Published on January 28th, 2016 | by William Charles27
Nusenda Federal Credit Union: Platinum Cash Rewards Card 5% Cash Back In Rotating Categories
Update: NMEFCU changed their name to Nusenda Credit Union. We’ve also added the 5% categories for 2016.
This is our first post in a new weekly series we’re doing called Weird Wednesdays where we look at unknown or little known credit cards that might be useful. You can view future posts in this series by clicking here.
The Nusenda Federal Credit Union offers a credit card that offers 5% cash back in rotating categories on the first $1,500 in purchases per quarter. The card has no annual fee. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Chase Freedom & Discover it cards also offer the same rewards program. Those cards have been blogged about to death and this is a new opportunity so let’s delve a little further.
The credit card is called the “Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union” and offers 1% cash back on all purchases that don’t fall within the 5% rotating categories. There is no sign up bonus on this card, but there is a sign up promotion that offers 2% cash back on all purchases for the first 90 days. This isn’t particularly useful as it’s possible to get 2% cash back or more on all of your purchases with other credit cards.
The rotating categories have been the same the five three years. I love the fact that you get two quarters of gas and restaurants, especially since there is no longer any credit cards that get 5% cash back on restaurant purchases year round. Grocery store purchases are also pretty easy to make with the amount of grocery stores that sell $500 Visa gift cards.
|2018||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2017||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2016||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2015||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
|2014||Groceries + Gas Expenses||Movies, Restaurants & Home Improvements||Gas & Education Expenses||Restaurants, Hotels & Airfare|
Redeeming Your Cash
The Nusenda Federal Credit Union website links to the Score Card Rewards website for Cash Rewards redemption information. But as far as I can tell that website only deals with redeeming points (these points seem to be worth less than 1¢ a piece, which is important as they offer a Platinum Rewards card which earns 3x points in the same categories with the same $1,500 limit that earns these points).
I’m not sure what the minimum amount of cash back you need to earn is because of this or what the redeeming process is like.
Membership Qualification & Applying
Join The Credit Union
Update: Turns out you can join by becoming a member of one of their partner organizations. We discuss doing this in this dedicated post.
To join the Nusenda Federal Credit Union you need to open a savings account with a minimum opening deposit of at least $5. You need to either be:
- Employed by one of the select employer groups
- Be a student at one of the participating schools
- A member of certain associations
- Live work, worship or attend school in Socorro county, Taos county or Valencia county which are all in New Mexico
- Have an eligible family member that is already a member
- Or volunteer at one of the participating organizations/charities
I had a pretty good look at everything and I couldn’t find any organizations, associations or charities that had open membership or that could be joined for cheap. But I might have missed something, if you find something then let me know.
Apply Without Joining
It looks like you might not need to be a member of this credit union before you apply for this card. Here is what you’ll need to do:
- Go to the cash rewards cards page
- Click open a cash rewards card
- In the middle you will see “apply for a loan online”, fill out your e-mail and password then click start my application
- Fill out the security questions then click enroll
- Click “apply for a credit card”
- Click “Visa Cash Rewards” and then “next”
- Fill out your information
It does ask you for membership number and how long you’ve been a member for, but this is not compulsory information. I never completed my application, so I am unsure if this will actually work but my gut says that it won’t.
Fees & Other Key Information
- They seem to pull Experian for this card
- A lot of the paperwork needs to be printed out, filled out and snail mailed in to be approved for this card
- Minimum credit limit of $5,000, they might approve for your the Platinum or Platinum Rewards cards if you do not qualify for this credit limit.
- Card has no balance transfer fees
- Comes with a number of benefits outlined here
- Concierge service
- Price protection
- Supplemental auto rental insurance
- Travel & emergency assistance
- $500,000 in travel accident insurance
- Warranty Manager Service
In the end, I decided to not apply for this card. The main reason I decided against it was the fact that there is no sign up bonus, let’s say you value your hard credit pulls at $200 – you’d need to spend $4,000 on this card to recoup that $200.
But if you had $4,000 in purchases you wouldn’t suddenly use cash, you’d use a cash back card that earns at least 2% cash back. That means you need to spend $6,667 to break even which is more than a year maxing out the 5% categories each quarter. Realistically I am not going to max them out every quarter as I already have the Freedom & it cards and I also generally value my hard pulls at more than $200.
This card might still make sense for some people, but for the moment I’m going to pass. If you do decide to sign up for this card, let us know what the process was like in the comments as well as how you redeem your cash back.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to writing more about unknown/little known credit cards. I need you’re help finding them, so if you find something that looks interesting/a bit different then please contact me.