Bellco Credit Union

Bellco Credit Union

Founded in 1936, Bellco Credit Union is based in Colorado, manages $3.1 billion, and has more than 290,000 members, making it the largest credit union in the city of Denver and the second-largest in Colorado. Bellco offers two credit cards, the Bellco Visa® Platinum Colorado Rewards Credit Card and the Visa® Platinum Credit Card. APRs for credit cards from Bellco start at 9.75 percent and can be as high as 21 percent.

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#59 3.5 -- Current

The Good

  • No APR for the first six months
  • No annual fees
  • Low interest rates on balance transfers for first 12 months
  • Rewards program
  • Protection package benefits

No APR for the First Six Months

For new purchases and balance transfers, Bellco offers an introductory APR of 0 percent for the first six months. Reward points still accrue for new purchases made during the introductory period. After the first six months, APRs range from 9.75 to 21 percent, depending on card and creditworthiness.

No Annual Fees

Bellco does not charge any annual fees for its credit card services. The credit union does not charge any startup fees either, which can save customers hundreds of dollars.

Low Interest Rates on Balance Transfers for First 12 Months

The Visa Platinum credit card charges a 1.99 percent fee for the first 12 months on a credit balance transfers that occur within the first 90 days. The Visa Platinum Colorado Rewards Credit Card includes a similar 3.99 percent fee. After the 12-month introductory period, APR rates range from 11 to 21 percent for balance transfers. The balance transfer must be requested within the first 90 days of opening the account in order to take advantage of the promotional fee.

Rewards Program

Bellco's rewards program, which is called Colorado Rewards, offers one reward point for every dollar spent. However, triple points are earned on expenses at gas stations, grocery stores, wholesale clubs, and other retailers. Double points are earned on cable and streaming services, as well as internet or gaming services. If $500 is spent in the first 90 days of opening the account, 15,000 bonus points are earned. Earned rewards points can be used toward travel, merchandise, gift cards, or account balances.

Protection Package Benefits

Visa benefits apply to credit cards issued through Bellco. These benefits include extended warranty protection, auto rental insurance, and travel assistance. A full explanation of these benefits is provided on Bellco's website.

The Bad

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • Late payment fee
  • No free credit score reporting
  • No fraud safeguards

Foreign Transaction Fee

Foreign transaction fees primarily concern those who travel internationally often. Many credit card companies tailored to frequent international travelers do not charge an additional fee for foreign transactions. However, a 1 percent fee applies to every foreign transaction made with a Bellco credit card.

Late Payment Fee

Late payments accrue a $25 fee, which is added to the next month's bill. Returned payments accrue a $10 fee.

No Free Credit Score Reporting

Credit card companies often partner with credit reporting services to offer real-time or monthly credit reporting and tracking for their customers. These services are generally accessed online or through a mobile app. Unfortunately, Bellco does not offer these services.

No Fraud Safeguards

Some credit card companies offer fraud safeguards, typically in the form of text messages or email alerts for purchases made that exceed an established cost threshold, international purchases, or online and phone purchases. Credit reporting services that often accompany credit card accounts also notify customers when credit scores have dropped or when suspicious activity occurs. Bellco does not offer any of these features.

The Bottom Line

While Bellco does not charge any annual payments and offers a wide-reaching rewards program, there are many other credit card companies out there with longer introductory APR periods and free balance transfers. Some of the rates, fees, and penalties associated with the credit cards vary based on the type of card, though the language is ambiguous and there are many clauses and subtext that make the terms unclear. Rewards programs are quite common for credit cards, but Bellco's program is nothing exceptional. The credit union's lack of fraud safeguards may also be a concerning factor for potential customers. Further, Bellco does not offer fraud tracking or alerts.

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