Best charge card services ... and traps to avoid
Charge card with the best interest rate: The Simmons First Visa Platinum. Don't be fooled by charge cards that offer 0% interest ... and then skyrocket after a limited time. Simmons First Visa Platinum is a solid low-interest-rate charge card with a 7.25% APR.
Charge card with the best annual fee: American Express Clear. A ton of charge cards offer no annual fee ... but then stack up on other fees. The American Express Clear charge card has no annual fees, plus no fees for cash advances, balance transfers, for exceeding your limit or late payments, which makes it a standout charge card.
Charge card with best cash-back service: Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express. Don't expect to score the cash back deals you used to see from charge cards. Many charge card companies have been scaling back recently, by offering rewards over 1% only for special promotional periods or for specific purchases on the charge card. But the Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express charge card gives 2% cash back on every purchase. The rewards for the charge card are directed toward a Fidelity college savings, retirement or brokerage account. First runner up: the Bank of America Accelerated Cash Rewards American Express charge card, which has no annual fee and gives 1.25% cash back on all your charge card purchases.
Charge card with best point/rewards service: American Express Blue. Be careful of point/reward charge cards that let you accumulate points but mark up their merchandise, so you get less bang for your points. The American Express Blue charge card has no annual fee and offers a high actual rate of return on your charge card rewards.
Charge card with best miles program: Citi PremierPass MasterCard. Many consumers sign up for charge cards attached to airline mileage programs, but unless you fly often and exclusively on one airline, you're probably not getting your money's worth out of your charge card purchases. Plus, these charge cards are notorious for their high annual fees, sometimes as high as $80 or more. The Citi PremierPass MasterCard lets you accumulate points for purchases as well as for miles flown when you use your charge card to purchase your ticket -- and it has no annual fee.
Charge Card with best gas program: The TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express. Unless you only get your gas from one particular brand of gas station, this type of charge card usually doesn't pay off. But the TrueEarnings charge card gives Costco members 3% back on gas purchases from any gas station up to $3,000, and 1% back after that. Plus, you get 2% back on travel purchases and 1% on all other purchases. If you're not a Costco member, check out the Chase PerfectCard MasterCard, a charge card that provides 3% back on gas charges and 1% on other purchases.
Charge card with best concierge service: Chase Sapphire Visa Signature. Charge cards that offer concierge perks are often expensive, but the Chase Sapphire Visa Signature charge card gives you 24-hour access to its concierge service, at no annual fee.