The New Year is all about change and reevaluation. You probably already reevaluated many other parts of your life – eating and exercise, for example – but how about your finances? When did you last look at the terms on your credit card to see how they compete against the newest cards on the market?
We assembled our favorite four cards to begin 2015. Compare them to your current card. If there are major differences, perhaps it’s time to make a change – or call your current card company and renegotiate your terms.
Cash Back Card: Capital One Quicksilver
If you feel like the Capital One cards are a bit overhyped (you know the ads), you might intentionally avoid even looking at the cards. But by most standards, they’re some of the best on the market.
The Quicksilver is a cash back card that pays 1.5% back on every purchase. There aren’t those annoying rolling categories where this month only gas purchases earn you rewards. The simple rewards program, along with the potentially low APR of 12.9% to 22.9% and the 0% introductory rate, make the card attractive. There’s no annual fee, and you get a $100 bonus if you spend $500 within the first three months of having the card. For more choices, see Find The Top Cash Back Credit Cards.
Rewards Card: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card
If you travel frequently, once again, Capital One has you covered. With the VentureOne card, for every $1 you spend, you get 1.25 miles. If you spend $1,000 in the first three months, you get 20,000 bonus miles.
Because Capital One makes everything easy, the rewards are easy to understand. Simply add two zeros. If your airline ticket is $300, you need 30,000 miles.
The APR is 11.9% to 19.9% depending on your credit score, and the 0% introductory rate will last up to one year. There is no foreign transaction fee either. For more, see Credit Card Review: The VentureOne Rewards Card. For additional options, see Top Airline Miles Credit Cards.
Balance Transfers: Slate from Chase
This is the card you need if you’re looking to transfer balances from other cards. Slate gives you a 0% APR for the first 15 months of balance transfers. For the first 60 days, any transferred balance is fee-free, compared to the 3% to 5% of the total amount you could pay to transfer a balance to a competing card. If you transferred $5,000, this card could save you $150 to $250 just in upfront transfer fees, plus what you save on interest.
The APR after the introductory period is between 12.99% and 22.99%, there’s no annual fee, and there are no rewards points. See Understanding Credit Card Balance Transfers and Transferring Credit Card Balances To A New Card. Also, 0% Balance Transfers: Who Really Benefits.
Avoiding Penalties: Citi Simplicity
The name says it all. This card is impressive for two main reasons: Its Introductory APR of 0% lasts for 18 months, and there are no late fees, annual fees or penalty APRs – ever. That's quite different from what often happens when people pay their credit card bill late and are hit with a penalty rate. Normally around 30%, this APR will last until you convince the card issuer to remove it; sometimes that’s hard to do. With this card, that will never happen.
After 18 months, the APR is a standard 12.99% to 22.99% depending on your credit score. Everything else about the card is standard. It costs 3% of the amount or $5 (whichever is greater) to transfer a balance, for example, but that’s still a good deal if you get 18 interest-free months to pay it off.
The Bottom Line
The list of available credit cards is huge. Narrow your search by first knowing your goals. Are you trying to earn rewards? Do you want to pay off a balance or earn free trips? If you travel frequently, you probably want a travel card.
And don’t forget that credit card rewards are the most valuable if you aren’t paying interest. Make 2015 the year that you pay no interest on any new purchase.