Types of credit cards you’ll want to avoid 

While there are plenty of amazing credit cards out there, there are types of credit cards you may very well want to avoid.

As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid retail credit cards and subpar credit cards that I discuss in detail below. Note that there may occasionally be an exception to this rule. But more often than not, it’s better to skip them altogether.

Retail credit cards

Retail credit cards give companies a way to earn money by allowing consumers to finance their purchases with high-interest rates. They can also help people buy more at their favorite stores than they might be able to buy if they had to pay cash.

While these cards may offer no interest if you pay in full by a certain date, these cards can actually charge you interest from the date of the purchase if you violate the terms or don’t pay in full by the deadline. This is called deferred interest financing.

In addition, these cards typically offer poor rewards, if any at all, and normally have sky-high APRs outside of their promotional offers.

Subpar rewards cards 

While there are a ton of rewards credit cards, most don’t offer the best earning rates or redemption options.

While the top cash back credit cards may offer two percent cash back on all purchases, there are plenty of cards that result in earning a value of one percent or less for every dollar you spend.

Always try to get a rewards value of at least one and a half percent, if not two percent or higher, for every dollar you spend on a rewards card.

Credit card types with special considerations

Finding the best credit card for you also depends on your particular situation and your credit.

For example, you may be looking to finance a large purchase for an extended period of time. Other potential reasons could include:

So as you narrow down your choice for picking a new credit card, be sure to do a final review for how each credit card offer can actually help you meet your goal.


In the case of financing a large purchase for an extended period of time, finding a card with a long introductory 0% APR offer will help you keep your interest costs down while you pay off your purchase.

While it’s important to look at how a credit card can help you meet your goals, you also need to make sure it isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg to do so. That’s why it’s important to look at the APRs and fees for each credit card you’re considering, too.

In general, the lower the APRs and fees a credit card has, the better off you’ll be in the long-term if you ever have to carry a balance.

Other general benefits

Don’t forget to look at the other benefits credit cards offer, as well. Credit cards can save you a ton of money with features like price protection, extended warranty coverage, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel statement credits and more.

While these may not be the main reason you’re looking at a particular card, they can easily influence you to pick one card over another similar card that doesn’t offer additional benefits.

Summary of recommended credit cards by type

Now that you’ve got a top-down understanding of the different types of credit cards out there, it’s easier to understand why there are so many different types. Because it really depends on what you’re looking for and your particular situation, and what your priorities are for the given moment.

Our recommendations are summarized in the table below – our favorite cards in each category type; take a look!

Card TypeCard
Secured credit cardsDiscover it(R) Secured
Balance transfers credit cardsDiscover it(R) Balance Transfer
General travel credit cardsChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee credit cardsChase Freedom Flex
Student credit cardsDiscover it(R) Student Chrome

There’s a lot to choose from out there for sure, and you may very well end up applying for more than one card!

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About the author

Total Articles: 71
Lance Cothern is the founder of Money Manifesto, a personal finance blog that helps people to master their money so they can live their ideal life. In addition to blogging, he enjoys spending time at the beach with his family. You can connect with Lance on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.