Unlock value in your own back yard with regional bank offers


Our Best Credit Card Offers page mostly features cards issued by the major banks in the US, but you’ll also find some smaller-institution gems like the Affinity Cash Rewards card, the Huntington Voice card, and more. Still, the cards on our page focus on the best introductory offers (typically we only feature cards with a bonus worth $100 or more) and almost all of them are available nationwide since our readership is all over the US. But what about midsize and smaller banks that may only exist regionally? Almost all banks offer some type of credit card. Sometimes, it is possible to find a hidden gem in your own back yard – and when you feel like you’ve had “all the credit cards” out there, there are likely some similar offerings from banks that don’t get much attention. This post has a few examples of decent offers from lesser players in US credit card rewards whether in the forms of a good welcome bonus or respectable rewards. Of course, most of these are from my own region since that’s where I’m most familiar with smaller banks and credit unions. I’m sure that some of you have even better options in your area, so what I’m really curious to hear is what interesting “local” credit cards have you found in your area?

Here are some that recently caught my eye as I browsed around.

cartoon a cartoon of a man holding a briefcase full of money

Santander: 3% back everywhere on up to $20K in first 12 months

Card Offer and Details
3% back for 12 months ⓘ Non-Affiliate
3% cash back for 12 months on up to $20K in purchases
No Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: While the headline is 3% back for a year, the bonus itself is an extra 1.5% back on up to $20K in purchases for the first year. That's certainly not a bad return on otherwise unbonused spend, but many other cards on the market that offer even moderately good welcome bonuses offer greater net return with significantly less spend.
Earning rate: 1.5% everywhere
Base: 1.5%
Card Info: Mastercard World issued by Santander. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: No foreign transaction fees

Available in: Connecticut, District of Colombia, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Thoughts: While the return here doesn’t compare favorably to what you can get from a bonus elsewhere, this card could be interesting for those whose capacity to spend is very high and who otherwise meet bonuses quite easily. For example, we get questions now and then from readers in our Facebook group who pay tens of thousands of dollars in real estate taxes. If you’re able to do so at low fee or no fee, you may give this card a look after you’ve exhausted other bonus opportunities.

Consider instead: The Discover IT Miles card if you can get it. Thanks to Discover’s first year cash back match program, that card earns an effective 3% back uncapped for the first year. That’s a much better deal for big spenders.

Citizens Bank: 10% back on grocery on up to $500/mo to May 5, 2021

Card Offer and Details

No Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: This card isn't ordinarily worth a look with only 1.8% cash back.
Earning rate: 1.8% back everywhere
Base: 1.8%
Dine: 1.8%
Gas: 1.8%
Other: 1.8%
Card Info: Mastercard World issued by Citizens. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: 1.8% cash back on all purchases

Available in: Likely Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont as those are the states normally listed on their bank account bonuses when posted at Doctor of Credit.

Thoughts: The low cap might make this uninteresting for many readers, but given that you should be able to squeeze in 7 months of 10% back (assuming you open this month), the bonus becomes a respectable-enough-if-not-spectacular $287 on $3500 spend (note that I came to that number because the card ordinarily offers 1.8% cash back, so only 8.2% of the 10% is bonus cash — 8.2% of the $3500 you would spend over the next 7 months is $287. You will earn a total of $350 back when combined with the usual awards earned for spend). Ironically, you can earn more with their new bank account bonuses (sometimes they offer as much as $600, though the current $400 doesn’t require much on deposit).

Consider instead: The Platinum card’s 100K + 10x bonus category if you can swallow the annual fee (the welcome bonus more than mitigates the fee and 10x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent is worth more than 10% cash back). If you’re not eligible or not ready to swallow that, you may rather consider a card that offers a welcome bonus of $500 or more (or really any card on our Best Offers page that offers more than $287 in first-year value).

BBVA Compass

Card Offer and Details

Available in: Possibly only Alabama, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, California, and New Mexico, but note that PNC is in the process of buying BBVA, so this card may not be available (or may not exist at all) for much longer (the process is expected to take about 9 months according to the email they recently sent to account holders).

Thoughts: The $500 bonus on $4K spend is excellent on its own. While opportunities to spend on entertainment have largely dried up in the current environment, those who ordinarily spend a lot on entertainment may nonetheless be interested here (particularly given that this card may not be available that much longer).

Also notable is that the card page lists price protection as one of the Visa Signature benefits on the BBVA Compass Select card. Assuming it does still feature price protection, it would be a good card to have at this time of year.

Consider instead: If you’re eligible for this one, there isn’t really a significantly better bonus that comes to mind on this much spend nor is there a card that is more rewarding for entertainment spend.

Ridgewood Savings Bank World Mastercard

Card Offer and Details

Available in: New York and New Jersey

Thoughts: Both the business and personal World Mastercards offer the same bonus and bonus categories. That could make the business version particularly appealing for those who want to avoid adding to their Chase 5/24 count (though I don’t know whether or not the business card reports to the personal bureaus). Neither of these cards are particularly exciting for ongoing spend, though, so you’ll just want to keep these in mind for quick bonus hits.

Note that according to recent data points, it sounds like you may now need Ridgewood checking and savings accounts to be approved for a credit card with them.

Consider instead: For travel and dining rewards, there are a number of cards you’ll find on our best category bonuses page that offer similar or better return with no annual fee (though you may need to pair two cards to get both categories covered at that rate without a fee). However, if you’ve opened many other cards and are looking for a nice bonus, this one seems worth a look.

Vantage West Credit Union Connect Rewards Visa

Card Offer and Details

Available in: Arizona only

Thoughts: Four hundred bucks back after just $2K spend is an excellent welcome bonus (note that this may be a targeted mail offer as the URL indicates that it is a mail offer and the landing page says it is pre-approved, but the link appears public). The fact that this is a rotating 5% bonus categories card that you can add to your wallet to compliment similar offers from Chase, Discover, and others is icing on the cake. Now they have also added temporary bonus categories for the holiday shopping season like 5% back at department stores for a few days, 5% back at Amazon over cyber Monday, etc). This is worth a look for Arizonans for sure.

Consider instead: I can think of neither a better cash bonus on $2K spend nor a more generous select-your-own rotating category card. There are some cards that offer better bonuses for less spend in the form of travel rewards (some airline cards offer bonus miles worth more than $400 on first purchase), but if cash is king and you live in Arizona this is worth a look.

SEFCU Lightning Credit Card

Card Offer and Details

Available in: Likely New York only?

Thoughts: This card isn’t wildly exciting as it only offers 3x back (presumably 3%, but I didn’t find rewards program details) at grocery stores and then only then on up to $1250 in purchases per quarter. However, through January 5th they are also offering 5x for online purchases. Poor wording of the terms means that I’m not sure whether the $1250 cap also applies to this temporary bonus category or whether 5x is meant to stand alone uncapped. YMMV.

Consider instead: The Blue Cash Everyday card would offer 3% back on up to $6K per year in US Supermarket spend (then 1%). That comes out to greater 3% bandwidth and it isn’t split by quarter, so if you spend more at one time of a year than another that card is a better deal for you. The Blue Cash Preferred offers better return if you spend enough to justify the annual fee.

By no means are these the only options. Tell us what you’ve found in your area in the comments.

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