What Are the Characteristics of the Worst Credit Cards?


Quick Answer

Each credit card offers its own advantages and disadvantages, but the worst ones tend to share a number of key characteristics. Inferior cards are difficult to understand, offer little support, charge high annual fees and severely limit reward redemption, states the Federal Trade Commission.

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Full Answer

An easy to way to spot a bad credit card is to search for the card's annual percentage rate, the grace period for first payment and late payment charges. Credit card companies should clearly display this information online or provide it upon request, and limited-time promotional offerings such as a drastically lowered APR should be clearly marked, according to the FTC. If a credit card company does not clearly provide this information, it may not be a reputable credit card.

Another way to check the quality of a credit card is to find out how much support is offered by the issuing company. Good credit card companies should offer a minimum level of service that includes multiple payment options, international assistance and 24/7 customer service, according to Investopedia.

Another indication of a bad credit card is a high annual fee with few provided benefits. For example, a card with an annual fee of $495 should offer significantly better benefits than a card with no annual fee.

A final characteristic of a bad credit card is that it severely limits the redemption of rewards, notes Investopedia. Bad credit cards may boast great rewards programs when, in fact, their rewards expire quickly, only come into effect after a minimum amount spent or are capped at a low amount.

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