If anyone told me that there’s a credit card whose cashback points can be used to pay off part of my student loan, I probably wouldn’t believe it. However, that was before I learned about the Earnest credit card.
I won’t blame you if you haven’t heard about this digital credit card because the company is known more for its loans, particularly its student loans. The Earnest credit card has a lot more to offer beyond this feature.
What piqued my interest the most is its elevated cashback reward system, which I will discuss later. In this article, I will talk about the card, its features, interest rates and fees, and how you can apply for one.
- The Earnest Credit Card – Cashback and More
- A Look at the Features of the Earnest Credit Card
- Interest Rates to Remember for the Earnest Credit Card
- Applying for an Earnest Credit Card
- How to Redeem the Cashback You Earned
- The Earnest Credit Card Mobile App for Android
- The Earnest Credit Card Mobile App for iOS
The Earnest Credit Card – Cashback and More
One of the unique features of this digital credit card from Earnest is that uses an elevated cashback reward system. This means that you will receive the highest cashback percentage on things you spend the most.
Aside from maximizing your cashback, the Earnest credit card also enables users to put this cashback toward any student loan, even those from other lending companies. They can also be redeemed as a statement credit.
According to Earnest, it takes only a few minutes to apply for the card and will be usable pending approval.
The Earnest credit card is powered by fintech firm Deserve and is issued by Utah-based industrial bank Celtic Bank.
Get to Know Earnest as a Company
When getting a credit card, it’s important for me to get to know the company first before proceeding with the application. The San Francisco-based fintech lending firm is mostly known for its education financing products.
Its top offerings are student loan refinancing and private student loans, but it has also launched personal loan products and the credit card we’re discussing here. It uses a merit-based lending process in evaluating applicants.
Earnest not only considers the credit score, known as the FICO score, of an applicant in its assessment, but it also looks at the applicant’s education, employment, and other financial information.
A Look at the Features of the Earnest Credit Card
Going back to the elevated cashback system, I learned that the Earnest credit card gives out 3% cashback on what you spend the most on during a billing cycle. It doesn’t matter if it’s on travel, groceries, or restaurants.
Meanwhile, your second top spending category will earn a cashback rate of 2%. All other purchases aside from the top two categories will earn you an unlimited 1% cashback when you use the Earnest credit card.
However, keep in mind that cashback is only earned from purchases. In addition, the 3% and 2% cashback categories are each subject to a cashback cap of $500.
Other Notable Features of the Card
I also liked that aside from the cashback, Earnest offers a $100 bonus to new cardholders if they are able to spend at least $1,000 during the first three billing cycles.
The application process for getting the card only takes a few minutes to complete. While an application is pending approval, the company allows the applicant to start using the card.
One thing I’m wary about when it comes to credit cards is fraud. But I can use the card with Apple Pay to make transactions touchless. Earnest also uses encryption to make sure that the card is secure.
Interest Rates to Remember for the Earnest Credit Card
When shopping for a credit card, I always look at the interest rates, charges, and fees that come with using it. This is to understand what to do and avoid getting surprised when receiving my statements monthly.
The Earnest credit card has an annual percentage rate (APR) of between 15.99% to 22.99% based on the cardholder’s creditworthiness during application. This may change with the market depending on the Prime Rate.
APR for balance transfers and cash advances are not applicable since these transactions are not available with this card.
To avoid paying interest, be sure to pay the entire balance at least 23 days after the end of each billing cycle.
Other Fees and Charges to Keep in Mind
What I like about the card is that it has no annual fees or foreign transaction fees. Similarly, there are no applicable balance transfer fees and cash advance fees.
However, there are certain penalty fees that users should watch out for. Late payments incur a fee of up to $25. Meanwhile, returned payment fees can reach up to $37.
Thankfully, I saw no over-the-credit limit fees that the credit card imposes. Some fees may also be imposed for special transactions, including an expedited payment fee, copying fee, and express delivery fee.
Applying for an Earnest Credit Card
Currently, applications to get the Earnest credit card are still on a waitlist. Those who want to avail of the card will need to sign up for the waitlist and will be notified once it becomes available.
The lender, however, has already listed some of the information needed to apply for it. To apply, you will need to provide your legal name, your date of birth, a valid US mailing and residential address, and telephone numbers.
You will also be asked to supply your Social Security Number, passport number, as well as other available government identification numbers.
Other Information Needed to Apply
Since getting a credit card is a financial transaction, I was not surprised that it requires information about an applicant’s income, employment, and assets. Of course, citizenship status and information are also important.
And since Earnest uses merit-based lending, the company will also ask for your educational history and information, as well as other related information as it deems necessary.
How to Redeem the Cashback You Earned
Because earning cashback is a primary feature of the Earnest credit card, I also wanted to discuss how to redeem it. Cashback can be used as a statement credit or to repay your student loan debt and does not have an expiration.
Using your cashback as statement credit means it will be deducted from your card balance, but it wouldn’t be considered for your minimum payment.
If you decide to use your cashback to repay a student loan, you will need to provide your student loan information. Earnest will send a check to the loan provider on your behalf.
Company Contact Information
For questions and concerns, cardholders may use the live chat on the website or contact (888) 601-2801 from Monday to Friday between 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST, excluding holidays.
Earnest’s corporate headquarters is located at 303 2nd St, Fl 4, San Francisco, California, 94107, United States.
The Earnest Credit Card Mobile App for Android
Aside from Earnest’s website, I can monitor and manage the credit card using the Earnest mobile app. Fortunately, It is free to download and use for both Android and iOS users.
Android users will find the app on the Google Play Store in the Finance category under the name “Earnest Card”.
Downloading and Installing the Android App
The Earnest Credit Card mobile app has a file size of 101 MB and will require your device to run on Android 7.0 and up in order to function properly.
To start the download process, tap on the Install button.
After all the files have been installed onto the device, you can launch the app by clicking the Open button on the app’s page on the Google Play Store. You can also launch it from your device’s app tray.
The Earnest Credit Card Mobile App for iOS
Meanwhile, iOS device users will find the mobile app on the Apple App Store in the Finance category under the name “The Earnest Credit Card”.
To download the Earnest Credit Card mobile app, tap on the Get button and wait for the entire download process to complete.
Once all files have been downloaded, the app will automatically start installing on your iOS device.
Downloading and Installing the iOS App
The iOS version requires 235.5 MB of free space and iOS 13.0 or later to work on both the iPhone and the iPod touch.
The Bottom Line
The Earnest credit card is a great option for people looking to maximize their cashback rewards and use them to repay their existing student loans. I recommend that you sign up for the waitlist if you think this is a card that you might need.
Note: There are risks involved when applying for a credit card. Consult the company’s terms and conditions page for more information.