5 Worst Credit Cards of 2011: CardRatings' Plastic Hall Of Shame

Visa Black Card
Visa Black Card

We Americans can't live without our credit cards -- but there are a few varieties of plastic that should be kept out of consumers' wallets, according to CardRatings.com, which bills itself as the nation's leading free consumer source for comparing credit card offers.

Here's CardRatings take on the Five Worst Credit Cards of 2011 (plus one that you should reconsider).

Highest Interest Rate: First Premier Gold:
This partially-secured credit card carries a high fixed APR of 49.9%. It also slaps on other charges, such as a first year fee of $75 and a $6.50 monthly fee.

Most Deceptive Marketing
: Applied Bank Platinum Zero: This secured credit card, which targets consumers who have bad credit, promises no interest on purchases for the life of the card. However, "digging into the fine print tells a different story," CardRatings says: It's service charges can run to nearly $120 per year.

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Worst Secured Credit Card: Applied Bank Gold Visa: The Delaware-based start-up bank eliminated the grace period on purchases, "so interest starts accruing the moment you swipe," CardRatings says.

The Least "Premium" Credit Card: Visa Black Card: The American Express Centurion card carries a hefty $5,000 annual fee, but it offers perks such as concierge services, where users can land tickets to sold-out sporting events or reservations to restaurants that have been booked for months just a day in advance of purchase, CardRatings says.

The Visa Black Card's $495 annual feel is a fraction of the Centurion's, but the card has been designed to look like the American Express card. Instead, though, it's "a weird, cheap knockoff," featuring perks similar to what would be found on much less expensive cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred, CardRatings says.

Most Embarrassing Credit Card: World of Warcraft Visa: This card promises to reward lovers of the online game World of Warcraft. It offers users a point for every dollar spent, and when they rack up 1,500 points, they earn a month of free WoW game time. "However, with prepaid game time cards selling online for $10 per month, cardholders essentially get less than 0.67% back in cash value," according to CardRatings.

Even consumers with just a so-so credit rating can get credit cards that offer at least 1% back, CardRatings says.

Card With the Most Unfairly Bad Reputation: J.C. Penney Retail Credit Car
d: Like most department store credit cards, the J.C. Penney Retail Credit Card carries a high interest rate. "However, J.C. Penney beats other retailers hands down for the unexpected perks and bonus coupons they serve up to cardholders all year long," CardRatings says.

CreditRatings credit card experts said they received discounts of up to 30% from the card, and have saved hundreds of dollars a year.