6 Worst Credit Cards

Oct 31, 2012 2:20pm

While banks are offering near-zero introductory credit card interest rates as they compete to attract card users, others are stacking up on fees they charge.

Driven in part by growing usage of credit cards by confident consumers,  on Wednesday MasterCard reported profit of $772 million for its third quarter, up 8 percent from last year in the same period and higher than analysts had expected.

As credit card usage — and credit card debt — increase, companies are offering a range of cards for almost every type of consumer.

Read more: Bank Issues Gold Card Made of Gold

But not all credit cards are created equally.

Credit card website Card Hub said it analyzed 1,000 credit cards and released a list this week that showed the worst credit cards in various categories. While the following card may be right for some people, they are wrong for folks in these categories, according to Card Hub:

1. Worst General-Consumer Credit Card for Big Ticket Purchases

Arvest Bank Classic Credit Card, which Card Hub says provides the “least advantageous” terms of cards that offer a “low” introductory interest rate for purchases consumers can’t pay in full during a single billing period. Its intro APR is 4.9 percent for just six months, compared with other cards that offer a zero percent APR for 18 months.

Arvest Bank did not immediately return a request for comment.

2. Worst Credit Card for Rebuilding Bad Credit

Card Hub singles out the First Premier Bank Gold Credit Card  for its $95 processing fee when opening an account, a $75 annual fee in the first year, a $45 annual fee in following years, and a $6.25 monthly fee starting in the second year. Those who can’t pay their monthly bill in full will be subject to a 36 percent APR and if you ask for a higher credit limit, you will be charged a fee of 25 percent of the given increase.

First Premier provided a statement that said many of its credit cards “are designed to reach out to those at the lower end of the credit scale.”

“More and more people are finding themselves with damaged credit due to unemployment, unexpected medical expenses, divorce, etc. The primary purpose of our credit card is to provide these individuals with an avenue to obtain a tool to help them begin to demonstrate positive financial patterns to the major consumer reporting agencies,” the statement read. “Therefore, credit lines are kept low (usually around $300) so that these individuals are not put in a position to further hinder their financial progress.”

3.  Worst Credit Card for Students

US Bank College Visa Credit Card was named the worst for students, who are sometimes risky customers with little credit history but also have the potential to be customers in the long-term. Card Hub said the US Bank College credit card had the highest APR of any student cards it evaluated at 20.99 percent.

A spokeswoman for US Bank said it disagrees with CardHub’s ”limited assessment of our products and services.”

“We believe it is important for young adults to begin building a credit history and to use credit wisely. We do not offer an introductory rate or rewards on our student credit card because it is not our goal to entice students to overspend or incur revolving debt,” the bank said in a statement.

She said the bank offers financial education tools plus has a student checking program named the best in the nation by “Money” Magazine.

“Even though the high end rate is correctly stated, there are other student cards on the market with higher rates, which were not mentioned by CardHub,” US Bank said. “Unlike other issuers, we do not have penalty pricing and we have no triggers that would change pricing on existing balances or future purchases under the customer’s current terms, which was also not mentioned in the assessment.”

4. Worst Small Business Credit Card for Rewards

Card Hub said US Bank FlexPerks Select Rewards Visa Business Credit Card offers the lowest ongoing rewards-per-dollar ratio of all small business credit cards evaluated, awarding customers with 0.5 points per $1 spent. Most small business credit cards offer above-average awards in return for charging small business owners more. Card Hub said the average small business card will offer 1.08 points or 0.98 percent cash back per $1 spent. The card offers 5,000 bonus points when you charge $250 in the first 90 days. But Card Hub says that perk, worth $50, doesn’t do much to improve the card.

The US Bank spokeswoman said that unlike many other business rewards cards, FlexPoints can be redeemed for travel starting at only 20,000 FlexPoints for up to a $400 ticket value on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates or redemption fees.

“Cardholders also get additional value with triple points on charity contributions and up to 50 percent annual rewards bonus with U.S. Bank Business Packages,” the bank said in a statement. “The FlexPerks Select card is offered as a complimentary, no annual fee companion product for our award winning U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Credit Card.”

5. Worst General-Consumer Credit Card for Balance Transfers

Of all the products Card Hub analyzed, the UBS Preferred Visa Signature Credit Card gives the highest introductory balance transfer APR at 9.99 percent  for the shortest amount of time, six months. It also charges a 3 percent balance transfer fee and $495 annual fee. The card is marketed more toward those traveling abroad, as it waives foreign transaction fees and offers better rewards for air travel. It will offer little for consumers trying to manage their debt with balance transfers, however.

UBS did not immediately return a request for comment.

6. Worst General-Consumer Credit Card for Rewards

The Visa Black Card, managed by Barclays Bank, may seem like a status symbol, but Card Hub points out that the $495 annual fee is expensive compared with its rewards, which are 1 point per $1 spent plus access to 350 VIP airport lounges. By owning a card, you also get a 24-hour concierge service and “luxury gifts.”

The company marketing languages states: “For those who demand only the best of what life has to offer, the Visa Black Card is for you. The Black Card is not just another piece of plastic. Made with carbon, it is the ultimate buying tool.”

A spokeswoman for Visa referred ABC News to Barclays, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

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