles when they book through Hotels.com/Venture through Jan. 31, 2020 and pay no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee for the first year (then it’s $95).

Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever

The Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers a whopping 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers. The balance transfer fee is a bit higher at 5% with a $5 minimum (other cards usually charge 3%), but 21 months is the longest 0% intro APR we’ve seen, usually making the fee worth paying. Cardholders will also get a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases. Rounding things out are no annual fee no late fees and no penalty APR, which means paying late won’t increase your APR.

Want to learn more about the cards detailed in this post? Visit our reviews of the best credit cards to see how they compare to other cards on the market.

 

 

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