[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Some people just don’t get along with their credit cards. Maybe it’s the fees and interest charges, or perhaps they are infuriated by indifferent customer agents. At the same time, many of these aggravated credit card users still rely on cards for the convenience and security that can’t be matched by cash, checks or debit cards.
If you hate your credit card, there is reason for hope. The credit card industry is highly profitable and fiercely competitive. That means card issuers desperately want to satisfy and retain their customers, so they offer products specifically tailored to address the problems that customers have with their competitors.
How to Avoid Fees
You will never be charged a fee by PenFed Promise, which is offered by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed. Cardholders are exempt from all annual fees, late fees, foreign transaction fees, cash advance fees and so on. To apply, cardholders must first join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which is quick and easy to do. You may qualify based on the employment or service history of yourself, your family members, or any member of your household, or you can join a military support organization for $15 or $20, depending on which organization you choose.
How to Avoid Interest Charges
The Slate card from Chase is a great card for those who hate paying credit card interest. First, new applicants receive 15 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers. Furthermore, Slate is the only card currently offered with a 0% APR balance transfer offer and no balance transfer fee. In addition, cardholders can utilize Chase’s Blueprint program, which allows them to avoid interest charges by paying off some purchases in full each month, while carrying a balance on others. Blueprint also contains powerful budgeting and goal-setting functions. There is no annual fee for this card.
Want Better Customer Service?
Discover has long held on to its niche as the alternative to cards in the other big three payment networks. In fact, Discover cardholders tend to be extremely loyal to their cards, largely due to Discover’s reputation for excellent customer service. Those who hold the Discover it card are promised that their calls will always be answered by U.S.-based customer service agents. Further, cardholders will automatically have their first late payment waived, so they may not even have to call to get what they want. The Discover it card also comes with a promotional financing offer and features a competitive rewards program that offers 5% cash back on purchases from select categories of merchants that change each quarter. There is no annual fee for this card.
Want Rewards You Can Actually Use?
So many people are frustrated with their airline rewards credit card, but not because of the bank that issued it. They get angry when they accumulate frequent flier points and miles, but the airline hasn’t made any seats available for awards at the low levels promised. In contrast, Southwest Airlines offers each seat on every flight available as an award on the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card from Chase. Since all Southwest tickets have no change fees, flights purchased with points can be changed or even canceled with no penalty. When an award flight is changed, cardholders simply pay the current price for a flight, which can even be less! When customers choose to cancel their award flights, they receive their points redeposited back into their frequent flier account. This policy makes these reward flights equivalent to a fully refundable ticket, which normally costs twice as much as most tickets or more with other airlines. There is a $69 annual fee for this card.
Because applying for a credit card will cause a small drop in your credit scores, you’ll want to be relatively certain your application will be approved (otherwise, you can end up with no card and a lower score than before). You can search online to see what sort of credit score is required for approval. You can see two credit scores monthly for free at Credit.com to get an idea of where you stand, as well as get individualized tips on raising or maintaining your score.
At publishing time, the Discover it card, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card from Chase and the Slate card from Chase are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for it. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt