Personal Credit Cards: Reviews & Comparisons
Are you looking for the perfect credit card, but you’re not sure which is best for you? It’s no wonder as the options can appear endless. There are hundreds and hundreds of cards available. Each with their own bonuses, fees, rewards, benefits, and credit limits to consider.
How should you compare personal credit card reviews?
There are so many credit cards to choose from; it is important to filter down your options to a manageable selection. Credit card reviews can help. But it’s also important to know how to compare the features, rates, terms, and perks listed in the credit card reviews.
Here are the key questions to ask to narrow down your options.
What features should you compare when choosing a credit card?
Obviously, this is a question only you can answer. Your first step should be to decide what you want out of your credit card. Then choose the credit card category that best fits those needs.
The table below shows what credit card features are most attractive to consumers. Notice how rewards and interest rates are the top features people care about when comparing credit card reviews.
Each type of credit card has its own key features and benefits. For instance, credit cards for bad credit don't offer much in the way of rewards, but some will guarantee they report to all three national credit bureaus.
However, if you have fair credit you will most likely qualify for a card with some kind of rewards program. Don't give up on the chance of getting free money just for using your card.
If you have excellent credit and a stable income you can have your pick of the best rewards credit cards and enjoy the lowest rates and fees available. Frequent travelers should consider the additional benefits of an airline, hotel, or general travel rewards card. Otherwise, you will probably be better off with a straightforward cashback credit card with generous reward rates.
Rewards Credit Cards
Rewards credit cards earn rewards on your purchases. Some cards have a flat rate of 1%-2%, while others will give bonus rates in certain categories, such as gas, airlines, or restaurants. You can redeem rewards in several ways, including cash, gift certificates, airline miles, and hotel stays.
Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Balance transfer cards are designed for people who already have credit card debt and want to save money on interest payments. They allow users to consolidate debt into a new card. If you choose a card with a zero percent intro offer, you can get a period of six to 21 months to pay it off interest-free. However, you will usually have to pay a one-time balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the transfer amount.
Low Interest Credit Cards
Low interest credit cards are best for people who occasionally carry some credit card debt from month to month. Depending on your financial situation, credit score, and income, you may qualify for a card with a reliably low ongoing interest rate. Alternatively, you can apply for one that has no interest for an introductory period.
Secured Credit Cards
Secured credit cards require you to place a security deposit as collateral when you open your account. The deposit is typically the same as your credit limit. Secured cards are meant for establishing or rebuilding your credit, so they don’t usually offer rewards, and their benefits are typically very limited.
Student Credit Cards
Student cards are like regular credit cards, but to qualify, you must prove you are enrolled in school. Applicants who are under 21 and don't have sufficient income, may have to include a cosigner in the application. These cards usually have higher than average APR, but they are a good way to build your credit.
Store Credit Cards
Most major retailers have retail card clients can use to buy at their stores and earn loyalty rewards. Some partner up with a major network, such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express so you can use them everywhere. One of the big advantages of retail cards is they are more likely to approve people with lower credit scores. Which is a big advantage for people trying to establish or rebuild their credit.
Charge cards require cardholders to pay the entire balance in full each billing period. Strictly speaking, they are not credit cards because they don't allow cardholders to carry a balance from month to month. Most charge cards have generous rewards but they often charge high annual fees and require excellent credit.
Bad Credit Cards
Credit cards for bad credit help people with credit scores from 300 to 639 rebuild their credit. The best ones even have basic rewards programs. However, expect high annual fees and APRs. The good news is that if you use a credit card responsibly it can help improve your credit score. This will allow you to qualify for better credit cards in the future.
What are the credit score requirements?
Card issuers offer cards designed for different credit score ranges. For example, one may offer a premium card for people with credit scores between 700 and 850, and a starter card for people with credit scores between 300 and 650 who want to build their credit.
If you apply for a card with credit score requirements below your score, you may miss out on premium benefits. However, if you apply for a card with a range too high, you may not qualify and it could ding your credit score further. Read the credit card reviews and use the filter function below to see all of the cards designed for your credit score.
How to compare credit card rates?
When shopping for credit cards we usually focus on the purchase annual percentage rate (APR). However, there are four credit card interest rates to check when comparing credit card company reviews.
- Annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases: A percentage rate that is applied monthly to purchase balances to calculate the amount of interest you owe. The average interest ranges from 13.6% to 15.3%.
- Annual percentage rate (APR) for balance transfers: A percentage rate that is applied monthly to balance transfers to calculate the amount of interest you owe. They typically range between 8% and 25% APR.
- Annual percentage rate (APR) for cash advances: This rate is applied monthly to cash advances to calculate the amount of interest you owe. The average rate is around 24% APR.
- Penalty annual percentage rate (APR): An annualized percentage rate that is applied monthly to balances that become significantly past due. The typical penalty APR is 29.99%.
Credit card rates have been rising steadily, but they can vary wildly from one card to another. So, it is worth reading the fine print when comparing credit card rates.
It is particularly important to get the details right when you are looking for a 0% APR balance transfer card.
There are two types of 0% APR promotions: pure 0% APR and deferred interest.
- Pure 0% APR: With this promotion, you'll get a period of no interest, after which the interest rate increases. If you have a remaining balance, interest is assessed on the amount that remains from the original purchase or balance transfer. This type is more common with major credit cards that offer balance transfer promotions.
- Deferred interest: Store cards that offer 0% APR financing often offer this kind of promotion. While there's a period of no interest, there's also a set interest rate the card charges if you don't pay off the purchase in time. The difference is that you'll be on the hook for interest based on the original purchase amount, not the amount that's leftover.
How to compare credit card fees?
Credit cards come with a schedule of fees that often include the following:
- Annual fee: Some issuers require a yearly fee to keep the credit card account open. The fees can range from $0 to $500.
- Additional card fee: This is a fee charged for having an extra card linked to the account. Getting an additional card is usually free, but some issuers will charge a discounted annual fee.
- Foreign transaction fee: A fee is charged by some card issuers when transactions are made in a foreign currency. This can range from 0% to 5%.
- Balance transfer fee: Cards usually charge between 3% and 5% of the transfer amount with a minimum fee of $5 to $10.
- Cash advance fee: Most cards charge either a flat fee or a percentage of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater. For example, a typical cash advance fee is the greater of $10 or 5%.
- Returned payment fee: If your payment bounces you typically will have to pay a penalty fee. This fee is capped at $39 if it’s the second returned payment in the last six months and $29 if it’s the first.
- Late payment fee: If you’re late on a payment you can expect to pay up to $39 ($29 if it’s the first time in six months).
Credit card issuers are required to include disclosures with credit card applications which list their rates and fees. Be sure to look at the disclosures when comparing cards to find a card with the most competitive costs. SuperMoney's credit card company reviews are a great place to compare all the key fees and features in one place.
What credit card rewards programs are there?
Many cards offer rewards just for using the card. The most common reward types include cash, points, or miles. The way you earn rewards can also vary. You may earn rewards on all purchases or only certain categories of purchases.
The best reward program for you will depend on how you use your card and which rewards mean the most to you. Look for the one that will offer you the most bang for your buck.
Does the credit card come with additional perks and benefits?
Most credit cards also come with benefits such as extended warranties on items purchased with your card, travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance, concierge service, rental car insurance, and more. Benefits can add significant value, so be sure to factor the benefits into your decision.
What is the credit card's introductory offer?
Credit card issuers often offer introductory promotions to attract new cardholders. You may be able to benefit from these promotions by earning rewards or saving on interest costs. For example, a card may offer a 12-month 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers.Another type of introductory offer is a bonus where you get a cash kickback ranging from $100 to $300 for spending a minimum amount within the first one to three months of opening the credit card account. Factor these promotions into the overall value of a card but remember they are temporary so shouldn’t be the only reason you choose a card.
What is the credit card's credit limit?
The credit limit of a card is an essential factor to consider as it will determine how much you can spend. A higher credit limit may also help improve you credit score.
How do credit cards decide your limit?
The limit you get offered will depend mainly on your credit score and your income. However, every credit card company has its unique evaluation process. You can often prequalify without hurting your credit score to find out what credit limit is available to you.
As a guideline, here are the average credit limits people get by credit score:
- 780 to 850: $10,400.
- 660 to 779: $5,700.
- 500 to 600: $2,570.
Consumers with higher incomes can expect higher credit limits than the averages above. On the other hand, a lower income will reduce the credit limits you are offered even if your credit score is excellent.
The table below shows the average credit card debt and credit limits of the last 10 years. In 2019, the average credit card limit was $22,589.
Consider your spending habits when applying for a higher credit limit. If you struggle controlling your spending, you may want to reduce your credit limit. Try to keep your credit card balance as low possible to maximize the benefits to your credit score.
Do credit cards protect against fraud?
By law, you are responsible for up to $50 of unauthorized charges when your credit card is lost or stolen. However, some issuers offer zero-fraud liability policies so you will not be liable for any amount in that situation. Further, certain issuers offer features for additional protection such as credit monitoring and the ability to lock or unlock your card from your smartphone. These features can help increase your peace of mind.
What are the easiest credit cards to get approved for?
Secured credit cards, bad credit unsecured cards, and retail cards are the easiest types of cards to get. However, secured cards require a deposit. Retail cards and bad credit unsecured cards don't require a deposit but they don't usually offer much in the way of perks and rewards.
How to choose a credit card for the first time?
Now you know what to consider when choosing a personal credit card sifting through the sea of credit card options is not such a challenge.
- Use SuperMoney's credit card comparison tools to filter out the cards that don't offer the features that are most important to you.
- Make sure you enter your credit score so you can focus on comparing credit cards for which you have high approval odds.
- Check the annual fees, APRs, and rewards of each card. Make sure you read the small print.
- Once you narrow down the field to a handful of candidates, read all the credit card reviews to see what others think about your top choices. Credit card company reviews also allow you to see if a card has a pattern of credit card company complaints.
- Pick your top three choices and apply online. You can usually find out if you qualify within minutes.
SuperMoney makes it easy to compare a multiple features side-by-side.
Compare credit cards from all of the major issuers and quickly find the best credit card for you.
Balance Transfer APR
Credit Score Range
- No Annual Fee
- No Foreign Transaction Fee