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Credit Cards

Rocket Mortgage launches a credit card to help you save for or pay off a home

At first glance, the rewards are generous — but are they really worth it for homebuyers?

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Saving up for a down payment and closing costs is a major hurdle on the path to homeownership. The new credit card from mortgage lender Rocket Companies aims to help homebuyers eliminate it.

The Rocket Visa Signature Card earns 5X points on everything you buy and allows cardholders to redeem rewards on closing costs and down payments with Rocket Mortgage, as well as homeowners who have mortgages serviced by Rocket Mortgage — to pay down their home loans.

CNBC Select breaks down the new card's benefits, analyzes whether it's a good fit for hopeful homebuyers and existing homeowners, and offers other cards that may be better suited for your situation.

Rocket Visa Signature Card details

Rocket Visa Signature Card

On Rocket's secure site
  • Rewards

    5 points on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 statement credit when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of being approved

  • Annual fee

    $95 (waived Rocket Mortgage serviced clients)

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.99% to 30.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Not specified

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Generous rewards rate on all purchases
  • Ability to apply rewards to the down payment, closing costs and mortgage principal

Cons

  • Annual fee for cardholders who don't have a mortgage loan services by Rocket Mortgage
  • Redemption value drops when rewards are redeemed toward mortgage principal or for cash back
  • No balance transfer option
  • No cash advances

The new credit card from Rocket comes with a rewards system that's hard to decipher at first glance. While advertised as a cash-back card, the Rocket Visa Signature offers 5X points on all purchases and doesn't consistently provide the value of 1 cent per point like most cash-back cards. Instead, the value of your rewards will depend on how you redeem them.

Here's how that works:

  • Your points are worth 1 cent each when redeeming towards down payment and closing costs with Rocket Mortgage (up to $8,000 in rewards) — so you're essentially earning 5% cash back on all purchases if you use your points this way; or
  • Your points are worth 0.4 cents each when redeeming towards Rocket Mortgage loan principal — in this case you're effectively earning 2% cash back on all purchases if you use your points this way; or
  • Your points are worth 0.25 cents each when redeeming towards a statement credit — meaning you're earning 1.25% cash back on all purchases
Redemption example

Say you spent $5,000 on your Rocket Visa Signature card and earned 25,000 points. You can redeem these rewards for either:

  • $250 towards closing costs or a down payment with Rocket Mortgage (5% value)
  • $100 towards Rocket Mortgage loan principal (2% value)
  • $62.50 statement credit (1.25% value)

New cardholders can also earn a welcome bonus of $200 for spending $3,000 in the first three months. That's a pretty high spending requirement for a bonus that size. To compare, cards like the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees) is offering one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees) is currently offering a welcome bonus of $200 for just $500 spent in the first three months.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024, 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases, earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; Terms apply, 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), 3% cash back on popular streaming services and entertainment, and 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable 

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024, 1.5% cash back on every purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Besides rewards, the new card from Rocket provides a few valuable Visa Signature benefits, which include:

  • Extended warranty protection, which doubles your qualifying warranty coverage on items for up to one year when you make a purchase with the card
  • Porch piracy protection, which offers coverage up to $10,000 for an eligible stolen item you bought with the card
  • Cell phone protection, which provides coverage against theft and damages up to $750 ($50 deductible) when you pay your wireless bill with the card each month

Cardholders also get access to features that can help them manage their Rocket Visa Signature Card safely and responsibly, such as:

  • Freeze Card and other digital security features
  • Option to use the SmartPay, which allows you to automate and set rules for paying off your card balance
  • Rocket Money, a budgeting and bill negotiation tool that can help you track your spending and credit score, automate savings and lower bills

The card does come with a price: carrying the Rocket Visa Signature will cost you a $95 annual fee. The fee, however, is waived for cardholders who have a mortgage loan serviced by Rocket Mortgage.

Is the Rocket Visa Signature Card worth it?

The Rocket Visa Signature Card is a unique product in more than one way. First, it targets homeowners and homebuyers specifically, allowing them to apply rewards to the costs associated with homeownership. Further, it offers an outstanding rewards rate — it's rare to find a credit card product earning 5X points or 5% cash back on every purchase.

At the same time, neither of these features necessarily makes the card the best choice for future and existing homeowners.

If your goal is to buy a house, the idea of earning rewards toward a down payment may seem appealing. But the Rocket Visa Signature only lets you take advantage of the down payment redemption option if you're getting a mortgage loan from Rocket Mortgage.

Rocket Mortgage Refinance

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and jumbo loans

  • Fixed-rate Terms

    8 – 29 years

  • Adjustable-rate Terms

    Not disclosed

  • Credit needed

    580 if opting for FHA loan refinance or VA IRRRL; 620 for a conventional loan refinance

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Can use the loan to refinance a single-family home, second home or investment property, or condo
  • Can get pre-qualified in minutes
  • Rocket Mortgage app for easy access to your account
  • Allows borrowers to cash out 100% of their home's equity

Cons

  • Doesn't offer USDA loans, HELOCs, construction loans, or mortgages for mobile homes

It's not necessarily the best idea to commit to a lender so early in the process. When you're ready to buy, you want to compare multiple offers. Different lenders may offer you different types of mortgage loans, loan limits and down payment assistance options. And perhaps most importantly, different interest rates.

Getting a lower interest rate, even just by 0.1% or 0.2%, could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a 30-year mortgage. Any value you receive from rewards points could be wiped away if you're able to get a lower interest rate from another lender.

Note that the Rocket Visa Signature isn't the only credit card that can help you save for a down payment. Consider the Bilt Mastercard® which earns 1X points on rent at qualifying properties (on up to $100,000 in rent payments every year), 3X points on dining, 2X points on travel and 1X points on everything else. You can redeem your rewards on travel, eligible fitness classes, art — or a down payment. Bilt allows you to get preapproved and compare rates across banks to choose the best offer. Even better, when redeemed towards a down payment, points are worth 1.5 cents each. The card has no annual fee.

Bilt Mastercard®

On Bilt's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period - up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel, and 1x points on other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    None

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    See Terms

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for 120 days from account opening. After that, up to 5% for each balance transfer ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates/fees and rewards/benefits; terms apply.

If you already have a mortgage with Rocket, the Rocket Visa Signature can help you pay down your mortgage balance. That could be helpful, but you can also find a 2% cash-back credit card that won't lock you in a single redemption option. For example, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card earns unlimited 2% cash rewards on everything you buy. The Citi Double Cash® Card gets you 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro for 120 days from account opening then BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Fair/Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

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Bottom line

The new Rocket Visa Signature Card can help you reach homeownership letting you redeem rewards for a down payment. However, deciding to commit to a lender early can be costly. While CNBC Select considers Rocket Mortgage one of the best mortgage lenders, there's no guarantee you'll receive the lowest rate with them. A home is one of the biggest purchases you can make so make sure you get the best deal — with or without rewards.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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