Some cards attempt to add value by including online bill pay, credit monitoring or other fee-worthy features. Magic Johnson hit plenty of double-doubles on the court, but his MAGIC prepaid MasterCard just finds ways to double up on service charges. Along with a monthly fee, you'll pay a customer service surcharge if you need help from a live agent more than once every thirty days. Put Bluebird against Magic, and the matchup looks more like a Globetrotters/Generals farce than a classic Celtics/Lakers battle.
Most embarrassing credit card
Last year, we called the
Visa Black Card
the "least premium" premium credit card on the market. This year, we're just going to start a support group for anyone who thinks it's okay to spend extra money on a carbon-constructed card designed to mimic an
American Express Centurion Card
. It's like carrying a fake Louis Vuitton handbag, but without the joy of knowing that you only paid a few bucks for the knockoff.
Post-recession frugality is hotter than hot right now. If you're not carrying the "real" black card, let yourself get seen swiping a card that actually saves you money. Barclaycard, the Black Card's issuer, actually expanded the market for their superior Barclaycard Ring low interest card over the past year. Alternately, a Chase Sapphire Preferred account comes with far more practical perks and privileges, with cash back rewards and an annual fee less than a fifth of the Black Card's.
The lifetime shame-chievement award
First Premier Bankcard
CEO Miles Beacom has been
complaining publicly for years
about how new banking regulations have been hampering his company's business model. Before the Credit CARD Act, First Premier routinely issued credit cards for bad credit that carried APRs as high as 79.9 percent. Even worse, they tacked on fees that would reduce your available credit to a fraction of your credit limit, even before your card arrived in the mail.
Rather than run afoul of the Act, Beacom's company now charges application fees in advance, then draws the maximum service fee after issuing a new account: 25 percent of a cardholder's available credit. Credit line increases come with their own service charges, and most consumers who end up with one of this bank's accounts pay far more in interest and fees than they ever could actually spend on the card. First Premier wins this award for still championing the most cynical way to squeeze cash from consumers who need the most support and guidance during rocky financial times.