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.
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.
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.
US Bank did not immediately return a request for comment.
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.
- credit cards