Aspire® Cash Back Rewards Card
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By : Mr Credit Card

Aspire Mastercard Has A Great Cash Back Rewards

The Aspire Mastercard is one of the rare credit cards for bad or fair credit that has a very decent cash back program. You can earn 3% cash back on bonus categories like gasoline, groceries and utilities. They charge both an annual fee and monthly fee (but these fees come in a range). Depending on the fees that you are offered, this may be a very good card for rebuilders or just just another subprime card. Let's look at this card in greater detail.


Aspire Mastercard Key Features

Annual Fee $49 to $175 for the 1st Year
$0 to $49 from 2nd year onwards
Application Fee N.A.
Monthly Fee None for 1st year. $5/m to $12.50/m from 2nd year onwards
APR 22.74% - 36%
Late Fee Up to $40
Over-the-Limit Fee Up to $40
Penalty None
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%
Cash Advance APR 25.74% - 36%


Annual Fee and Monthly Fee - The Aspire Mastercard charges both an annual fee and a monthly maintenance fee. This is how it works.

During your first year, the annual fee will range between $49 and $175. From the second year onwards, the annual fee will be reduced to between $0 and $49. So you might very well get no annual fee during the second year.

However, from the second year onwards, you have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of between $6 and $12.50 (which works out to between $72 and $150 annually).

So if you do the math, in the best case scenario, you could end up with a $49 annual fee during your first year, a $0 annual fee during the second year and a $72 in total monthly fees. Or in the worse case scenario, you could be offered a card with $175 annual fee during the first year, a $49 annual fee during the second year a $12.50 a month monthly fee from the second year onwards and end up paying $199 of fees.

Cash Back Rewards - Aspire is one of the few subprime credit cards that offers a cash back program. You can earn 3% cash back on the following bonus category: Gasoline, Groceries and Utilities. You earn 1% cash back on other regular purchases.

You will get an annual statement credit once a year with the cash back earnings you have earned. Your account must be in good standing at that time. If not, you will to wait for another year (your anniversary month) before you can get your cash back credited back to you (in the form of a statement credit).

Free Vantage Score from Equifax - Card holders will get a free Vantage score from Equifax 60 days after get approved.

Pre-Qualify With Soft Pull - If you want to apply for the Aspire card, you will first have to pre-qualify. This involves only a soft pull and is not a hard inquiry. If you are pe-approved, you can then proceed to apply for the card (this will then involve a hard inquiry).


Competition

Card Annual Fee Upfront Fee Monthly Fee APR Cash Back Mobile App
Aspire Mastercard $49 to $175 - 1st Year
$0 to $49 from 2nd Year onwards
N.A. $5 to $12.50 from 2nd Year Onwards 22.74% - 36% Yes
Indigo Mastercard $0 to $99 N.A. N.A. 24.90% N.A.
Destiny Mastercard $59 to $99 N.A. N.A. 24.90% N.A.
Credit One Amex $39 N.A. N.A. 25.49% Yes
Credit One Visa $0-$99 N.A. N.A. 19.49% to 25.49% Yes
Total Visa $75 1st Year
Then $48
$89 $0 1st Year
$6.25/m
34.99% N.A.
Surge Mastercard $135 1st Year
Then $96
N.A. $10/m 29.90% N.A.
Reflex Mastercard $135 1st Year
Then $96
N.A. $10/m 29.90% N.A.


I will compare the Aspire credit card with it's peers on two main features, it's fees and cash back program.

Comparison of Fees

The Aspire charges an annual fee (which declines in the second year) and also a monthly fee from the second year onwards. This is not uncommon among it's peers. As you can see from the table above, there are other cards like Surge Mastercard, Total Visa that charge both an annual fee and a monthly fee. However, you should also take note that there are cards like Indigo Mastercard and Milestone Mastercard that only charge an annual fee. From a fee perspective, Aspire Mastercard is not uncommon but there are lower fee credit cards to consider.

What is more interesting about the Aspire Mastercard is that both the annual fee and monthly fee has a range. Let's take the first year annual fee. It can range from $49 to $175. If you happen to get an offer with a $49 annual fee, it is very competitive with most of it's peers. Similarly, you might get no annual fee for the second year and have to pay $6 a month for the monthly fee. That works out to $70 a year. That is still reasonable compared to other cards.

Aspire Mastercard Cash Back Comparison

Though most credit cards for bad credit do not have any reward program, there are a couple of cards that do have them. For example, the Credit One Bank Visa and the Nascar Credit Card all have cash back program where you can earn 1% cash back on regular purchases and 2% on bonus categories. From an earnings perspective, the Aspire Mastercard is probably the best cash back credit card in the bad/fair credit space because you can earn 3% cash back on everyday spending items like utilities, groceries and gasoline. No other card in this space has you earning 3% in bonus categories.

Compares Favorably When You Get the Lowest Fees

As you can see above, if you get offered the Aspire credit card with the lowest possible fees, it is actually a very competitive card. It offers a very compelling cash back program as well. But if you get an offer with higher fees, then it is not attractive as far as fee goes.


What We Like About the Aspire Mastercard

  • Earn Up to 3% Cash Back - Not many rebuilder credit cards allow you to earn cash back. Aspire allows you to earn 3% cash back on everyday spending bonus category which includes gasoline, grocery and utilities.

  • Free Vantage Score - Aspire gives cardholders access to an Equifax Vantage score (which is available after 60 days of your card membership).

  • Periodic Credit Increase Review - Many subprime credit cards do not increase your credit limit. For example, cards like Milestone and Indigo do not increase your credit limit. But Aspire does periodic review and may increase your limit if you use the card responsibly.

What We Do Not Like About Aspire Credit Card

  • High Annual Fee and Monthly Fee - The Aspire Mastercard charges both an annual fee and a monthly fee (from the second year onwards). There are cards available that only charge an annual fee.

  • Cash Back Only Given Once A Year - While you can earn cash back with this card, the cash back is returned to you in the form of an annual statement credit. This is in contrast to many other cash back credit cards that give you your statement credit automatically once a month or allow you to deposit them in your checking account. For example, Credit One automatically gives you a statement credit each one based on the cash back you have earned on their card.


Aspire Credit Card: Great Cash Back Card If You Get Lowest Fees

The Aspire Mastercard is targeted at those with bad to fair credit. As with many credit cards targeting this space, it comes with fees that you have to be aware of. During your first year as a cardmember, you will be charged an annual fee of $49 to $175. From the second year onwards, the annual fee will be reduced to between $0 to $49. However, from the second year onwards, you will be charged a monthly maintenance fee of between $60 and $150 to be paid monthly ($6 and $12.50).

What is interesting about Aspire is that the fees come in a range. If you get the lowest fees, you will end up with a $49 annual fee during the first year and $72 in fees during the second year. Top that off with their cash back program and this becomes a pretty decent credit card if you have bad or fair credit.

However, if you get the an offer with the highest fee possible, then it becomes like most subprime credit cards except for the fact that you do get a decent cash back program.

Speaking of their cash back program, it is really good as far as earnings go. You can earn 3% cash back on gas, groceries and utilities and 1% on other regular purchases. However, the thing I really do not like about it is that you can only get your cash back in the form of a statement credit once a year.

To sum up, the reality when you are a rebuilder is that you simply do not know what card will approve you. The Aspire Mastercard has a great cash back program but as far as fees go, you can either get a good deal or a not so good deal. The good thing about this card is that you need to get pre-approved first before you can proceed to apply for the card. The pre-approval process does not require a hard pull but results in a soft pull on your credit report instead. If you are pre-approved, you will know the terms of the card offer. If you are happy with it, you can tend proceed to apply for the card. If not, you can just ignore the pre-approval if you are not happy with the terms offered.