American credit card users have endured so many years of credit limit tightening, rising interest rates and fee after new fee now that you could forgive them for wondering if they need to bother with using plastic anymore. The thing is, the new CARD act has changed a lot about what credit cards can and can’t do. Bank cards are no longer what they used to be even a year ago. The credit card is now a far more sensible spending tool than it has been over the last 10 years, thanks to the new legislation. Still, even if the card companies aren’t allowed anymore to raise their rates in a stealthy manner, nothing stops them from raising them openly. And this, they have done. Interest rates are up 3% over the last year. Your typical $3000 bank card balance now is going to cost you about $350 in interest over the life of that loan. But one good thing about the credit card scenario today is that you have lots of choice. No longer are you forced to live with just the one or two bank card companies that will have you. The banks are sending out 4 billion card offers this year alone. And these are the best credit cards anyone has seen in 20 years. You get better terms, better rewards and easier access to credit. Let’s look at a few of the best credit cards there are for you today, depending on what it is that you wish to achieve with your card.
Let’s say that you have a serious amount of debt on your bank cards – about $8000. In today’s credit card environment, managing credit card debt requires that you go with at least two separate cards. One card, you keep for the balance transfer offer that it gives you. And the other, you maintain for the low interest rate that it offers you on purchases. The best bank cards for balance transfer these days offer you one and a half years at no interest and a 2.5% fee. The Citi Diamond Preferred card is a great example of such a product. Discover More is another great choice for those who wish to manage debt. If you have excellent credit and you would like the option to carry your balance forward, the Simmons First Platinum Visa card offers you a reasonable 7.25% APR.
For students, the best credit cards are far more difficult to come by. The new law requires that anyone under 21 needs to bring in a cosigner to apply for bank card. Since major card companies like American Express and capital One don’t accept any kind of co-signing deal, the other companies that do allow it feel free to raise their interest rates to 25%. The new bank card law makes it possible for a card issuer to skirt this requirement. They allow the card issuer to treat student loans as if it were independent income. Anyone with independent income, even if they happen to be under 21, can apply for a bank card. The only problem there is that the bank card issuers will then give the students a massive spending limit that they can never expect to actually repay. But there are some pretty good offers that several credit card issuers have specifically designed for students. The Citi Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students gives college students extra points for an impressive GPA; the APR is under 21% and you get rewards for staying under your limit. Bring in a cosigner, and you get a low 12.5% interest rate.