Review: BBVA Compass Credit Cards

BBVA Compass offers 4 credit cards, all of which are interesting but none of which are particularly exciting when compared to other cards on the market. Our overview / review of each card is below, including thoughts on other cards to which you might compare these:

  • The BBVA Compass ClearPoints Credit Card is a cash back / points card with a “Build Your Own Rewards” formula that gives you 3 points per dollar in one spending category, 2 points per dollar in another category, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. (You choose the 3X and 2X categories from a list of 10 possible spending categories.) Also offers a 0% interest rate on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 13 months you have the card (though there is a fee for balance transfers of 4% of the amount transferred). Not a bad card, but you are likely to find better options on our Cash Back Credit Cards page.
  • The BBVA Compass Rewards Card is a “flat” cash back credit card, meaning you get a flat 1.5% cash back rate on everything you buy with the card. If you are a regular BBVA customer, you also have the opportunity to increase that 1.5% cash back rate to 2% cash back if you have direct deposit set up to a BBVA deposit account with at least $1000 being deposited into the account each month.
  • The BBVA Compass Visa Select comes with an annual fee of $125 (waived for the first year). For that hefty fee, you have the potential to get somewhat greater rewards. Like the ClearPoints Card, you have a “Build Your Own Rewards” formula, but in this case, you get 3 points per dollar in one spending category of your choice, 2 points per dollar in 2 other spending categories of your choice, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. You can also earn an additional 1000 points ($10) in any month you spend at least $5000 with the card. Also offers some standard travel benefits such as lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation insurance, etc. New cardholders can get 20,000 bonus points if the card is used for at least $2000 in purchases in the first 90 days. A good card in the first year, a little harder to justify once the $125 annual fee kicks in.
  • The Optimizer Credit Card is a very different animal — it is a secured credit card aimed at people with poor credit or those with no credit history at all. You must make a security deposit in order to get the card, and you will then get a credit line equal to the size of your deposit. You pay the card off each month like any other, and you get your deposit back when you give up the card; the deposit only exists as a safety in case you don’t make your payments. Assuming you do pay on time each month, you will begin to build a good credit history and eventually you will likely be able to get an unsecured credit card that does not require a deposit. There is a $40 annual fee that is not part of the deposit. This card is a little more expensive than other secured credit cards on the market.