The new “Blispay Visa Card,” issued by First Electronic Bank out of Utah, wants to completely change the credit card game. And yes, there’s only one “S” in their name, it’s not a typo.
It’s a somewhat odd proposal but one that could certainly separate the Blispay Visa from the credit card crowd. Allow me to explain how it works because it’s a bit complex.
2% Cash Back Automatically with Blispay Visa Card
First off, they’re offering 2% cash back on all purchases. This matches similar offers from Fidelity Amex and Citi Double Cash, but beats several other cards that only offer 1.5% cash back, such as the new Chase Freedom Unlimited.
However, they’re making that 2% redemption rate even better by rebating your cash back automatically in the form of a statement credit. So you don’t need to spend a minimum amount to get your cash back, nor are you required to manually redeem your cash back.
That’s the first unique aspect of the Blispay Visa Card. But there’s something even more interesting, yet potentially dangerous for cardholders.
Purchases Over $199 = No Interest + No Payments for 6 Months
If you make a purchase over $199 with your Blispay Visa, you’ll get six months of no payments and no interest if it’s eventually paid in full within six months.
In other words, if your purchases are always over $199, you get six months to pay them off each time without incurring finance charges.
They refer to this type of transaction as a “No Payments No Interest purchase” and you can view these purchases in the Promos section of your account at Blispay to ensure they qualify.
Here’s the hitch. If you don’t pay off these purchases in full within the six-month period, interest will be charged to your account at the card’s APR of 19.99% from the date it posted.
So they will essentially charge you interest retroactively at a rate of 19.99% for the entire six months if it’s not paid off in time.
Obviously this can cost you a pretty penny if you’ve got a large purchase that you failed to make a dent on.
Further complicating the whole deal is the fact that you can make normal purchases at the same time with the Blispay Visa. These are subject to the 19.99% APR as well, but don’t have the payment grace period.
The problem is that once they get commingled it could get confusing determining when each needs to be paid off, especially if you have multiple interest-deferred large purchases mixed with small everyday purchases.
However, Blispay does provide some leeway. If you happen to forget to pay off the promotional balance by the expiration date, you can still make a payment between the expiration date and the next payment due date.
For example, if one of your $200 purchases has an expiration date of June 5th and your payment due date is June 15th, you get those 10 extra days to pay it off in full without being charged the accrued interest.
This Is Getting Really Confusing…
But that leads us to payment allocation, which determines where payments you make wind up.
If you simply make a minimum payment each month it will go toward the highest interest balance first, as dictated by law.
Assuming you have a No Payments No Interest purchase on your Blispay Card, any amount above the minimum payment will go toward that balance first if it’s made during the last two months before the expiration date. Otherwise it goes toward your higher interest balances first.
Confused yet? I am, which I why I think this hybrid store card/credit card could land some less sophisticated spenders in trouble.
It’s certainly a novel idea, and one that could give consumers breathing room to make larger purchases and avoid paying interest entirely. But you need to be really disciplined to avoid any missteps here.
If I were to use the Blispay Visa, I’d probably only use it for one No Payments No Interest purchase at a time to avoid any confusion or misallocation of payments.
For me, it’s simply too confusing to use it as an everyday credit card and also a store card with special financing. I see too many potential gotchas if you’re not extremely careful.
But, as mentioned, if you use it for one purchase at a time, you essentially get 0% APR for six months and 2% cash back. That’s pretty sweet!