BBVA Compass Visa Charge Card competes with American Express

By , CardRatings contributor
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BBVA Compass wants to help frequent debit card users enjoy the extra protections of a Visa credit card without worrying about a monthly balance. In a statement to reporters on Sep. 21, company officials announced the launch of the BBVA Compass Visa Charge Card.

Cardholders can choose to have each statement's balance automatically deducted from their linked checking accounts. In addition, cardholders earn a CompassPoints rewards point for every dollar spent using the card.

About the card

The bank's conservative lending approach may have prompted its unusual choice to issue a Visa charge card. As one of the world's 20 largest banks by market capitalization, BBVA Compass has also earned kudos from industry trade publication Global Finance as one of the world's safest banks. The bank serves customers at over 700 branches in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.

The BBVA Compass Visa Charge Card carries an annual fee ranging from $0 to $30, depending on the cardholder's credit rating and personal history with the bank. The card joins a lineup of other Visa-branded credit cards, including a secured credit card and a VIP Visa Signature credit card.

Charge cards make a comeback

Charge cards have regained some of their popularity in the past few years, especially after a period of restricted lending by many of the nation's largest credit card issuers. Chase became the first national issuer of a Visa charge card with its Ink from Chase line of business-oriented accounts. Even American Express, issuer of the market's best known charge cards, recently launched revamped versions of its flagship product aimed at young professionals and frequent travelers.

Though many debit cards expose customers' account balances to fraudulent transactions, charge cards offer consumers the same ability to dispute charges as credit cards. Charge card transactions also appeal to banks, who stand to pocket significantly higher revenues from merchant fees compared to debit card purchases.

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