Santander Sphere Visa Signature Credit Card review September 2018 | finder.com

Sphere® Credit Card review – September 2018

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One of the best intro APR offers on the market, letting you earn rewards when competitors don’t.

  • Get this card if you want a market-leading intro APR with rewards.
  • Pick something else if you want stronger rewards.
    • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
    Product NameSphere® Credit Card
    Card TypeMastercard
    Annual Fee$0
    APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases14.24% to 24.24% variable
    Introductory Purchase APR0% for the first 18 billing cycles (then 14.24% to 24.24% variable)
    Introductory Balance Transfer APR 0% for the first 18 billing cycles (then 14.24% to 24.24% variable)
    Balance Transfer Fee$10 or 4% of the transaction, whichever is greater
    Cash Advance Rate26.24% variable
    Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
    Foreign Transaction Fee3% of the transaction value
    Interest Free PeriodUp to 21 days
    Minimum Interest$1.5
    Late Payment Fee$35
    Returned Payment Fee$35
    Additional Cardholder Fee$0
    Minimum Age18 years of age
    Reward Value per Dollar1 points
    Rewards Points ExpiryNever

    The basics

    For a card with a market-leading intro APR, the Sphere® Credit Card is a top choice. It offers an excellent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers, which can be a godsend if you’re struggling with debt or preparing to make a major purchase. And it does one better than many of its competitors by offering rewards — all while charging no annual fee.

    The perks

    • Annual fee: None.

      A $0 annual fee is a great combination with the card’s topnotch intro APR.

    • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles following your account opening.

      After that, your purchase and balance transfer APR will be 14.24% to 24.24% variable. This is an excellent intro APR, and it’s the card’s best feature. If you want one of the top balance transfer cards on the market, this product is a great choice.

      This intro rate applies only to balances you transfer within the first 90 days of card membership.

    • Rewards: A flat rate on every purchase.

      Earn 1x points on all purchases, with no cap. This isn’t a great rate, but it’s rare among cards that offer such strong intro APRs.

      Redeem your points for gift cards, merchandise, electronic certificates or cash back via statement credit.

    You’ll also like …

    • Santander Instant Card Hold.

      Make sure your account stays safe in the event that your card is lost or stolen by using the Santander Instant Hold. This keeps third parties from making unauthorized purchases on your card while you locate or cancel it.

    What to watch out for

    • Potentially high APR. If you have a weaker credit history, you may be given a purchase and balance transfer APR as high as 24.24% variable. That’s pretty high, considering the average APR is around 16%.
    • Penalty APR. Santander may apply a penalty APR of 31.74% variable to all of your balances if you miss a payment, pay late or make a payment that’s returned. The penalty APR applies until you make six consecutive on-time payments of at least the minimum amount due. After that, Santander may remove the penalty rate at its discretion.A penalty APR is never fun, and it increases the consequences of slipping up on payments. Don’t be afraid to compare other credit cards, as there are a few banks that don’t charge penalty APRs.

    Consider other cards if …

    • You want a longer 0% APR period on balance transfers. The market leader in intro APRs is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, which offers a 0% APR on balance transfers for 21 months following your account opening. After that, an APR of 14.74% to 24.74% variable applies. The tradeoff is you’ll get a 0% APR on purchases for only 12 months following your account opening, and an APR of 14.74% to 24.74% variable after that.
    • You want a longer 0% APR period on both purchases and balance transfers. The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is a fantastic option. It offers a 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles following your account opening. After that, you’ll have an APR of 11.74% to 23.74% variable.
    • You still want a 0% APR period, but you want stronger rewards. If you’re willing to give up a few months on your intro APR period, you’ll find cards with better rewards. Try the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card or Discover it® Cash Back.

    Compare balance transfer credit cards

    Name Product Introductory Balance Transfer APR APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee Minimum Credit Score
    0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable)
    14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees
    0% for the first 18 months (then 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% variable)
    12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    An 18-month 0% Intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
    0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then to variable)
    16.74% variable
    $195
    Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
    0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then to variable)
    16.74% variable
    $495
    Good (700-739)
    Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
    0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
    14.74% to 25.74% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
    0% for the first 15 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
    14.74% to 25.74% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    Snag a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
    0% for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
    14.74% to 24.74% variable
    $95
    Fair (660-699)
    15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account
    0% for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 25.74% variable)
    14.74% to 25.74% variable
    $95
    Fair (660-699)
    Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
    0% for the first 15 months (then 16.74% to 25.49% variable)
    16.74% to 25.49% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    Jumpstart your financial fitness! 60 day introductory balance transfer offer, save on interest, and get your free monthly credit score.
    0% for the first 15 statement closing dates (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
    14.74% to 24.74% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    Transfer high rate balances and save on interest with an Introductory $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10).
    0% for the first 15 months (then 16.74% to 25.49% variable)
    16.74% to 25.49% variable
    $0
    Fair (660-699)
    Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic. No minimum to redeem for cash back.
    0% for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
    14.99% to 24.99% variable
    $0
    Good (700-739)
    Earn more cash back for the things you buy most.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    How does a balance transfer work with this card?

    What should I know before I apply?

    To apply for the Sphere® Credit Card, you must be at least 18 years old. The card is also only available to customers in these states:

    • Connecticut
    • District of Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont

    Information you’ll need

    • Your full name and contact information.
    • Your residential status.
    • Your annual income, source of income and employment information.
    • Your Social Security number.

    What credit score do I need?

    You’ll have a better chance of being approved for this card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 to 850.

    Here are a few other factors that might affect your odds of approval:

    • Hard pulls on your credit report. If you have several hard inquiries — or hard pulls — on your report, it could imply you’re having trouble managing your debt. Santander might think you’re desperate for credit and may be less likely to take you on as a customer.
    • Factors that tie into your credit score. Your credit utilization is a major factor Santander considers. The bank prefers a customer with low balances relative to their credit limit. Having many new card accounts may be a red flag too, as it could indicate you’re desperate for credit. It may also give the impression that you’re a flighty customer who’s just hunting for signup bonuses.

    What do customers say about the Sphere® Credit Card?

    Santander Bank isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it earns an A rating from the agency. As of this writing, 88% of its reviews are negative and it has over 200 customer complaints. Santander customers report difficulty opening accounts, signup bonuses not honored and unresponsive customer support.

    The company earns a Trustpilot score of 1.2 out of 10. Many negative reviews cite extremely slow customer service, difficulty getting fees reversed and inflexible company policies.

    How to apply for the Sphere® Credit Card

    1. 1. On the Santander website, find the Sphere® Credit Card and click Apply now.
    2. 2. Select your state and enter your ZIP code.
    3. 3. Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
    4. 4. Review and submit your application.

    Sphere® Credit Card

    I got the card. Now what?

    • Make payments on time. Register your account on the Santander website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in automatic recurring payments.
    • Avoid the penalty APR. If you miss a payment, pay late or make a payment that’s returned, Santander may assess a penalty APR of 31.74% variable to all of your balances. This could last indefinitely, so make sure to keep on top of your payments.
    • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of at least 21 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
    • Avoid fees. For each late payment, you’ll incur a fee of up to $35. Balance transfers and cash advances also come with fees.
    • Contact customer service. If you have questions about your account, call the number on the back of your card. Alternatively, call 1-877-768-2265 to speak with a Personal Banking Representative.

    Bottom line

    The Sphere® Credit Card is one of the top cards on the market for its excellent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers. Unlike its closest competitors, it also offers rewards — a nice sweetener if you’re on the fence between a few cards.

    Before you decide if the Sphere® Credit Card is right for you, compare other balance transfer credit cards to make sure you’re getting the one that best fits your spending habits and financial needs.

    Frequently asked questions

    Images: santanderbank.com

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