Dollar Shave Club vs. Dorco USA Razor Price Comparison

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Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s are supposedly “disrupting” the shaving industry. Honestly, I don’t get it. Buying a razor is like buying shampoo, soap, or toilet paper. In other words, I buy them in bulk when Costco has a coupon for it. šŸ˜‰ Last time, I bought this set for $1 per 3-blad razor and it lasted me two years. However, after doing some research, I decided to try a different product for 2017 and 2018. (I already tried Harry’s razors and decided it wasn’t for me.)

Did you know that Dollar Shave Club doesn’t even make their own razors? Well, now that they’ve been bought for $1 billion by Unilever, this might change, but for now their 4-blade and 6-blade razors are made by a company named Dorco. Dorco also sells razors directly to US consumers at DorcoUSA.com. Which is the cheaper option?

Dorco USA has regular sales and coupons. There’s always some sort of sale or coupon, so you should never pay full price. You can sign up for their newsletter for updates, although it is a bit annoying to get weekly e-mails when you only buy razors once a year. You can also check the usual coupon sites. In my opinion, I would wait until I see a discount of 40% to 50% off with free shipping. (Maybe I’ll refresh this post once a year when a good sale hits.)

Use a cashback shopping portal too. You can also stack additional savings via cashback shopping portals. Specifically, both BeFrugal and TopCashBack offer 10% cashback at the time of this writing and I can confirm that I got the cash back credited through TopCashBack.

Example deal with 4-blade razors. Right now until 3/25/17, you can get $20 off $50 order with free shipping with code MMadness20. Here’s an example of what you could put together. I’m doing Men’s razors but they have equivalent Women’s razors as well.

The Pace 4 Starter set includes 1 handle and 2 cartridges for $6. The Pace 4 refill set has 4 cartridges and costs $7.15. Buying 1 starter set + 7 refill sets = $6.50 + $50.05 – $20 coupon = $36.05. That’s 30 cartridges total at $1.20 per Dorco 4-blade razor. If you use a 10% cashback portal, that’s $1.08 per razor.

The Pace 4 looks nearly identical (see top image) to the “4X” blade from Dollar Shave Club, which runs $6 for 4 cartridges per month. This works out to $1.50 per Dollar Shave Club 4-blade razor. If you count the $1 first month promo, over a year you’d pay $1.40 per razor.

Example deal with 6-blade razors. The Pace 6 Plus has 6 blades + beard trimmer blade. The Pace 6 Plus starter set with 1 weighted handle and 2 cartridges cost $6.50. Pace 6 refill sets are $9.65 for 4 cartridges. Buying 1 starter set + 5 refill sets = $6.50 + $48.25 – $20 coupon = $34.75. That’s 22 razor cartridges total at $1.58 per 6-blade Dorco razor. If you use a 10% cashback portal, that’s $1.42 per razor.

The Pace 6 Plus looks nearly identical to the “Executive” blade from Dollar Shave Club, which runs $9 for 4 cartridges per month. This works out to $2.25 per 6-blade Dollar Shave Club razor. If you count the $1 first month promo, over a year you’d pay $2.08 per razor.

The specific numbers may change as the promotions vary, but the Dorco razors usually still come out ahead. You may see $10 off $30, $20 off $40, Buy 1 Get 1 Free, etc.

Bottom line. If you are okay buying in bulk (20+ razors), buying directly from Dorco USA can be cheaper than getting what appears to be the same razor from Dollar Shave Club. In the examples above using frequent sale pricing, the savings were roughly 30% off. You also avoid a recurring subscription (always try to automate savings, not spending).

(How are the Pace 4 razors? In my non-fussy opinion, they are fine. They are slightly nicer than my 3-blade razors from Costco, but that’s about it. So far, it appears they will last about the same length of time as well.)

Groupon Deal: Sam’s Club Membership + $10 Gift Card for $30

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Groupon has a Sam’s Club Plus membership deal where for $30 you get the following:

  • One-year Samā€™s Club Savings membership ($45 value)
  • Complimentary membership card for a spouse or other household member
  • $10 e-gift card valid online or in-club. Allow 5-7 days for delivery of e-gift card.

If you subtract the $10 gift card value, you are getting a 1-year membership for $20 net. Not bad. I don’t see a hard expiration date. There is also an alternative option where you pay $15 more and get a package of coupons “worth $100” including a free rotisserie chicken ($4.95 value), free dinner rolls ($5.95 value), and free croissants ($5.95 value). Seems a bit too vague for me, but if you love Sam’s Club food items it might be worth it.

They are getting a bit more strict on what it means to be a “new member”:

Offer valid for new Samā€™s Club Members only; not valid for those with a current membership or those who were Samā€™s Club members less than 6 months prior to March 13, 2017. If you need to check your renewal date, call 1.888.746.7726 and choose option #2, then option #1. Please have your membership card or statement on hand. Offer valid for U.S. Samā€™s Clubs only; not valid in Puerto Rico locations.

Remember that you can save even more on your Groupon with a cashback shopping portal. Many offer new customers bonuses if you make a qualifying purchase, including eBates ($10 bonus), TopCashBack ($10 bonus, you see it after entering e-mail), and BeFrugal ($10 bonus). I have cashed out of all of these before.

USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back

usaa_limlessUSAA, which serves members of the U.S. military and their immediate families, has a new cash back rewards card called the USAA Limitlessā„¢ Cashback Rewards Visa SignatureĀ® Card. This card is currently in an online pilot program and is only available for residents in (a growing number of) eligible states. To check your eligibility, visit the USAA credit cards page and select your state of residence. If you see the card listed at the top, your state is eligible. If not, the list has been gradually expanding, so check again later.

The headline feature of this card is flat 2.5% cash back on all purchases, subject to a few hurdles. Here are the highlights:

  • Earn 2.5% cash back on credit card purchases when you have a free USAA Bank checking account with a qualifying direct deposit of at least $1,000 every month.
  • No sign-up bonus.
  • Enjoy unlimited cash back on the amount you can earn.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on credit card purchases without a direct deposit.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee.
  • You must be a USAA member to apply for this card.

Here’s the fine print regarding the $1,000 direct deposit requirement:

Within 90 days of opening your credit card account, you must establish a monthly qualifying direct deposit of at least $1,000 to your USAA Bank checking account. A qualifying direct deposit is a single electronic transfer of at least $1,000 that you initiate with your employer, a government entity or an external financial institution. Funds transfers between USAA accounts are not qualifying direct deposits.

USAA membership eligibility. USAA is focused on serving members of the U.S. military and their immediate families. Here are their membership groups:

  • Active Military. Individuals who are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Navy.
  • Former Military. Those who have retired or separated from the U.S. military with a discharge type of Honorable.
  • Family. Widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage and individuals whose parents joined USAA.
  • Cadets and Midshipmen. Cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, plus officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.

List of eligible states. Here is the current list as stated on the application page, last updated in March 2017. The list has been growing slowly but steadily, so it appears the pilot program is going well and it will be available nationwide eventually. I currently count 26 states.

This product is currently available to members residing in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, ND, NM, NV, NY, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX and WA. It will become available in additional states at a later date.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington

Reader experience. Reader JD shares her positive experience with this card over e-mail. Note that you can redeem with just $1 in rewards.

So far, very easy to use (just started using it 2/22/17). There is a simple button you press (view and redeem rewards), which transfers you to the rewards web page. The rewards are posted almost immediately and you can redeem the rewards at any time as long as you have at least 1 dollar in available rewards. You can then transfer the money as a statement credit or into your USAA checking account (which you must open).

Bottom line. The USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards card offers 2.5% flat cash back on all purchases, which is one of the highest flat rewards percentages currently available. Note that you must (1) be a USAA member, (2) have an open USAA checking account, and (3) maintain a $1,000 direct deposit every single month to maintain the 2.5% cash back rate. If you don’t meet the $1,000 direct deposit requirement, you default back onto 1.5% cash back. USAA membership is limited to members of the U.S. military and their immediate families.

  • USAA Limitlessā„¢ Cashback Rewards Visa SignatureĀ® Card application link

LivingSocial: BJ’s Wholesale Club Membership Discount

bjslogoLivingSocial has a new deal: $50 for a 1-Year BJ’s Membership + $20 BJ’s Gift Card & $55 in Coupon Savings. Offer expires on 3/12. New members only (you could get your spouse or partner to sign-up). Valid at all BJ’s Wholesale Club locations (East coast mostly). The $55 in coupon savings includes:

$5 off any purchase of $50 or more
$5 off any fresh produce purchase of $10 or more
$5 off any Berkley Jensen purchase of $10 or more
$5 off any fresh bakery purchase of $10 or more
$5 off any apparel purchase of $10 or more
$10 off any purchase of $100 or more
$5 off any fresh meat purchase of $10 or more
$5 off any Wellsley Farms purchase of $10 or more
$5 off any frozen purchase of $10 or more
$5 off any health & beauty purchase of $10 or more

If you count the $20 BJ’s gift card, the $50 membership price goes to effectively $30. Additionally, if you can use the $5 off any $50 purchase and $10 off any $100 purchase without changing your shopping habits, that bring the memberships down to effectively $15 a year. That’s not counting the remaining $40 in category-specific coupons.

I am not very familiar with BJ’s Warehouse so I can’t provide a comparison, but this promotion does coincide with Costco announcing a membership price hike from $55 to $60 annually effective 6/1/17.

You can also combine this offer with a cashback shopping portal bonus. Many offer new customers bonuses if you make a qualifying purchase, including eBates ($10 bonus), TopCashBack ($10 bonus, you see it after entering e-mail), and BeFrugal ($10 bonus). I have cashed out of all of these before.

T-Mobile vs. Verizon New Unlimited Data Plans Comparison

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(Update 3/31: T-Mobile’s 2 unlimited lines for $100 now no longer includes free HD video and 10 GB of LTE hotspot data.)

Competition is good. Without the popularity of the T-Mobile unlimited data plan, we wouldn’t have the reluctant, new Verizon Unlimited data plan. In turn, Verizon’s new plan features made T-Mobile improve their deal to include HD video streaming video and 10 GB of LTE tethered hotspot data. In addition, starting 2/17, T-Mobile is running a special promotion of 2 lines with Unlimited data for $100 with taxes and fees included. If you assume $5 on monthly taxes and fees, that works out to $45 + $5 taxes per line. This is nice if you’re a 2-line household like me and are unable to take advantage of the 4-line deals. T-Mobile is effectively $35 + $5 taxes per line if you have 4 lines. You can get these offers online or by calling 1-855-407-3034.

Here is a comparison graphic of the T-Mobile and Verizon Unlimited plans as of 2/17/17. Although created by T-Mobile, I found it fair enough. Adding in an estimated $5 per line in taxes and fees is even low in some geographic areas.

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The final comparison point remains network quality (coverage, reliability, and speed). Although T-Mobile touts their network availability is within 2% of Verizon according to OpenSignal, this still remains a local issue. If T-Mobile doesn’t have coverage in your living room or in the middle if your commute, you don’t care about the rest of the network.

Premium features with a smaller price gap. Usually the “frugal” plans I talk about are MVNOs, but these plans have features that most MVNOs don’t have like:

  • Free voice roaming. For example, the unlimited T-Mobile plan will let you roam on AT&T GSM networks in rural areas where they don’t have voice coverage. Verizon also offers voice roaming onto other networks in areas where they don’t have coverage.
  • 4G LTE hotspot tethering. Most MVNOs either ban tethering or charge extra, including Cricket and Straight Talk.
  • Unlimited high-speed data without throttling. T-Mobile will “network de-prioritize” your data after you use 28 GB in a single cycle, while Verizon will do the same at 22 GB. Basically, if the network is really busy at a specific point in time and you have exceeded those limits, your data speeds may go down. This is different than the “throttling” that other MVNOs do, for example an always-on speed limit of 128 kbps.

For travelers, T-Mobile also includes unlimited international text and 2G data in over 140 countries. While some MVNOs have poor customer service and support via e-mail only (no phone number), the major 4 carriers will at least have humans via 1-800 number.

Bottom line. T-Mobile and Verizon have both improved their Unlimited plan features and lowered the prices recently. While they still cost more than MVNO alternatives, they also offer a few premium features like hotspot tethering that MVNOs usually don’t include. You’ll have to decide if the premium features are worth it at these new price points.

Schwab Matches Mutual Fund and ETF Expense Ratios, Now $4.95 Trades

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Update: Schwab has matched Fidelity’s price cut at $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per options contract, effective March 3, 2017. See press release for details. Everyone is battling for your assets and the ability to scale. (TD Ameritrade also announced a price cut to $6.95 per trade, down from $9.99.)

Original post:

Schwab announced some changes last week regarding their index mutual fund line-up and trade commissions. Here is the press release and a table of the updated mutual fund expenses [pdf]. Here are the highlights:

  • Stock trades now $6.95. Beginning February 3, 2017, the company will reduce its standard online equity and ETF trade commissions from $8.95 to $6.95.
  • Schwab Index mutual fund expense ratios now match their Index ETFs. Starting March 1, 2017, expenses for the Schwab market cap-weighted index mutual funds will be lowered to align with their Schwab ETFsā„¢ equivalents.
  • Schwab Index mutual funds now have no investment minimum. You don’t have to worry about Admiral shares, Premium Class shares, etc.
  • New Satisfaction Guarantee. I’m not sure how this would work in practice, but it says “Simply, if a Schwab client is not satisfied for any reason, Schwab will refund any related commission, transaction fee or advisory program fee paid to the firm.”

Here are the three mutual funds that I would care most about:

  • Schwab Total Stock Market Index Fund mutual fund expense ratio used to be 0.09% while the ETF version cost 0.03%.
  • Schwab International Stock Index Fund mutual fund expense ratio used to be 0.19% while the ETF version was 0.07%.
  • Schwab TIPS Index Fund mutual fund version used to cost 0.19% while the ETF version was 0.05%.

These were pretty big differences, which was why I felt it was rather obvious that Schwab was making their ETFs a loss-leader in order to be slightly cheaper than Vanguard and/or iShares. I’m guessing they are still selling these index products at a loss to gain market share, but it’s nice to see that they have now simplified their expense ratios across the board. The self-directed brokerage option of my 401(k) plan is through Schwab and only allows mutual funds, so this is a positive change for me.

I have been impressed by the committed strategy Schwab has undertaken towards low-cost, index investing. Schwab has an existing profit machine from its traditional services, but hasn’t been afraid to disrupt and even cannibalize itself. The key is that people seem to like Schwab customer service, whereas I would rate Vanguard as “satisfactory”. If Schwab can have top-quality index products and maintain a reputation for better customer service, that would be a great long-term position.

As an aside, you can’t buy shares of Vanguard but you can buy an ownership stake in Schwab. I don’t own any individual shares of Schwab (SCHW) stock as of this writing, but I would not be surprised if it made a good long-term holding. Once interest rates rise, Schwab will start making a lot more money on its customers’ cash balances (which it forces you to hold it their Intelligent Portfolios robo-advisor instead of charges upfront fees). It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I’m just putting this down in writing so I can check back on my prediction later in 2022 and 2027.

Fidelity Investments Stock and ETF Trades now $4.95

fidelity_logoFidelity Investments has announced their online stock and ETF trades will now cost $4.95, down from $7.95 previously. The press release also points out that they also do not accept payment for order flow (unlike TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and E-Trade), and that their order routing has led to price improvement higher than industry average. I’m not sure of the dollar impact of all these factors taken together, but it could be significant if you trade a lot of shares.

Fidelity continues to offer 91 ETFs from Blackrock and Fidelity on their commission-free ETF list. The list includes many low cost iShares Core ETFs including:

  • iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market (ITOT)
  • iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock (IXUS)
  • iShares Core S&P 500 (IVV)
  • iShares Core Total USD Bond Market (IUSB)
  • iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond (AGG)

I don’t think it is a coincidence that Schwab recently cut their online trades to $6.95 per trade. (Update: Schwab will also drop to $4.95 starting March 3rd.) It’s interesting to see that the former “full service” brokerages all now offer trades at what used to be “discount” prices. (Scottrade rolled out $7 trades back in the 1990s.) I only hope that Fidelity keeps up its reputation for better customer service. Here’s a comparison chart from their press release:

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Free trades? They do exist. Merrill Edge offers $6.95 trades normally, but will give you 30 free trades per month if you keep $50,000 in combined assets across Merrill and Bank of America deposit accounts (Platinum Preferred Rewards tier). With $100,000 in combined assets, you get 100 free trades a month. Moving over existing assets from another broker qualifies. Merrill Edge does not accept payment for order flow.

Robinhood offers $0 trades with no minimum required balance through their smartphone app (and less hand-holding). Robinhood does accept payment for order flow and now offers a set of premium paid features.

Amazon Promo: $8.62 off $50+ Order (2/22 Only)

In case you don’t visit every day (which is probably a good thing), Amazon.com is giving $8.62 off $50+ orders with promo code BIGTHANKS. Valid until 11:59pm Pacific 2/22 only. Must be shipped and sold by Amazon.

If you need filler ideas, you can’t buy Amazon gift cards but you can buy gift cards to other retailers like Starbucks or Whole Foods gift cards for any amount over $25. For example, you could buy something for $15 and buy a $35 gift card to get to $50.

CitiĀ® Hilton HHonorsā„¢ Visa SignatureĀ® Card 75,000 Point Offer Review

Citi Hilton HHonorsUpdate – This offer is now EXPIRED

The CitiĀ® Hilton HHonorsā„¢ Visa SignatureĀ® Card,Ā from our partner Citi,Ā is offering a limited-time bonus increase. Here are the highlights:

  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

What can I redeem for? Hilton points redemption varies, and they have moved towards dynamic award pricing with more focus on points + cash combinations. Hilton HHonors points are worth the most when redeemed for a hotel stay, as there aren’t really that many great cash-equivalent redemption options.

In order to find the points-only redemption rates, you must log into your Hilton Honors account and check the “Use Points” box when running a search. Here are some sample redemptions that I just ran for mid-March, comparing Hilton points vs. Expedia pricing side-by-side:

  • Honolulu, Hawaii. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is $501.33 ($440 + taxes) per night OR 50,000 Hilton points.
  • San Francisco, California. Hilton San Francisco Financial District is $418.16 ($359 + taxes) per night OR 60,000 Hilton points.
  • New York City. Hampton Inn Manhattan/Times Square Central is $358.08 ($309 + taxes) OR 70,000 Hilton points.

Silver Status perks include:

  • 15% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn.
  • 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more.
  • Complimentary in-room and lobby Standard Internet access during stays at Waldorf Astoriaā„¢ Hotels & Resorts, ConradĀ® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hiltonā„¢, Canopyā„¢ by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotelsā„¢ and Hilton Grand Vacationsā„¢
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay (at Waldorf Astoriaā„¢ Hotels & Resorts, ConradĀ® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hiltonā„¢, Embassy Suites Hotelsā„¢, Hilton Garden Innā„¢ and Hilton Grand Vacationsā„¢ hotels)

Please note this fine print:

Hilton HHonors Bonus Points offer associated with a new card opening is not available if you have opened or closed any Citi Hilton HHonors cards in the past 24 months.

Bottom line. The redemption ratio varies and while it is still possible to get $500+ of value out of 75,000 Hilton points, I would say a more conservative range is $350 to $500. The standard bonus is 40,000 Hilton points, with 75,000 Hilton points being the highest that I’ve seen. It is relatively rare to get this size of a bonus on a credit card with no annual fee. The complimentary Silver Status is their lowest elite status and offers a few small convenience perks.

There is also another card called the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card which has a $95 annual fee, but has a bigger upfront bonus and better ongoing perks for frequent Hilton customers. Two free weekend nights can be worth over 160,000 Hilton points. I redeemed for nice weekend stay in Hawaii myself, but I know that some people prefer the simplicity of having no annual fee.

ā€œDisclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are authorā€™s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuerā€™s Affiliate Program.ā€

Opinions Take Flight: Reset Your Hawaiian Miles Expiration

otf0Opinions Take Flight is a consumer survey panel that gives out Hawaiian Airlines Miles instead of cash. Their current promotion is 350 HawaiianMiles for joining and completing your first survey. I usually find these survey panels too tedious to participate in regularly, but I hadn’t produced any activity on my Hawaiian miles recently (they expire after 18 months of inactivity), so I signed up. You’ll need to verify your e-mail, fill out some profile information, and then they will ask you survey qualification questions.

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The good news is that even if you don’t qualify a particular survey, OpinionsTakeFlight.com will still give you 5 miles for trying. Since I really just wanted some quick miles to reset my miles expiration with a few clicks, I was happy with that. I’d rather get 5 miles (and expiration extension) for under 10 minutes of work rather than 350 miles (and expiration extension) for 24 minutes of work anyway. If I can get a survey once every 18 months or as needed for easy Hawaiian miles activity, it will have been worth setting up this account.

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Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Review: 0% Intro APR For 15 Months + No Balance Transfer Fee

BarclayCard Ring MasterCard

Here’s a new offer for those looking to pay down debt and lower their interest rates. The Barclaycard Ringā„¢ MastercardĀ®Ā has been updated with 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. Importantly, this card also has NO balance transfer fee both during and after the intro period, which is a rare feature these days. After the introductory period, the card has an 13.74% variable APR that applies to everything ā€“ purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. Here are all the highlights:

  • 0% Introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases. Plus, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 13.74%
  • No balance transfer fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
  • Free online access to FICOĀ® Credit Score

No fee balance transfer offer. If you have an existing balance on another card that is racking up interest charges, you can transfer it to this card with no balance transfer fee and if you make the balance transfer within 45 days of account opening, you won’t be subject to any interest until well into 2018 and all of your payments during the first 15 months will go towards paying down the balance principal. You can even continue to put new purchases on the card given the simultaneous intro 0% APR on purchases.

It is very rare these days to find a no fee 0% APR balance transfer that is available to all. Make sure to keep making your minimum payments to keep that 0% APR.

In addition, this posting on the their Ring Community page suggests that you can even perform a balance transfer directly to your checking account:

Online ACH Transfers. You can use the available credit on your Barclaycard Ring account to complete a Balance Transfer to your checking account online. We carefully monitor fraud and credit risk, therefore this ACH transfer capability may not be available to all cardmembers. Also, you can only complete one ACH transfer within a 30 day period.

Free FICO Score details. The free FICO score is based on your your TransUnion credit report, and updates every 1 to 3 months. Specifically, you will get your FICO Score 8 or FICO 08 model, which is the most widely used version of FICO. You can see how your FICO changes as you pay down your balances. Here’s a screenshot from my Barclaycard account:

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Other features. This card does not have any cashback, points, or miles rewards program. There is a “Giveback program” that shares community estimated profits if you meet certain spending requirements, but there is no guaranteed amount and there is a certain hurdle that must be reached before any profits are shared. Since you have little control, I would treat any such profit sharing as a nice surprise but not as a reason to get this card.

Bottom line. The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is all about the low intro interest rate and no balance transfer fee (even after the intro period). If you have debt, this card can help you lower your interest rate and pay off your balance faster.

RingPlus: Free Cellular Phone Service Ending 2/11

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February 2017 Update. Well, looks like the party is officially over. As predicted, it ended quickly and messily. Ringplus sued Sprint. Sprint announced they were kicking R+ off the Sprint network on February 11th. Both announced that R+ users will be automatically migrated over to Ting if they don’t leave on their own. The timeline is yet unannounced. More details here and here. This is a soft landing as Ting has solid customer service has agreed to honor R+ balances. At the minimum, they’ll give you $35 in Ting credit. To activate service, you will need to put a credit card on file and agree to Tingā€™s terms of service online. My Ting Review here.

Ting will gladly honor the RingPlus Top Up balance that you had as of February 5, 2017. If you had $35.00 or less in RingPlus TopUp credit, you’ll receive $35 in Ting credit before your first bill. If you had $35.01 or more in RingPlus TopUp credit, you’ll receive $35.00 to start and then $5.00 each month until all of your remaining RingPlus TopUp credit balance has been honored.

I received over 1.5 years of free service on a secondary line for a one-time $10 fee and I’ll still end up with $35 in Ting credit, so it ended up bring a pretty good deal overall.


November 2016 Update. The most recent update:

Starting December 1, 2016, all Plans that are not Mad Plans will not renew at the end of their billing cycle. Members can change to any of the currently offered plans from our website. Phone Swaps will be free starting Wednesday (11/23/16) until further notice.

Realistically, this was always the type of deal that was not going to last forever, and hopefully if you participated you got good value out of it. I got over a year of Sprint-based cellular service with 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text, and 1 GB of data for an total cost of $10 (technically the $10 is still in my account). The party is winding down… in the meantime I recommend taking the following precautions:

Know that your plans can and will be discontinued with little or no notice. Don’t buy an expensive phone just to switch to R+. Don’t pay for their lifetime Member+ plan. To put it simply, commit as little money as possible. Have a plan to port your number elsewhere; Ting can use Sprint or there are many free or $1 SIM cards out there on GSM networks.


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