NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Sallie Mae (Stock Quote: SLM), the nation's leading college financing provider, has changed dance partners on its credit card program, and consumers may want to an answer to that age-old question:
"What's in it for me?"
On Wednesday, Sallie Mae announced it had turned away from its old bank provider, Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) and has turned toward Barclaycard US (Stock Quote: BCS) for its new Upromise World Master Card (Stock Quote: MA) .
The program is billed as a college savings plan with credit card cash rewards as its centerpiece. Consumer use the card for payments and earn cash-back payments of up to 10% in some cases, although the deal with Barclays changes the payout levels customers of the Bank of America were accustomed to.
Consumers using the old credit card will be given the new card by fall with no loss of cash back rewards accrued, Sallie Mae says.
The payout system:
- 5% cash back for college on eligible online purchases at hundreds of major online retailers through Upromise.com
- 4% cash back at Upromise Dining restaurants
- 3% cash back on eligible gas purchases at Exxon or Mobil locations
- 2% cash back at eligible movie theaters
- 1% on everything else
But according to data from Upromise, some of the new cash back levels provide weaker rewards for cardholders. For example, under the Bank of America card's "extra grocery cash back" and "extra dining cash back" programs, cardholders earned an extra 10% in rewards under select conditions. With the Barclays card, those extra rewards are off the table, although the Barclays card makes up for it adding cash back percentages for things like gasoline, movie theaters and online purchases.