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Odysseas Papadimitriou

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Three of the Worst Credit Cards on the Market and Three Excellent Substitutes

Posted: 07/06/11 04:31 PM ET

While it's truly a testament to the new credit card laws that the number of utterly unattractive credit card offers has diminished over the past couple of years, the fact of the matter is a few bad offers will always remain. Whether they have high fees, costly interest rates or are merely mediocre all-around, these financial products are out there. The good thing is, however, that it's far easier to avoid them in the new personal finance landscape than it once was. There are so many great alternatives to most bad credit cards that, if you have one, rectifying your mistake is basically as simple as recognizing that you made one in the first place. To help is this regard is the following list of "Card Hub's Worst Credit Cards on the Market," and suggestions for excellent substitutes.

The First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card

While this is a partially secured credit card, having to pay a 49.9% APR, a $75 first-year fee, and $123 in membership fees that kick in during the second year for a $300 credit line is still a little ridiculous. While any number of cards represents an improvement over this one, a particularly good replacement is the Capital One Secured MasterCard. It's a partially-secured card, which means the demographic interested in the First PREMIER card should be able to open one as long as they place the required security deposit, it can be used overseas without charge, and it has a $29 annual fee as well as a 22.9% APR.

Replacement: Capital One Secured MasterCard

The Wells Fargo Business Platinum

The first obvious strike against this card is its issuer. Wells Fargo was recently rated one of the least transparent business credit card issuers by a Card Hub study, and given how difficult it is to achieve small business success in this economy, you need a bank who will work with you, not one that's anything less than completely forthcoming. The second strike is the card's conspicuous lack of rewards or low-interest introductory offers. Third, Wells Fargo has not voluntarily extended CARD Act protections to its business credit card portfolio, meaning this card is not protected against arbitrary interest rate increases on existing balances, among many other things. In contrast, Bank of America is the only major issuer to have extended such protections.

Replacement: Bank of America Cash Rewards for Business

The Visa Black Card

Pop culture fans might be slightly confused at this one, but the Visa Black Card is not the "black card" that actors wave around on TMZ and rappers reference in their songs. That, more-famous card is issued by American Express and officially named the "Centurion Card." The Visa Black Card only offers 1% cash back, airport lounge access and the vague promise of "luxury gifts" to make up for its outrageously high $495 annual fee.

In contrast, for $420 less per year (i.e. a $75 annual fee), the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express provides six times the rewards offered by the Black Card on purchases made at supermarkets, three times as much on purchases made at gas stations and department stores, and the same 1% on everything else. The Blue Cash also gives users a $100 rewards bonus when they spend $500 in eligible purchases during the first 90 days.

Replacement: Blue Cash Preferred from American Express


Odysseas Papadimitriou is the CEO of Card Hub, a marketplace for credit card deals.

 

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