Posted by William Charles on October 6, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on October 6th, 2018 | by William Charles

59

UMB Simply Rewards Visa Credit Card Review – 3x On Gas, Grocery, Discount, Restaurant & Fast Food [20,000 Sign Up Bonus]

Update 10/04/18: Card now comes with a 20,000 point sign up bonus. Hat tip to reader Vista9

UMB offers the Simply Rewards Visa credit card, reader David M sent me a lot of information regarding this card so I thought I’d review it.

 

Card Basics

  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 3x points on gas stations, grocery stores, discount stores, restaurants & fast food
    • 1x point on all other purchases
  • Sign up bonus of 20,000 points after $1,500 in spend within three months
  • Points expire after 5 years
  • Points are worth 1¢ each and can be redeemed in increments of $20, $50 & $100 for gift cards or increments of $25 for statement credit [Update: Looks like points are actually worth 1.5¢ per point]
  • Bank is inquiry sensitive (more than 5-6 inquiries and you’ll be denied)
  • Bank is credit score sensitive (need a score above 700)
  • Card is available to those within their service area (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas). Might be available in other areas under a different label (e.g First National Bank offers same card. This comment covers other states)

Our Verdict

There are cards that earn at a higher rate on gas station, grocery store and restaurant purchases but this is a pretty decent all around card. The problem is that you can earn 2%+ back on all purchases so an additional 1% cash back on some categories with no sign up bonus is most likely not worth it for most people.



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Evan
Evan

Where can I find in what states the card is available? What do you mean by Midwest: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas? Most of these states aren’t in the Midwest.

David
David

The card is “officially” available anywhere UMB has branches. The states above are essentially their service area so this is where applications are taken. While not stated specifically, UMB will likely decline any applications outside of its service area. That said, I am in California and I was able to get the card with some hoops.

EW
EW

Can you confirm if walmart counts as Discount Store for 3% in this card?

RickB
RickB

Sometimes, the coding for the respective stores don’t make too much sense. There are several Walmarts in my hometown of Modesto. The one just down the street from me on Coffee Rd is named Walmart Neighborhood Market. It’s a small sized grocery store, about half of the size of the local grocery markets such as Safeway. On McHenry, we have the Walmart Supercenter. It’s massive, with about 1/5th of it devoted to groceries… the rest is merchandise. And another big one on Plaza Parkway … about the same, about 1/5h devoted to groceries…

Now follow… the giant supercenter on Mchenry is coded as a grocery store (5411, Huh?). The giant store on Plaza Parkway is coded as a discount store (5310, Huh). And the small one on coffee devoted to groceries is in fact coded as a grocery store. Weird, huh? But the Simply Rewards covers them all. The Target stores in town are also coded as grocery, 5411.

So, most of the coding is logical but some is not. You can learn to look this all up as I did, with an MCC lookup website, that will allow you to look up the stores yourself. TIP. Best way to look up is not to use the name of the store (leave it blank). Just use address, then look at the results below of the stores at or near that address, find your store and code that way. No mistakes that way. If you put the store name in and add the address, its a mess. You’ll understand if you try it yourself

Z
Z

Does UMB still accept California residents?

EW
EW

after the demise of sallie mae, if this card gives 3% cb on walmart, then it is the closest replacement as other cards like amex blue cash don’t give 3% cb on discount stores like walmart.

David
David

Yes, this card covers both Discount Stores (non-supercenters) and Grocery Stores (supercenter) Walmarts.

David
David

What’s nice is that this card also covers “Discount Stores”, which blankets also non-supercenters whereas SallieMae only covered Grocery Stores, which only supercenters qualify for the 5% (at least in this area).

projectx
projectx

Don’t try for the card if you’re not in their area. When I applied a year ago the terms were vague, so I called into clarify. CSR told me anyone in the continental US is eligible. So I applied. And then was rejected two weeks later for being outside of their geographical area.

EW
David
David

These card are known to UMB as affinity cards, and have different location requirements. I was able to get one of these affinity Simply Rewards card even though I am in California, although a recon call is required for a reconsideration (although the denial reason was not out of location, but supposedly due to a system error).

Mike
Mike

Which card did you apply for?

Wong
Wong

Hey David, which bank did you apply at for this card? None of them appear to allow out-of-state applicants.

Mimi
Mimi

I checked the UMB catalog for points redemption and didn’t find an option for statement credit or deposit to bank account? Is there any in case I missed it?

David
David

It only appears after you login – it doesn’t show in the catalog.

Jeff H

Bank statement is offered. They list it as Account Credit.
I did not find ACH to bank option. I did not find any vCGs offered.
Some examples that I selected:

https://i.imgur.com/9ALtU3Y.jpg

Jeff H

See also my Reddit coments:
https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/9jm0r5/bank_account_bonus_week_of_september_28_2018/e726yw6/

Link in that post was DoC’s previous review.

jf
jf

I really really really want this card some day! Wish we had some data points on what their limits and post promo rates are like with regards to credit score!

David
David

I can tell you that I have a 20k CL with a 815 credit score. Was initially denied for “insufficient credit” (yeah right…), but was told after a recon that it was due to a system error and was approved w/ a 20k CL after a phone call.

Bodiddely
Bodiddely

More than 5-6 inquiries in the last 2 years and they will deny? Wow that is harsh.

Ian
Ian

Between DoC, Fat Wallet, and the FICO forums, there’s not much in terms of data points for this card (or any of the affinity cards), so I decided to be a guinea pig and apply for it. I found a bank in my state that offers an affinity card and applied by clicking through that bank’s website. No automatic decision online. Within 3 days, I got a call from UMB (though they only identified themselves as calling from Kansas City on behalf of ___ Bank) asking me to confirm that I actually applied for the card (I’m guessing it’s because I don’t have an existing relationship with the affinity bank). Within 2 weeks, I got an approval letter and the card via U.S. Mail on same day but in separate envelopes. For data point purposes, they pulled TU (as I expected, based on those who posted their experiences). I had two HPs on my TU credit report prior to applying (both credit card applications: 1 in the last 6 months and the other in the last year). The approval letter also gave information on the TU credit score UMB used to make the lending decision (mine was 787) and the credit score percentile compared to the rest of the U.S. population (supposedly 787 is in the 71%ile). I was approved for a $5500 credit line, so I got a VISA Signature card. The card itself bears the name of the affinity bank, and the information accompanying the card is really sparse, with no mention of how to open an online account or any details on the card’s rewards structure. Hope this helps.

HoKo
HoKo

Thanks Ian, how has your experience been over the past 12 months? Are you doing any MS at grocery store with it?

Ian
Ian

I’ve found the card to be pretty solid. I really like the U.S.-based customer service and the fact that you can reach a customer service agent by phone very quickly.

I also like that you are credited points for purchases within a couple of days of the purchase, not only after the statement posts. Also, you can see the number of points you get for *each* purchase, so you’ll be able to tell which purchases, if any, did not get credited for the points you thought you would get.

The only issue I’ve faced is getting cash back rewards corrected when I was credited the incorrect amount. It took a couple of weeks of follow-up to actually get the issue resolved. While such a process is normal for some institutions like Citi (ugh), this is the type of issue that could have gotten resolved within minutes on the phone with a front-line a customer service agent at Chase and Discover.

Wong
Wong

How sensitive is this bank to cycling or MSing activities?

Rudy
Rudy

This is the worst card ever. I have had terrible experiences since the time i got this card.
1) First, the rewards site did not work and you had to create a separate account for that.
2) Then thankfully they had a falling out with the rewards vendor and changed the vendor, but you had to call 2 separate departments.
3) I had applied to 2 other credit cards in a span of one month that I wanted for gas and utilities, and a few weeks later I got a letter saying that they deactivated my account because of “too many inquiries” on my credit report. I have excellent credit and have not had a single late payment. I have never seen any finance company have this rule. UMB and Card Services, have very questionable business processes
4) Trying to get someone to talk to is like trying to make an appointment with the president. It is so hard to get someone on the phone, because UMB bank has so many subsidiaries, such as Card Services, franchising this credit card.

Fair warning guys, if you decide to get this card, dont plan on getting any other cards for at least a year, otherwise they shut yours down.
Its a huge waste of time for 3% on groceries if you ask me.

Aaron
Aaron

Wow. Thanks for posting this. I just got denied for being out of the market area. I was under the impression that as long as they have a branch in my state, which they do, then I qualify. I came back to this post for info on how to recon & saw your comment. I intend to churn some cards next year so I’m sure they’d close my account. Not worth wasting a 5/24 slot!

EW
EW

I was browsing through rewards redemption program for points awarded by the UMB Simply Rewards and it seems like each reward point is equal to 1.5 cents when redeeming for Visa or Store GC’s.

https://www.dreampoints.com/umbconsumer/product.php?gift=true&seq=4&product=25725&brand=00350&model=6198-0200&currentpage=&searchString=

This card has been previously reported by DoC as giving 3% CB on the same categories I could not find the redemption ratio for statement credit as I don’t have an account, but someone holding this card could confirm. So if we go by the visa GC redemption ratio, getting 3 points for Groceries + Dining + Discount Stores (Walmart?) + Gas would be equivalent to 4.5% CB which would make it an enviable card.

Ian
Ian

I have an affinity card, and I am not seeing the 1 point = 1.5 cents redemption options for Visa or Store GCs on my account. In fact, I don’t even have the option of redeeming for a Visa GC in my rewards catalog. I can’t say whether what you’re citing is only an option for those with UMB-branded cards.

EW
EW

Ok that deepens the mystery! Thanks!

EW
EW

One of the commentors Rudy mentioned “Then thankfully they had a falling out with the rewards vendor and changed the vendor, ”

I wonder if they are on a transition period and some of the affinity banks have not yet transitioned to the new rewards vendor which is what you are seeing

EW
EW

My previous link might have been dead/timed out so re-posting the link

https://www.dreampoints.com/umbconsumer/featured-merchandise.php

EW
EW

So I found the discrepancy. It seems like as of now UMB has 2 different websites discussing rewards redemption scheme. One is http://redeemsimplyrewards.umb.com which is where umb card holders are directed to for redemption.

The other is https://www.dreampoints.com/umbconsumer/ which is what visitors to the umb simply rewards application page are directed to.

The former has a redemption rate of 1c/pt, the latter has 1.5c/pt.

My guess is, atleast, as of now, the latter is just a fake demo site to show visitors how redemption works.

Rick B
Rick B

Sometimes, the coding for the respective stores don’t make too much sense. There are several Walmarts in my hometown of Modesto. The one just down the street from me on Coffee Rd is named Walmart Neighborhood Market. It’s a small sized grocery store, about half of the size of the local grocery markets such as Safeway. On McHenry, we have the Walmart Supercenter. It’s massive, with about 1/5th of it devoted to groceries… the rest is merchandise. And another big one on Plaza Parkway … about the same, about 1/5h devoted to groceries…

Now follow… the giant supercenter on Mchenry is coded as a grocery store (5411, Huh?). The giant store on Plaza Parkway is coded as a discount store (5310, makes sense). And the small one on coffee devoted to groceries is in fact coded as a grocery store. But the Simply Rewards covers them all. The Target stores in town are also coded as grocery, 5411.

So, most of the coding is logical but some is not. You can learn to look this all up as I did, with an MCC lookup website, that will allow you to look up the stores yourself. TIP. Best way to look up is not to use the name of the store (leave it blank). Just use address, then look at the results below of the stores at or near that address, find your store and code that way. No mistakes that way. If you put the store name in and add the address, its a mess. You’ll understand if you try it yourself

Rick B
Rick B

If you are a resident of California and you are interested in this card, search on the First National Bank of Staunton. You will see the UMB rewards listed on their site.

I applied and got a 20 day wait notice…Lo and behold, the card arrived in my mailbox in five day.No contact whatsoever. I have a good credit profile with scores at the 800 level, but I wasn’t sure they would approve me because of my California residence.

The cards are branded with a small FNB logo, and the word, Visa. On the back, it says the issuer is UMB. But the included disclosures and information are not much. First thing to do is start an account with cardcenterdirect.com. Then start using the cards. The transactions will populate. After you make a payment, a new section will fill, “rewards” with an included link. Then, it all starts making sense. I checked if I were given the correct amount of points, etc.. and I was.. but it’s all a bit difficult to figure. If you are good with this kind of stuff, go for it.. The customer service number might be helpful.. I find it a very good substitute for the old Sallie Mae Card, in fact in many ways it is better…

I kept that card that replaced the Sallie Mae Card, Commence. I used it just recently to help boost my credit limit when Barclay gave me a low number on the JetBlue Plus approval. Barclay was very helpful and moved the Commence credit limit over to JetBlue. So, Im happy now, got rid of the crappy Commence card and replaced the Sallie Mae with this First National Bank card (UMB simply rewards)

Al
Al

You could get the Bank of the West Cash Rewards World MC, with 3% cash-back on Grocery, 3% on Gas, and 3% on Restaurants including fast foods, the only cap is on Gas with $1500 per quarter otherwise no cap for Restaurants or Groceries. They are local in CA and you would’ve been qualified with no hoops. Cashbacks are automatically applied as statement credit to holder’s account every 3 months with no considerable minimum only if less than 5 cents or so. I think this is the best replacement for Sallie Mae card. I wanted to change mine to Uber and they deny partner-branded card switches hence I closed the stupid Commence card and said bye to Barclay for good. I don’t care for their business conducts anymore and guess Uber card will be short-lived like Sallie Mae, too good to be truth for long. Thanks for your info and feed back on UMB/First National. ~ Al

Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer

Will going through Staunton still qualify for the 20k sign up bonus? Not seeing anything on their app mentioning the bonus..

Shirley
Shirley

Know your comment is old so don’t know if you’ll respond but you say if in California to search for First National Bank of Staunton. I did but they are in Illinois.

Are you saying they will accept California residents for the card even though they are in Illinois?

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