bank rates

M&T Bank Has Good Credit Card Deals

Several smaller local and regional banks have gotten more aggressive in the credit card business as some of the larger banks, notably Bank of America, have pulled back.

One of those is M&T Bank (www.mtb.com).

Based in Buffalo, N.Y., M&T has more than 700 branches in the mid-Atlantic region and Florida. It also does business in Canada. The bank, which dates back to 1856, when it was known as Manufacturers and Traders Bank, has long operated as a community bank.

It offers very attractive annual percentage rates on its credit cards. Its rewards cards aren’t bad, either.

The bank’s no-frills Visa card has the lowest APR, just 9.24% if you have excellent credit. There are no rewards with this card, although there’s no annual fee, either.

The bank also offers two rewards cards, which also come with no fees and low APRs, although not quite as low as the no-frills card, but still below the industry average.

For example, the bank’s Visa Credit Card with Rewards has an introductory award of 11,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. That’s enough for a $100 gift card at a variety of retailers, including Amazon, Exxon Mobil and Shell.

After that, you earn one point per dollar.

The M&T Visa Signature Credit Card is nearly identical to the rewards card, although it does carry some additional features.

Here’s a look at the credit card details on M&T’s Visa Signature card:

APR 11.24% to 18.24%; 0% for 12 months on balance transfers.
National Average APR 15.00% (source: CreditCards.com)
Annual Fee None
Rewards One point per dollar on spending; 11,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first three months. No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees.
Verdict Good rewards combined with low APRs make for a good deal.

It appears, based on the online application, this card is available nationally. But calls to M&T to confirm this were not returned.

In addition to the points and introductory bonus, you also get a 10% annual points dividend on your annual spending on the card. For example, if you earned 10,000 points during the year, you’d get an additional 1,000 points on top of that.

There’s also no preset spending limit and no foreign transaction fees, which is important if you travel to Canada or other foreign countries frequently.

You can earn a maximum of 150,000 points a year with the Signature card, double the limit on the Rewards card.

Unredeemed points expire after 48 months on both cards.

All in all, then, the Visa Signature card offers the best value in terms of rewards and interest rate, unless having the lowest APR is more important to you than getting rewards.

The APRs on both rewards cards range from 11.24% for excellent credit to 18.24%.

All three cards also have a 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. There’s a 4% fee on balance transfers.

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