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 you should never sign up for, and you should warn friends and family about…
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 purchases and double points for purchases at the co-branded retailer. In this case, that includes supermarkets within the Kroger brands.
But by offering you $5 in-store credit per 1,000 points redeemed, 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 subprime credit card to avoid, this is it. This card charges a $95 “program 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. Mastercard Gold Luxury card
This card is marketed as an exclusive rewards card, but it really doesn’t offer much value. You receive 2 percent per dollar spent and get access to the Priority Pass airport lounge network. That might be decent if the annual fee wasn’t an outrageous $995 — with a $295 charge for each authorized user.
It does offer you a card with a little bit of actual gold in it, and they will send you luxury gifts from time to time, but the numbers simply don’t add up.
4. Credit One
This company name seems 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. Blue Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express
Delta and American Express offer several different consumer cards, but their Blue Delta SkyMiles Card really makes no sense.
It offers just one mile per dollar spent on most purchases and double miles at restaurants and on Delta purchase. Unlike the other SkyMiles cards, it offers no checked baggage fee waivers, priority boarding, or other real perks. But the real problem with this card is the fact that your rewards are tied up with Delta, which can have extremely high prices for its award flights, and no longer publishes an award chart.
The SkyMiles program is so infamous that many travel rewards experts derisively refer to their miles as “Sky Pesos.” At least this card has no annual fee.
Sadly, credit cards are just like fruits and vegetables: You have to really check them out so you don’t get something that stinks.
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