By  Wed Jul 11, 2012

Regions Bank Launches New Line of Credit Cards

Regions Bank has introduced four new credit cards, one year after completing the repurchase of its $1 billion credit card portfolio from FIA Card Services, a subsidiary of Bank of America. Additionally, the Birmingham, Ala.-based bank revamped its relationship-focused rewards program.

The four new cards include the Visa Student Platinum, Visa Platinum, Visa Signature and Visa Signature Preferred cards. None of the cards, except the Visa Signature Preferred, carry an annual fee.

The Visa Signature Preferred comes with a $125 annual fee to account for its high level of benefits including a fixed APR of 11.99% and various perks such as concierge service and trip, lost luggage, purchase and price protections.

Card applicants for the Visa Platinum cards will be asked to select a card with or without the Regions Relationship Rewards program. The rewards option would result in a 1 percent higher APR than the no-rewards route. In general, credit cards with rewards or cash back tend to charge higher interest rates. Visa Signature and Visa Signature Preferred cardholders automatically get rewards.

With the rewards program, cardmembers earn one point for every dollar spent (Visa Signature Preferred earns 1.5 points per dollar).

Pitted against many other credit cards with rewards or cash back, the Regions credit card lineup lacks appeal. The cards offer a straightforward rewards program without the flash that is available through other cards. There are no extra rewards for purchases at specific merchants or lucratives signup offers.

However, Regions’ credit cards play a role in building deeper relationship with its customers. The rewards program is also available to consumer checking accounts. For the lower-tier Regions checking accounts, the rewards program has a $10 annual fee, which is waived if the customer has direct deposit or a Regions credit card.

For checking account customers, the rewards program hands out points for opening a savings account, signing up for online and mobile banking, establish monthly savings deposits, opting for online statements, paying bills online and more.

Some customer may find it worthwhile to have a Regions checking account and credit card. Existing Regions credit card customers will be notified of the new options and conversion will occur in coming months.

In July 2011, Regions Bank repurchased the credit card portfolio from FIA Card Services, which held the credit-card receivables (right to collect interest payments) on 500,000 Regions-branded consumer credit card account.

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