This week the website TopConsumerReviews.com issued their review of the best credit cards offering no annual fee, naming the Iberia Bank Visa Classic card the best of the bunch. This is a surprising choice, especially considering the number of no-annual-fee cards available that offer better terms than the Iberia Bank card.
For contrast, let`s take a look at the Iberia Bank card next to a card that our Credit-Land.com experts say is one of the best no-annual-fee credit cards, the Citi Platinum Select Visa card. Here are the highlights of the terms and conditions for each card:
- Iberia Bank Pick: Visa Classic credit card
- No annual fee
- Introductory rate on balance transfers: 1.99 percent for six months
- Variable APR on purchases: 7.25-13.25 percent based on credit history
- Credit-Land.com Pick: Citi Platinum Select Visa credit card
- No annual fee
- Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers: Zero percent for 18 months
- Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers after promotional period: 11.99-21.99 percent based on credit history
The Iberia Bank Visa card may offer a slightly lower ongoing APR, but their promotional period on balance transfers – 1.99 percent for only six months – can`t touch Citi`s offer of zero percent for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers. Also, the Citi Platinum Select Visa has a rewards program that lets card holders earn ten percent back on purchases each month – the Extra Cash program. The Iberia Bank card doesn`t offer a rewards program.
More Rewarding Cards
While it`s true that many rewards credit cards do carry an annual fee, not all of them do. If people are in the market for a no-annual-fee credit card and their credit is good, there’s no reason not to apply for a card that will give you cash back, bonus miles, or points rewards.
Almost none of Discover`s credit cards carry annual fees – the exception is the Discover Escape card, which carries a $60 annual fee – and all Discover cards offer great cash back or miles reward programs.
Citi, as well, offers their ThankYou points rewards program on no-annual fee cards like the CitiThankYou Preferred card, which not only offers reward points, but gives you the chance to earn 15,000 bonus points during the first three months of card ownership. That`s worth $150 in gift cards.
Sneaky Credit Card Companies?
Brian Dolezal, of TopConsumerReviews.com, says that “Consumers are often surprised to see a hefty annual charge on their credit card statement that they didn`t realize was coming. Credit cards can be sneaky about placing annual fee charges in the fine print – something that many consumers don’t bother to read before signing up.”
In fact, most credit card applications list the annual fee, if there is one, very clearly on the front page of the application. The Credit CARD Act of 2009 requires that they do this. Cards with no annual fee almost always put this in large print on their website to comply with the regulations, making it easy for customers to find a no-annual fee card that will work for their needs.
Waiving Goodbye, One Year Only
Consumers should be aware that many cards that waive the annual fee for the first year. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card, an airline rewards card, has an annual fee of $95, but it`s waived for the first year. So just because you`re not charged a fee for the first year, it doesn`t mean the card doesn`t have an annual fee. Customers should always read the terms and conditions of a card before applying.
The most elite cards offer big rewards but have annual fees that are not waived. The American Express Platinum Card, for example, has an annual fee of $450. However there are hundreds of no-annual fee cards on the market now, making it easy for anyone to avoid paying an annual fee if they do the smallest amount of research.