| Last updated on October 27th, 2023
First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card
First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card
- 14.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
- 14.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
- 26.99% to 29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR
At a Glance
The First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card features this bank’s lowest APR for personal credit cards. Cardholders also are free from having to pay an annual fee. What’s more, new cardholders can take advantage of 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months from the date that they open an account.
- Best Benefits
- Rates & Fees
- Why Should You Apply?
- No annual fee
- First Citizens Bank's lowest APR
- 0% introductory rate on balance transfers for 12 months
- Regular Purchase APR: 14.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months for purchases made within 90 days from account opening date
- Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance APR: 26.99% to 29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $39
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: $25
- You want a basic credit card
- You prefer having a lower APR than having extra perks
- You don’t want to pay an annual fee
- You want to transfer a balance and plan to pay it off in 12 months
First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card Review
The Smart Option® Visa® Card from First Citizens Bank is a basic credit card that scraps the rewards in exchange for a lower APR. If you’re looking for a card for making purchases without all the extra hassle of racking up points, this may be the credit card for you.
Cardholders enjoy paying no annual fee to use this card. Additionally, new cardholders can take advantage of zero interest for 12 months when they transfer a balance from another credit card.
On top of this, you have access to exclusive Visa discounts. Keep reading to learn more about this card’s features.
A Low Interest Rate
Almost all of First Citizens Bank’s personal credit cards feature the same interest rates. The First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card, however, offers cardholders a lower potential APR.
The APR range for this credit card is, on average, three percentage points lower than it is for the other First Citizens credit cards. Nevertheless, this card does present a wide range of interest rates – about 11 percentage points.
The lowest possible APR is almost half of the national average. If you get approved for the highest possible interest rate on this card, keep in mind that it’s only about three percentage points higher than the national average.
Also note that in exchange for a lower interest rate, you won’t be able to earn any sort of rewards on this card. This trade-off might not be so bad, though.
If you get approved for the lowest possible APR on this card, you will accrue an interest of $284 on a $3,000 balance. By contrast, if you First Citizens Bank approves you for the lowest interest rate on the Unlimited Cash Back Card, the same balance will accrue $374 in interest.
The cash back you will earn on the cash back card will only come out to $30. So, in total, you would still need to pay $344 in interest – $60 more than the interest due on the Smart Option® Card.
Rewards don’t sound as rewarding now, do they?
0% APR on Balance Transfers
The First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card doesn’t offer many fancy perks. But it does feature one benefit that is particularly attractive.
New cardholders can take advantage of zero interest for 12 months when they transfer a balance from another credit card. Just remember that the balance you transfer needs to come from a non-First Citizens card in order to take advantage of this offer.
This is a great deal if you have a significant balance on a high-interest credit card. Even if you have several small balances on a few credit cards, this offer is a great way to pay off that debt once and for all.
Now, just because you don’t have to pay interest on the transfer doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily free. You still have to pay a fee for each balance that you transfer over to this card. This can come out to almost $100 for a $3,000 transfer.
This may end up being a small price to pay for being able to pay off your balance interest-free over a year, though.
Additional Visa Perks
The First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card also offers cardholders some additional perks through Visa. These include access to a bunch of exclusive discounts on some very popular products and services. You can check them out here.
Keep in mind, though, that not all Visa discounts are available to Smart Option® cardholders. Remember that this is a basic Visa card. As such, you can’t take advantage of discounts and deals for Visa Platinum or Signature cardholders. Make sure to read the fine print before setting your heart on a discount.
In addition to discounts, Visa cardholders can also benefit from warranty extensions on purchases they make with their credit card. You can extend a manufacturer’s warranty for up to an additional year.
Furthermore, you have access to Visa’s travel emergency services. If you ever experience an emergency while you’re traveling – no matter where you are – you can call a 24/7 toll-free number to get help locating legal services, medical referrals, and even sending messages to loved ones back home.
These benefits may not be major draws of the Smart Option® Card, but they are certainly good additions to this card’s existing benefits.
Should You Apply for the First Citizens Smart Option® Visa® Card?
This credit card is a good match for those who already do their banking with First Citizens. It is a basic credit card you can use as your primary method of payment, provided that you use it responsibly and pay off balances when they are due.
The lower APR can actually be more valuable to you than opting for another card that pays you rewards but charges higher interest rates. The 0% APR on balance transfers is particularly appealing if you are stuck with a significant balance on a higher-interest card.
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