Who is Wisdom Financial Services, Inc.? - The Wisdom Financial Services Rewards Visa credit card by PartnersFirst is the official card for Wisdom Financial Services, Inc. Which begs the question: Who is Wisdom Financial Services?
Wisdom Financial Services, Inc. is a mortgage broker in Fullerton, California1 which is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate and California Department of Corporations. They provide a number of loan programs that include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, hybrid ARMs, FHA loans and reverse mortgages. They also provide mortgage calculators and free consultations as well as a ton of information on mortgages to help decide which one may be the best for you. According to BBB2, they have a A+ rating.
It's strange for a mortgage company to issue an affinity card - PartnersFirst Bank is a credit card issuer that specializes in issuing affinity cards for various organizations. But when a mortgage broker company issues one, I find it really strange. And the reason is because I find it hard for folks who feel any "affinity" towards their mortgage broker! And the reason is that getting a mortgage is a one-time transaction that happens once in many years (for some folks, it happens once in a lifetime). Unless you are a real estate investor, you will hardly be using a mortgage broker over and over again.
What benefits does this card provide? - Before we get into greater detail about this card, it is worth noting that for every PartnersFirst credit card, you will get to earn one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. These points can be redeemed for PartnersFirst rewards. These include cash back (which is 1%), travel rewards3, gift cards4, merchandise5. On Wisdom Financial Service website, they actually have a link to a page which list the rewards. Upon further inspection, we were able to confirm that the rewards listed there were identical to other PartnersFirst card rewards. We've mentioned this in other PartnersFirst cards review that we think the best part of their rewards is the airline ticket rewards. The gift cards are not worth getting because you get less than 1% returns on your points. The merchandise rewards are decent but lacks the variety compared to other program. You also get less than 1% in return when you redeem your points for merchandise rewards. Below is a screenshot of the airline rewards on Wisdom Financial Services sight.
What are the extra perks? - But the key question is what extra perks do you get with this card? Well, the answer is actually a strange one. When you use your card at "Big Box" home improvement stores (presumably like Home Depot and Lowes), you will earn double points. But you do not get any special discounts or deals with Wisdom Financial!
Home Depot Card and Ameriquest Card Comparison - Let me start off by saying that I find it strange that this card does not give any direct benefits with Wisdom Financial (even though it is their affinity card) and instead lets you just earn double points on home improvement stores. Perhaps the rationale is that after taking on a mortgage for your home, you're likely to spend money decorating it and hence the reason for letting you earn double points. But since it is what it is, let's compare this card with the Home Depot credit card. With the Home Depot card, you'll earn three points for every dollar that you spend on the card two points for every dollar that you spend on gasoline, restaurants, groceries and drugstores. So, from this perspective, it is better than Wisdom's card.
But perhaps the best comparable I can think of is the old discontinued Ameriquest MasterCard5 that used to be issued by HSBC. Ameriquest was a mortgage firm and their credit card allowed you to earn 5% rebates for what you spend on the card. And you can use these rebates towards a mortgage (cap at $500) or refinance (cap at $1,500). This makes much more sense and is a real incentive for professional real estate investors to get a credit card from their mortgage broker because of the potential savings. The old Ameriquest card made much more sense than the Wisdom Financial card.
I just don't get this card!! - To be honest, I just do not get why would WFS issue an affinity card. I can hardly think of a reason why their customers would want to get their card as most relationships with a mortgage broker is a one time relationship. Even if you are a regular client (because you are a seasoned real estate investor), there is no real reason to get this card. Firstly, there is no direct benefit with WFS. You do not get any discounts or savings from getting a mortgage with them. Secondly, even if you were to buy a lot of stuff from home improvement stores, there are other better credit cards to get. For example, my Chase Freedom Card now pays me back 5% for the second quarter (2012) for Home Depot and home improvement store purchases! The Discover More Card pays you 5% cash back when you shop at Home Depot's online store through your Discover account! So there are plenty of other cards to get that will give you more bang for the buck if you shop at home improvement stores.
If you just looked this card alone, it is quite a decent card. But in our opinion, there just isn't any rational for issuing or even getting this card because you cannot get any direct benefits with WFS. We advice that you give this card a skip.
1. Wisdom Financial Services Website
2. BBB ratings for WFS
3. PartnersFirst: Travel Rewards Page
4. PartnersFirst: Merchandise Rewards Page
5. PartnersFirst: Gift Cards
6. Ameriquest Platinum MasterCard Details and Review