Some people look forward to late December each year, when they can peruse lists of the year's best books, movies, and music. Some enjoy the annual wrap-up of the best new cars or the top schools. I myself enjoy driving by a local extermination company, because it features a "pest of the month" display in its parking lot (the winner is often the "house mouse").

Other people, though, are different. They look forward to reviews of the year's top credit cards. Since I'm sure you're in that camp (aren't most of us, after all?), I'm happy to report that I've got such a list right here, courtesy of the folks at Without further ado, here are some of the top new cards of 2006, chosen because of their features, the breadth of their appeal, and the interest they generated at the company's website:

  • JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE:JPM) Chase Home Improvement Rewards Visa. This card offers 3% rebates on home improvement-related purchases, and 1% rebates on everything else. It also gives cardholders one point for every dollar paid in interest.
  • Best Buy's (NYSE:BBY) Best Buy Reward Zone MasterCard. This card offers 4% back on purchases at Best Buy, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • The Enlightenment Card. This one lets cardholders earn points redeemable for yoga classes, meditation assistance, spiritual retreats, and the like.
  • Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) Bank of America MLB Extra Bases Credit Card. This revamped card offers more unique baseball-related rewards.
  • General Motors' (NYSE:GM) newly retooled GM Flexible Earnings Card. Unlike the previous version, which let cardholders rack up discounts on GM cars, this one offers cash back as an alternative.
  • Borders Group's (NYSE:BGP) Borders 3.2.1 Visa. This one offers the usual accumulation of rewards points, and it also offers double points on purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores.
  • BP's (NYSE:BP) BP Visa Rewards. This card offers 5% rebates on BP purchases, 2% rebates at restaurants, and 1% back everywhere else.
  • Home Depot's (NYSE:HD) Home Depot Rewards MasterCard. The new development here is that this Home Depot card can be used outside Home Depot, too, with Home Depot purchases paying double points and other purchases offering regular points.

Another card to consider
While we may still have to wait for an IRS Rewards Card that offers us double rewards points for every dollar we pay in taxes, it's clear that there are still some compelling cards out there. One more option to consider is our own suite of Motley Fool credit cards. A while back, SmartMoney magazine listed one of our offerings as a top low-fee card. Check them out; we worked hard to negotiate the best packages we could for you. (They're spiffy, too -- mine rarely fails to get a favorable comment every time I whip it out.)

And finally, learn much more about the surprisingly interesting credit card industry in our Credit Center, which also features tips on getting out of debt, along with guidance on how to manage your credit effectively. Really. I mean it. There's some great stuff in our Credit Center, and it's all free reading.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Home Depot. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are Income Investor picks. Best Buy is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Home Depot and MasterCard are Inside Value selections. The Motley Fool has a full disclosure policy.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.