Last updated on March 1st, 2023
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At a Glance
The Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards earns enhanced rewards and enjoys a simple bonus – all for no annual fee. The card rewards New Yorkers with every purchase and no cap on earnings.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Already bank with Sterling National Bank or have family that bank with them
- Want to have a six-month, 0% APR cushion to pay down purchases or smaller credit balances
- Prefer to earn a flat-rate 1.5X points over confusing reward structures
- Don’t want to pay an annual fee
Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card Review
The Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card is a no-fuss cash back card that rewards with everyday spending.
How to Earn Rewards
The card earns its rewards through a fixed-rate 1.5X points on every purchase. This 1.5X points is equivalent to 1.5% cash back. This potential earning places the card on a level playing field with many other leading cash back rewards cards. Other notable examples include the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Cash Magnet from American Express. The fact that the Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card earns a similar amount to similar products from leading issuers is excellent. That greatness, however, must be tempered with the knowledge that rewards points expire after five years. Points with issuers like Chase and AMEX never expire. That said, five years is ample time to rack up an impressive haul of points.
Introductory Bonus Point Offer
The Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card also comes with an additional 2,500-point bonus after the first purchase. While 2,500 points won’t attract any new applicants, it is still $25 worth of cash back. And, even better, that reward comes with no minimum spend requirements. Purchase some gum with the card? You’ll get the bonus points. It’s that simple.
The Value of Rewards Points
Points from the card are applicable in the Elan Rewards Program. Elan Financial Services is the issuer of Sterling Nation Bank cards and runs the program. The value of Elan Rewards is one cent per point. That value derives from the cash back reward rate, which is $25 for 2,500 points.
How to Redeem Points
Points are redeemable as travel (airfare, hotels, and more), gift cards, or merchandise. Cash back options include statement credit or deposits into Sterling National Bank savings or checking accounts. The best value, however, lies in cash back. That one-cent return is decent, but not exceptional. Chase, for instance, has a point value of approximately two cents per point.
Introductory interest-Free Period
New Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card accounts also benefit from 0% intro APR for the first six months. This initial interest-free period extends to both purchases and balance transfers. No interest on balance transfers is a nice perk, though the six months isn’t going to help those with significant balances pay them off. It is enough, however, to help get balances in check – and that is critical for people looking to earn rewards while wrangling their current debts. The period can also help those with smaller balances pay them off. The 0% intro APR on purchases also isn’t extraordinary but given that the card earns 1.5X points on everything, is a good chance to receive beaucoup points – without interest. This allows new accounts to plan a larger purchase, reap the rewards, and pay the balance off over the ensuing six months. Of course, any spending plan must first come with an understanding that after the six months ends, the interest will accumulate. It’s therefore essential to only spend what you can afford to pay back.
Competitive, Variable APR
Once that introductory APR period finishes, the typical APR with the card is competitive. The APR is in line with the national average rates for a cash back card. That is, after all, what this card is. Those with excellent credit scores can expect an APR of around 15% to 16%. Those with credit scores under 700 can expect an APR that rises into the 20%. Again, this is comparable to other cards on the market.
Should You Apply for the Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card?
The Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card is a quality option for those who currently bank with Sterling. The 1.5X points it earns makes it a reliable choice on par with many other no annual fee Cards. The 0% intro APR and competitive rates after that help too. The major letdown with the card is the value of Elan points – the currency it earns. That value is one cent per point, which is reasonable. Unfortunately, other lenders like Chase offer double the value of the rewards. Their programs also have better options for redemptions.
Chase also matches points with many leading hotel chains and airlines. The same can be said for American Express. Ultimately, the Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card appeals to current Sterling customers, New Yorkers, and anyone that wants the benefit of a flat-rate rewards card and the customer service that comes from a smaller bank. And for those individuals, the Sterling National Bank Visa® Real Rewards Card offers enough value to worthy consideration.