Credit Cards Personal Finance

5 Worst Credit Cards On The Market

Written by Jason Steele

Credit cards can offer amazing rewards and benefits, but only when you use the right card. The best cards can offer valuable rewards, low interest rates and reasonable fees. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are some lousy credit cards that are marketed to unsophisticated card users.

How to spot a bad credit card

The hallmarks of bad credit cards are high fees, uncompetitive or unspecified rewards, and extremely high interest rates. These cards could be marketed to those with poor credit, or average credit or even excellent credit. Applying for a credit card is an important financial decision, and you should always compare the terms from several different competing cards before making a decision.

Here are the five worst credit cards on the market today:

1. First Premier Bank Visa.

This card is marketed to those with “less than perfect credit,” and it offers extremely high rates and fees that are structured in a way that can be very confusing. To start off with, it has an astronomical standard interest rate of 36% as well as a one-time “processing fee” of $95. It then hits you with a variety of annual fees and service fees, depending on the size of your credit limit and other factors. Other outrageous fees include a cash advance fee of $6.00 or 5%, whichever is greater, and a late payment fee of up to $37.00. If your credit is so bad that you are considering applying for this card, save your money and apply for a secured card instead.

2. 1-2-3 Rewards Visa card from US Bank and Kroger.

Kroger is a giant supermarket chain that includes such brands as Ralph’s, Smith’s, King Soopers, and Harris Teeter. And while these stores appear to be competitive in their markets, it’s co-branded credit card is anything but. These cards offer three points per dollar spent on Kroger brand items, two points per dollar spent elsewhere in Kroger stores, and one point per dollar spent anywhere Visa is accepted. When you redeem 1,000 worth of points, you receive just $5 in free groceries, which makes every point worth a mere $0.005, or half a cent. This is far below the rate of return you could expect from nearly any credit card, and only a small fraction of the rewards offered by a competitive card such as the American Express Blue Cash Preferred, which features 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent each year at US supermarkets.

3. UBS Preferred Visa Signature credit card.

This card offers three points per dollar spent on air travel, double points for gas and grocery purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. It’s unclear what exactly these points can be redeemed for, and how much these points are worth, which is not acceptable for a card like this that has an annual fee of $495. It does offer access to airport business lounges, but there are plenty of other cards that do so while offering more valuable rewards.

4. Surge credit card.

This is secured credit card, but it’s loaded with fees.

Start with an annual fee of $125 for the first year and $96 per year after that. Cardholders are also hit with another $120 in annual fees that billed at $10 per month. If you want to add an authorized cardholder, that’s another $30 fee. The standard interest rate for this card is 30.24%, and all fees owed will count against your credit limit. There are many good secured credit card offers available, but
this isn’t one of them.

5. Vast Platinum Card.

If you look closely at this credit card, you might notice that something is missing, which is participation in a payment network such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. This means that you can only use it to buy products at their online store myuniqueoutlet.com. Other pitfalls include an application fee of $29.95, a monthly fee of $19.95 and agreeing to receive marketing materials and phone calls from numerous “partners.” Run, don’t walk, away from this card.

About the author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a freelance journalist specializing in credit cards and personal finance. His work has appeared in many of the top personal finance sites as well as mainstream outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and Business Insider.

11 Comments

  • First Premiere Bankcard is by far the worst card to have, even after paying them on time for a year, they wanted to charge me a 3% charge on an increase. I paid their asses of and cut up the card.

  • Regarding the closing of a card, I have had the Credit One card for over 5 years. Of course as many others, I have been paying the $8.25 fee for fear of dinging credit. This card has had a zero balance except for these horrific broken down annual fees, for a while now. I have read frightening reviews of others trying to close account, with no success. I am ceasing all activity regarding this card, (except for these fees I continue to receive), although at a loss as to closing it.

  • Do not close it. It will affect your score. Lenders today are looking for three tradelines for 24 months depending on the loan. Some will look at alternative credit like insurance, phone bill, gym membership , and others. Get a head start before you start looking for a home and be pre-approved to submit with your offer.
    Happy Househunting!

  • I have a First Premier card. It was the first card I got 13 years ago. I keep a zero balance and do not use it. I have been debating on closing it, I am about to buy a house I wasn’t sure if it would lower my score by doing so before I qualified.

  • Vast Platinum should be listed as the #1 card to avoid AT ALL COSTS. And there are an abundance of costs. Vast wants to help you spend what they already know you don’t have: “Disposable Income.”

    That card should come with an announcement which reads: “Are you really this desperate? Seriously? We are so thrilled that there are consumers like you!”

  • Thanks very much, Jason. I find your precautions very true and apt. I note the very things you mentioned, fees, fees, fees, and high-interest rates on cards for people like me, with less than perfect credit. You’re providing a tremendous service for unsophisticated and/or desperate people.

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