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Upromise by Sallie Mae World MasterCard Review

When Sallie Mae was first established in 1973 as the Student Loan Marketing Association, it was a government-sponsored enterprise that serviced federal student loans. However, during Bill Clinton’s administration back in 1994, it was determined that Sallie Mae should be restructured into a private company.

It took quite awhile, but after board approval and ten years of work, Sallie Mae was finally privatized in 2004 and soon began offering its own private student loan products. Today, Sallie Mae not only offers private education loans to the general public, but also focuses its efforts on offering tools and products to help consumers save for future college expenses.

For example, I’ve had a Sallie Mae online savings account for years, which has continued to offer competitive (although measly) interest rates. As far as online savings accounts go, I’ve been happy enough with it to keep it around. In addition, I recently came across the Upromise World MasterCard credit card as I was researching college savings programs for my daughter.

While there are obviously a lot of student credit cards out there, there frankly aren’t many products that focus on helping people save for college. This card really caught my attention for that reason, so I wanted to share what I liked and disliked the most about the Upromise World MasterCard credit card as I took a closer look at it:

Pros of Upromise World MasterCard

1.) $50 bonus goes straight into your Upromise account after using the card within 90 days. Who doesn’t like free money?
2.) 5% cash back when dining at participating Upromise restaurants. When I searched by my zip code, I was pleasantly surprised by how many restaurants participate!
3.) 2% cash back on eligible in-store department store (like Macy’s and Nordstrom) and movie theater locations.
4.) 1% cash back on all other purchases, plus there is no limit on total amount of cash back earned.
5.) No annual fee. Yay!
6.) Cash back can be directed into a SallieMae high-yield savings account, transferred to directly pay down SallieMae student loans or even fund an eligible 529 college savings plan.

Cons of Upromise World MasterCard

1.) To get the full 10% cash back, you will need to shop through Upromise.com. For many people, this is just too inconvenient.
2.) Foreign transaction fee of 3 percent.
3.) No 0% intro APR on purchases, just balance transfers for 15 months.
4.) If you don’t have excellent credit scores, you likely don’t have a shot at approval. I would love to see this kind of card be available to those with average credit scores.

Is the Upromise World MasterCard Right for You?

The Upromise World MasterCard credit card basically combines a cash back credit card with an automated way to save for college or pay off existing SallieMae student loans. SallieMae claims that through its Upromise program, more than $850 million in savings has been earned by users. Wouldn’t you like to get in on a piece of that as well?

If you have excellent credit and find it difficult to save money for future college expenses or make extra payments on your SallieMae student loans, the Upromise World MasterCard could be a great way to automate this part of your financial game plan. And I’m all about automating savings! There's simply nothing better than watching free money grow in a savings account or go directly towards paying off lingering debt.

Already using Upromise as a way to save for college? If so, please let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Upromise World MasterCard

Cardholders can earn a $50 cash back bonus after the first use of the card within 90 days, up to 10% cash back when making eligible purchases via Upromise.com, 2% cash back on eligible in-store department store and movie theater purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past twenty years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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