In an effort to spur existing credit card customers to take out a home loan, banks are now offering new bonuses with new mortgages: credit card bonuses.
According to CNBC, Chase is offering 100,000 reward points worth up to $1,500 to existing card holders. They aren’t the first to dangle such offers. Last year, Capital One offered air travel miles if they used the bank to purchase a home or refinance. Wells Fargo also offered rebates to card holders for use on mortgages and home equity loans. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said the size of the Chase offer is groundbreaking.
“The 100,000 points is one of the most generous — and perhaps tops — that we’ve seen for financial products.”
According to the report, a key target by Chase and other companies are millennials. At Chase, 36 percent of mortgages last year were taken out by borrowers who were under 35 years old or younger, up from 20 percent the previous year. Even with the good deals, McBride said they can prove to be attractive.
“But it doesn’t negate the need to shop around for the best deal or justify settling for an inferior loan that could cost far more in the long run.”
Real estate agents should be sure their clients are always shopping for the best interest rates. Bankrate’s McBride noted that buyers always should apply for the loan that has the lowest rate with the best terms. Don’t pick a mortgage just to get credit card points.
“On a $250,000 mortgage, a difference of just one-eighth of a percentage point — the difference between 4 percent and 4.125 percent — will cost an additional $6,500 in interest, dwarfing the value of the points. And remember, most of the interest is paid in the early years so don’t rationalize by thinking you won’t keep the loan for 30 years.”
The Chase points can be used for travel, gift cards, or cash, among other things. Applications must be submitted by August 6, 2017. The deal is in addition to another Chase mortgage bonus. Chase also offers a $595 bonus when a mortgage customer enrolls in automatic payments from a new or existing Chase checking account and select paperless mortgage statements.
Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, pointed out that credit card rewards are always changing. Earlier this year, Chase cut the generous sign-up bonuses for the card in half, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jaime Dimon said the perks cost the bank at least $200 million to $300 million.
Michael Krumholz, a senior loan officer with U.S. Mortgage of Florida, agreed that offering incentives to prospective mortgage holders is nothing new, though Chase’s deal has a new twist. There can be increased interest rates or fees to make up the bonus.