Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card Review

By: Heather Hanks Apr. 18, 2020

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card supports union workers by putting them first. It’s an affordable and convenient credit card that is affiliated with your union. There is no annual fee. Other notable features include 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 10.75%.

Plus, you’ll get one reward point for every dollar you spend. Reward points are unlimited and never expire. The card is accepted anywhere Mastercard is. You can use it for your everyday expenses and watch the rewards pile up. For more information, check out our Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card review here.

What is the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card?

The Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card is provided by the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (ABOC). It is designed to support union workers by offering special rates just for you. ABOC recognizes the importance of unions and their contributions to the workforce. They know that unions provide essential standards needed to support the quality of life for workers. ABOC believes that America’s workers are the backbone of this country. Unions provide much needed leverage to control skill levels, wages, working conditions, and education for workers. Many of these benefits offer more protection than many federal and state laws.

The ABOC allows Union Strong Mastercard® card holders to choose their union logo to proudly display their union membership proudly. You can sign up for the card for free and enjoy an affordable APR of 10.75% after your 0% introductory rate ends. The company was founded more than 100 years ago and operates as one of the most trusted banks nationwide today. They have a deep connection with the community and strive to provide fair financial services for America’s working people. ABOC was founded in 1922 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (currently known as Workers United). They are proud to be one of the few banks in the United States that are dedicated to the labor community.

Here are some facts about the early development of ABOC within the union:

During the 1930’s, the ABOC remained strong during the Great Depression. This is a sign that working for the people by supporting union workers benefits the entire community.

During the 1940’s, the ABOC granted credit for companies that supported the war efforts. This included more than $7 million in war bonds. They also granted loan extensions to returning veterans seeking to buy homes or start businesses.

During the 1950’s, bank president William Reimbold became a member of the Federal Reserve System and fees up capital for clients.

During the 1960’s, the ABOC expands its locations to serve personal, auto and household improvement loan departments.

In 1997, the ABOC earns the Corporation of the Year Award for its commitment to the labor movement.

In 2003, the ABOC pledges to be the “labor’s bank” and welcomes 12 labor organizations as investors.

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card is one of two cards offered. If you’re affiliated with a union, you will want to consider this card. It has great rates and you’ll be supporting an organization that serves labor workers. The ABOC also offers other financial services, such as loans, checking and savings accounts, and trust services. You can take advantage of their union advantage program by opening a checking or savings account by mail. You can also make withdrawals from ATMS across the country and automatically deposit your paychecks. You’ll also receive competitive rates on auto loans and a bankcard when you become a member.

What Does It Offer?

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card is an excellent line of credit for labor workers. It offers welcome incentives of 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and 18 months for balance transfers. You’ll also earn one reward point for every dollar you spend. This makes it a great card to use for everyday purchases that you buy anyway. After the intro APR rate ends, you’ll enjoy an affordable 10.75% APR for ongoing purchases. The card also gives you a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,200 within the first three months of memberships. It’s free to become a member and you’ll earn the very first time you use your card.

Here are some key highlights of the card:

Earn one reward point for every dollar you spend

Points never expire and there is no cap

10.75% APR after introductory APR wears off

No annual fee or foreign transaction fee

Points can be redeemed online for statement credit, travel benefits, gift cards, or a combination of each

Mastercard benefits include a zero liability policy (you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges), extended warranty, and 60-day price protection

Earn 5x the points when you make qualified quarterly purchases (more on that in the below section)

Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,200 within the first three months of membership

Show your union membership pride by choosing a union affiliate to be displayed on your card logo

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers

Start earning as soon as your first purchase

How Does It Work?

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card works by awarding you points for every purchase. You will earn one point for every dollar you spend. This makes the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card the perfect card to use daily because you’ll earn each time you use it. The ABOC allows you to earn 5x the points on qualified purchases every quarter. These categories change every few months. This allows you to earn maximum earning potential on all of your essential purchases. Categories rotate from dining, groceries, travel, automotive, and more. You’ll earn an extra 4 points per dollar on your first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter.

Here is a complete schedule of your earning potential broken up into months:

  • January, February, and March (1/1/20-3/31/20): earn 5x the points on monthly bills and utilities, such as your cable bill, cell phone, Amazon prime and other streaming subscription service purchases.

  • April, May, and June (4/1/20-6/30/20): earn 5x the points on dining and transportation, such as grocery shopping, restaurants, and several forms of transportation.

  • July, August, and September (7/31/20-9/30/20): earn 5x the points on travel, including airfare, cruise tickets, car rentals, travel agency purchases, hotels, gas, tolls, and ride sharing services.

  • October, November, and December (10/1/20-12/31/20): earn 5x the points on department store purchases, including clothing stores, electronics, superstores, Amazon.com, and more.

Other notable features that are included on your card include a 60-day price protection plan. This feature will reimburse you if you find a better price on an item that you purchased with your card. For example, if you buy a set of headphones and find them for a cheaper price, Mastercard will pay the difference as long as it’s within the 60 day limit. You will need to hang on to your receipt to be eligible. You will also need to make sure your account is in good standing. This means that you need to make timely payments and be active within your account.

Here are some other benefits you’ll qualify for as a card holder:

  • Lost wallet assistance
  • Single bureau credit monitoring (through TransUnion)
  • Financial account takeover
  • URL and domain monitoring
  • Identity monitoring
  • Online dashboard monitoring
  • Resolution services
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection (IDT)

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card does not have an annual fee. There are also no foreign transaction fees. The card offers two primary welcome bonuses. First, you’ll enjoy 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 10.75%. Next, you’ll get a $150 statement credit when you spend $1,200 within the first three months of opening your account. Your APR for balance transfers after the intro period will be 15.75%. You can avoid paying interest by making your payments in full and on time each month. ABOC offers a 25-day grace-free period after the close date of each billing cycle.

Here is a breakdown of the fees and pricing:

$0 annual fee

No foreign transaction fee

10.75% ongoing APR for purchases

Late penalty fee: up to $35

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers

15.75% APR for ongoing balance transfers

Returned payment fee: up to $25

Cash advance and balance transfer fees: 3% of each amount ($5 minimum)

Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card: Pros and Cons

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card is a great everyday card for those who support the union. It offers several welcome incentives. Plus, there is no annual fee and you’ll earn rewards every time you use it. These rewards can be redeemed for merchandise or travel benefits, such as airfare, rental cars, hotels, and cruise tickets. You can also opt to have your rewards back in the form of statement credit. This can be applied to your bill to reduce future payments.

Here are some other pros and cons to consider before applying:

Union Strong Mastercard PROS

  • Earn one reward point for every dollar spent
  • Enjoy 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and 18 months for balance transfers
  • APR for ongoing purchases is 10.75% after that
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
  • The card is accepted anywhere Mastercard is
  • Earn 5x the points every quarter with qualifying purchases that rotate
  • Can be used as an everyday cash rewards card
  • Enjoy Mastercard’s zero liability policy (you aren’t responsible for fraudulent charges)
  • Other Mastercard benefits include 60-day price protection and extended warranty
  • There is no cap on points and they never expire
  • You can redeem points and pay your bill online 24/7
  • Access customer service 24/7
  • You can redeem your points for merchandise, gift cards, statement credit, and more
  • Pick your card logo design to proudly display your union affiliate
  • You can earn points back on bills and utility payments
  • You can enroll in the union advantage program for more great perks

Union Strong Mastercard CONS

  • At 10.75%, your APR is higher than what it could be if you have very good credit. For this reason, you may want to seek a lower ongoing APR if your credit qualifies you for a better rate.
  • Other reward cards may offer better rates than one point per dollar. For example, other cards may offer as much as 2% back. You will need to check and see what each point qualifies for when redeeming them. One point may not equal one dollar.
  • Some people do not like the rotating reward system. While it’s nice to earn more points during qualifying months, many members would like to see these rewards offered all year long.

How To Apply

The ABOC will likely need to do a hard inquiry check on your credit to determine if you qualify. Having too many of these may show up on your credit history and negatively affect your score. For this reason, we recommend contacting ABOC with any questions you have before filling out an application. This will help determine whether or not this is the right card for you.

To apply, visit the ABOC website and apply for the union card. ABOC will ask you several questions. Have the following information handy:

  • Full name
  • Physical address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Bank information
  • Occupational information
  • Union affiliate information

After you’re approved, you should be able to pick your union affiliate design. You can start earning points as soon as your first purchase. To maximize your earning potential, check the list of qualifying purchases that are offered for 5x the points. Remember that your points never expire and there is no cap. They can be redeemed anytime as long as your account is in good standing and there are no pending charges. Avoid late payments by paying in full every month.

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