This year, I’ve told you about some amazing credit cards, from the best airline miles cards to the best cashback credit cards to the best rewards cards. But there are also some real stinkers. Here are the 5 absolute worst credit cards…
1. Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards card from US Bank
This is a rewards card, but it offers less value than any other card I’m aware of. Like many other cards, you earn one point per dollar spent on most purchase and double points for purchases at the co-branded retailer. In this case, that includes supermarkets within the Kroger brands. Yet while most reward programs offer at least one cent in value per point earned, this card offers just a half a cent in value per point, and then only as store credit toward future Kroger purchases. Nearly any other reward card offers double the value (or more) and usually in the form of cash back, not store credit.
2. First Premier Bank Credit Card
If there was ever a fee-filled sub-prime credit card to avoid, this is it. This card charges a $95 “processing fee” and a $75 annual fee, for a total of $170 on Day One. For that, you get a card with a jaw-dropping 36-percent interest rate. Other lowlights include a cash-advance fee of $6 or 5 percent, whichever is greater.
3. Visa Black
This card is marketed as an exclusive rewards card, but it really doesn’t offer much value. You receive one point per dollar spent and get access to the Priority Pass airport lounge network. In fact, this lounge program is limited in the United States compared to programs run by the major airlines. The card costs $495 a year — much more than most other cards, and the ones in that price range offer more valuable rewards and access to better airport lounge networks.
4. Credit One
This company name seem designed to be confused with Capital One, a reputable bank with competitive products. In fact, Credit One even has a logo that looks remarkably like Capital One, yet Credit One’s products are a pale imitation. Interest rates range from 17.90 to 23.90 percent, with annual fees of $35 to $99. Even worse, there’s no grace period — you’re charged these interest rates from the day of the transaction, with no way to avoid the fees by paying the balance in full. More like Debt One, Credit Zero.
5. Delta SkyMiles card from American Express
Delta and American Express offer four different consumer cards, but their plain old Delta SkyMiles Card — not their Gold, Platinum, or Reserve SkyMiles card — is a real stinker. It offers a pathetic 5,000 mile sign-up bonus after your first purchase, which can be redeemed for nothing by itself. Unlike the other SkyMiles cards, it offers no checked baggage fee waivers, priority boarding, or other real perks. Cardholders do earn one SkyMile per dollar spent and double miles on Delta purchases, but Delta’s program is so notorious for frequently devaluing its miles, many travel rewards experts derisively refer to this program as “Sky Pesos.” Finally, there’s a $55 annual fee.