Ever since the Credit Card Act of 2009 became law, consumers have watched as one credit card company after another has raised interest rates. I’ve had several people tell me their rates have gone up 5% or even 10% for absolutely no apparent reason. They didn’t miss a payment, they haven’t lost their job, and yet their credit card company still raised their rates.
Their is one little known credit card issuer, however, that has kept their interest rates really low. The Visa cards are issued by Simmons First National Bank. Simmons opened its first branch more than 100 years ago in 1903. Headquartered in Arkansas, Simmons First National is the kind of small local bank that today has become harder and harder to find. Here’s how Simmons Bank describes their philosophy:
We believe our philosophy of putting you, our customer, first has been the key to our success. It’s a philosophy that stresses the importance of providing our customers with a warm, friendly and competent staff offering the very best in quality services and products.
We appreciate this opportunity to serve you, and we want to earn your business and loyalty by pledging to offer the highest level of service to you on a safe, sound and competitive basis.
So let’s look at the Simmons First credit cards. Before we dive into the details, it’s important to stress that both of the Simmons First National Bank cards are excellent credit credit cards. While each credit card issuer has their own definition of what “excellent credit” means, generally it means that you pay your bills on time, already have at least one credit card, and have a credit history that’s at least several years old. It also generally means you have a fico credit score in the 700s or higher. If you have excellent credit, the interest rates offered by the Simmons Visa cards are hard to beat.
Simmons First Platinum Visa Card
The Simmons First Platinum Visa credit card comes with one of the lowest variable interest rates available on any card. At just 4% above the prime rate, the card’s current interest rate is an incredible 7.25%. And the card comes with a no fee balance transfer with the same low rate. While it’s not a 0% balance transfer offer, the fact that it has no fee and a low rate (with no expiration) makes it competitive with other transfer offers currently available.
The Simmons Platinum Visa is designed for those looking for a no frills card with a low interest rate. The card does not offer a rewards program, which is why it can offer such a low rate. In fact, even its penalty interest rate is lower than the regular APR on many cards. The grace period to pay off your card to avoid any interest charges is 25 days. There is no annual fee for the card, and the card offers $1 million in accidental travel insurance.
Simmons First Platinum Visa Rewards Card
The Simmons Platinum Visa Rewards card is ideal for those looking for a low interest rate and the option of earning travel rewards. The interest rate on the Visa Rewards card is a variable rate that is 6% above the prime rate, making the current rate 9.25%. While that is two percentage points higher than the Simmons Platinum Visa card, you also earn travel rewards.
Here is Simmons’ description of the travel rewards program:
Cardholders *receive one point per net dollar spent on their VISA Platinum Travel Rewards credit card. The cardholder has their choice of any U.S. based airline, no black out dates, choice of ticket class, and no seating restrictions. Other travel related options are hotels, cruises, vacation packages, car rental and restaurants. The program offers a one-stop process for redemption and is supported by a toll-free service number.
One of the really nice features about the Simmons travel reward program is that you can redeem as few as 10,000 points for travel rewards. It use to be that you need to have enough points to pay for an entire airline ticket (typically 25,000). With the Simmons card, however, you can redeem as few as 10,000 points for $100 off any airline ticket. The other great feature is that at only 22,000 miles, you can earn a domestic airline ticket at no cost.
And just to give you something to shoot for–if you earn enough miles, you can get a free first class ticket around the world. How many miles do you need? 600,000!