For students and parents seeking to reduce the financial burden of higher education, the Upromise World MasterCard is a potentially valuable tool. With its generous cash back rewards program, it's possible to make a significant dent in college expenses now and student loan repayment down the road simply by using the card. But, since Barclay took over the administration of the program from Bank of America, there have been rumblings of discontent from several Upromise World MasterCard cardholders.
Who Is the Upromise World MasterCard Designed For?
The Upromise World MasterCard is primarily designed to facilitate spending and transactions related to higher education. Cardholders may be students or their parents, but must be at least 18 years old and members of the free Upromise program. Otherwise, the card looks and operates just as any other MasterCard does and can be used for other transactions.
Are There Annual Fees?
There are no annual fees.
Does the Upromise World MasterCard Offer Rewards?
Cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back when they make puchases via the Upromise Online Mall (including travel and dining expenses) plus an additional 5 percent cash back when they pay for such purchases. Cardholders can also earn 2 percent cash back on eligible department store and movie theater purchases. Addtionally, cardholders can earn 1 percent cash back on everything else. Rewards can be redeemed as deposits in a high yield savings account, invested in a 529 plan, applied toward existing Sallie Mae student loan payments or disbursed by check once each month.
Are There Foreign Transaction Fees?
Foreign transactions are subject to a 3 percent fee for each transaction, in U.S. Dollars, which is ironic, given the name of the card.
Are There Late Payment or Other Penalty Fees?
Late payment and returned payment penalties are 15 dollars for cardholders who were Iowa residents when they opened their accounts. Late and returned payment penalties are up to 37 dollars each for everyone else. Cash advances are charged either 10 dollars or 5 percent for each transfer, whichever is greater.
For students and their families, the Upromise World MasterCard represents one resource to help reduce the financial load. Its cash back program is generous and based on purchases that cardholders are likely to make anyway. But individuals seeking travel related and other rewards, or who travel abroad frequently, may do better to look elsewhere.