4 Hyped Credit Card Trends That Need to End
Exciting credit card news isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Here are the hyped credit card trends that we’re sick of seeing. Image source: Getty Images.
Sometimes it seems like there’s a constant stream of credit card offers coming out on a daily basis. Each one is positioned as the latest and greatest, with banks advertising card benefits in giant letters, telling you exactly how many points you can get or how much money this card could save you.
Don’t let the excessive positivity fool you, though. Not every credit card trend lives up to the hype, and there are a few in particular that we’d like to see come to an end.
1. Hard-to-use credits
This is easily the credit card trend I despise the most. You see a card that offers, for example, a $100 travel credit. Of course, the card has an annual fee, but that credit can help reduce the card’s cost quite a bit.
Save: This credit card has one of the longest intro 0% interest periods around
More: Save while you pay off debt with one of these top-rated balance transfer credit cards
Only then do you look at the details on this travel credit and notice that it strictly covers airline charges. Alright, that could at least be helpful for seat upgrades or change fees -- nope, those aren’t eligible.
The cards that credit you a set amount per month are just as frustrating. Instead of just giving you the full $100 or $200 annually for dining or rideshares, it’s a smaller monthly stipend, making it harder to max out your credit.
Your credit card is supposed to make your life easier, not make you jump through hoops to use it to its full potential.
2. A credit card for every brand
At this point, I think it’d be hard to find a brand that isn’t offering its own credit card. Here’s just a few of the major brands that either have launched or announced plans to launch their own credit card:
Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Now, it makes sense why companies would do this. Credit cards make money for the card issuer, and a card for a specific brand can help boost customer loyalty.
Just because it’s good for the brand doesn’t mean it’s good for consumers, though. Most consumers would get better rewards and benefits going with one of the most popular travel or cash back cards, as those are more versatile.
3. Zero percent intro APR offers
On the surface, 0% intro APR offers seem like a great deal. You can make an expensive purchase and repay it over time without paying anything extra for that privilege. So far, so good.
The drawback here is that these 0% intro APR offers frequently have deferred interest. What that means is if you fail to pay off the full balance within the intro period, the creditor can charge you all the interest starting with when you first made the purchase. If you really need to finance a purchase, 0% intro APR credit cards are a safer option since they will have waived interest during the intro period.
It’s also important to recognize that these offers are designed to encourage you to spend money. Many a consumer has bought something expensive they really didn’t need solely because they could get it at zero interest.
4. Airport lounge access for everyone
Unlike the other trends mentioned, this one involves a perk that I actually like. I’m a huge fan of credit cards with airport lounge access, as it’s nice to kick back with free drinks and comfortable seating before your flight.
I should correct myself here -- just about everyone is a fan of credit cards with lounge access, and about as many people have one of their own at this point. Lounge access, in particular access to Priority Pass lounges, has become a common perk among several of the best travel cards. When so many people use a service, it’s bound to get watered down.
Not only can more people than ever get into airport lounges, but they often bring a big group of travel companions with them. That has led to lounges cutting back on their benefits and restricting entry more frequently because they’re close to capacity. Oftentimes those supposedly luxurious airport lounges are just as packed and chaotic as the boarding area.
Don’t fall for the hype
Despite these overhyped trends, credit cards can still be an excellent value when used properly. What’s important is picking a credit card that fits your spending and has perks you can really use.
The first step to picking the right card is figuring out whether you want cash back or travel rewards, and focus on what a card can earn you in either of those areas. If any other card benefits catch your eye, make sure to find out exactly how they work and what they offer so you don’t end up disappointed later.
Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2024
If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee.
In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.