I have a fair number of gamer friends, so I often get caught up in conversations about World of Warcraft. Usually I let my eyes glaze over, and try to pretend I’m somewhere else, with friends that don’t play WoW. But lately I’ve been spinning the conversation around, trying to gauge how my gamer friends feel about the new WoW credit card. The response so far as been universally: “It’s a good card, I was thinking about getting it.”
In my stupor, I forgot to ask them how they define a “good card.” So I figured I’d take a look at the card myself, and give an evaluation.
Pretty! – This credit card has some flashy ways of trying to pull WoW players into getting the card. First of all, they’re offering 13 different designs to choose from – enough that every single player can find one that makes them say “Oooo, pretty!” However, that’s completely irrelevant as to whether it’s a good card or not. My credit card is black with purple glitter! Doesn’t make it awesome.
Rewards – The main pull of the card is the rewards program. The site defines it as “Accrue World of Warcraft gametime at the rate of 1% of every dollar in qualifying purchases.” What that means, in English: For every $1,500 you charge to the card, you get a free month of WoW. You also get one free month just for getting the card and using it once.
A 1% rewards program is pretty pitiful. Also, the points you earn aren’t transferable to anything else, even to another WoW account. So if you decide to stop playing WoW (it could happen!), you can’t get anything else with your accumulated points, and you can’t sell that month of access to anyone else. You’re stuck. Tricksy way to keep you playing WoW? Yeah, I think so.
But if you’re truly gung-ho about the game, and have no plans to ever give it up, then this is a fair reward for you. But just to put it in perspective: if you were to only charge your monthly WoW access on the card (and nothing else), it would take you 100 months (over 8 years) to earn a free month of play.
Introductory 0% APR – This, as far as I can see, is the best feature the card is touting. 0% APR for 12 months on all purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfers still carry a 3% fee, up to $75, but that’s becoming pretty standard. The rates after the intro period are actually pretty good – if your credit is excellent, you’ll get 9.99%, if it’s good, 11.99%, and less than good, 13.99%. Of course the rate is variable – they can change it on you at any time for any reason. Standard icky credit card practice.
The rest of the terms of the credit card are rather important, but I’m willing to bet most people don’t look at them, or do, but don’t understand them. But they’re still really important to know before you apply for any card.
Cash Advance APR: 23.85% – Don’t get a cash advance. They’re so painful!
Penalty Rate APR: up to 31.85% – The rate you’ll get if you’re late on a payment. I’m willing to bet there’s also a Universal Default clause hidden in here somewhere. That means this is the rate you’ll get if you’re late on ANYTHING – even your electric bill or your cell phone bill.
Grace Period: not less than 20 days – This is the amount of time from when your statement ends for the month until they start charging interest. Pay your bill in full in this time frame, and you’ll never be charged interest.
Method of Computing the Balance for Purchases: Average daily balance (including new purchases). – This is good. What you don’t want to see here is “two cycle billing.”
Annual fee: None. – Good! Unless a rewards card is really, really, spectacular, and you know you’re going to charge enough to take advantage of it, you never want to pay an annual fee.
Over Limit Fee: $35
Late Payment Fee: $35 if your New Balance is less than $500; or $39 if your New Balance is equal to or greater than $500.
These fees are painful, but pretty standard. Remember, not only will you be charged the late fee, but your interest rate might jump to upwards of 31.85%.
So… good card?
Yeah, it qualifies, if you’re an avid WoW player who’s going to charge enough to get the real benefit out of it. The 0% APR intro period is nice, too. Just remember, once that intro period is over, you have to pay your balance in full every month, or else the interest charges will almost certainly cancel out your rewards.