About Credit Card Insider

Our mission is to empower people to use credit cards to their advantage, with confidence. This starts with an understanding of how credit cards work and how to build credit.

We only encourage responsible credit card use. This means paying on time and in full every month to avoid fees and credit card debt. We don’t encourage attempts to manipulate credit scoring systems in tricky ways. We don’t advocate constantly applying for and cancelling cards to game sign-up bonuses.

Our focus is on the long term: building habits and knowledge that lead to excellent credit and the right cards for you.

Great card reviews come first.

We make money through relationships with advertising partners. They pay us for credit card approvals on some cards. Unlike many credit card sites, we don’t base our best card picks on these relationships. Partner relationships do not impact the star ratings we give cards, either.

We’re committed to honesty in our card reviews. You can count on us to tell the truth about a card, whether the issuer pays us for approvals or not. We’ll tell you which cards are best in our opinion, even if those cards don’t earn a commission.

To learn more, read about how we rate cards, or check out our Editorial Guidelines.

If you’re new to credit cards, start with our guide to building credit. If you’re looking for a card, see our top picks here. Contact us any time here.

The Credit Card Insider Team
John Ganotis, Brendan Harkness, Jacob Lunduski, Courteney Reed, Oliver Browne, Nathan Grant, and Taylor Michael

Meet the Credit Card Insider Team

Photo of John Ganotis

John Ganotis


    John is committed to helping people understand how credit works and use it to their advantage. Since 2007, when he first worked in the finance industry, he’s been building his credit knowledge. It’s his mission to communicate this knowledge clearly to everyone who’s willing to learn, constantly improving the guides and reviews on Credit Card Insider since 2013. He knows firsthand how easy it is to accumulate credit card debt, the challenge of paying it off completely, and the satisfaction of using credit to his advantage. John is devoted to making Credit Card Insider the best resource for those looking to understand credit and use credit cards as a powerful tool rather than fear them.
    Photo of Brendan Harkness

    Brendan Harkness

    Editor and Columnist

      Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over six years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
      Photo of Jacob Lunduski

      Jacob Lunduski

      Industry Analyst

        Jacob follows the latest trends in the credit card industry. He connects with communities to help educate them on various credit topics. His mission is to help people in different credit scenarios build and use credit responsibly.
        Photo of Susan Shain

        Susan Shain


          Susan is a freelance writer who specializes in turning complex financial topics into engaging and accessible articles. She's been writing about personal finance for six years, and was previously the senior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a staff writer at Student Loan Hero. Her personal finance writing has also appeared in publications like The New York Times, MarketWatch, and Lifehacker.
          Photo of Courteney Reed

          Courteney Reed

          Industry Analyst

            Courteney aims to help people achieve their financial goals responsibly. She works as a Financial Industry Analyst, studying and reporting on the latest trends.
            Photo of Oliver Browne

            Oliver Browne

            Industry Analyst

              Oliver is an Industry Analyst at Credit Card Insider. With an educational background in business and law, Oliver researches and writes on a multitude of topics including personal finance, small business management, and commercial law.
              Photo of Nathan Grant

              Nathan Grant

              Industry Analyst

                Nathan strives to connect with individuals and communities to help educate them on money matters and make them more financially aware. He believes that achieving financial success begins with identifying your priorities and facing them head on.
                Photo of Taylor Michael

                Taylor Michael

                Industry Analyst

                  Taylor specializes in community outreach. His goal is to educate others on responsible credit card usage and how to build credit scores properly. With a background in digital marketing and business management, he reports on numerous topics within the industry.

                  How We Rate Credit and Charge Cards

                  We rate cards compared to each other. The best cards offer the highest reward-earning potential, the most valuable benefits, the lowest fees, and the lowest interest rates. The worst cards have the opposite. Most cards fall somewhere in-between. Advertiser relationships do not affect our rating of cards, how we choose cards for our Editor's Best Card Picks, or the order in which cards appear on card lists.

                  Card Type and Benefits

                  Card type is one of the biggest factors in a card’s estimation, as it only makes sense to compare travel cards to other travel cards, student cards to other student cards, and so on. Cash back cards are rated based on how much cash back can be earned and for what kinds of purchases, for example. Secured cards are expected to have a lower credit requirement and provide fewer benefits, so this is not held against them. Other card types are also judged according to their particular intent.

                  Extra card benefits tend to be similar across cards: extended warranties, travel insurance, concierge service, etc. The differences are in the types of benefits and the extent of the service. For example, the travel insurance of one card may provide coverage up to $1,000, while another card may provide coverage up to $10,000.

                  Interest Rates and Fees

                  Interest rates can vary greatly for purchases and balance transfers, but they are usually similar for cash advances. A one or two point difference in interest rates is not seen as significant, but introductory 0% APR’s are seen as quite valuable.

                  Some penalties and fees are normal for credit and charge cards. Strict, severe penalties for late payments and other infractions are not necessarily bad, as they can be avoided, but these will lower a card’s worth compared to more forgiving cards with similar rates and benefits.

                  Acquiring Cards and Public Opinion

                  If a card is difficult to get, such as requiring a high credit rating, and it also offers relatively bad terms, it will fall farther down on the rating scale. But if a card is difficult to get but offers great terms, the difficulty will not count against it because it is exclusive for a good reason.

                  The opinions of the general public and visitor reviews also weigh into the rating of a card. These can include any and all of the experiences people are having with the card: reports about the quality of customer service, whether it works as it should, surprises in store for cardholders, etc.

                  Advertiser relationships do not in any way affect our rating of cards when comparing them to each other, or when choosing cards for our “Best” editor’s picks.

                  The Insider

                  Susan Shain
                  What Are the World’s Most Exclusive Luxury Credit Cards? Here Are 8
                  Susan Shain | Oct 15, 2018

                  Want to see how the other half lives? Here are the world's most exclusive credit cards — one even has diamonds on it! We also share 3 you can apply for.

                  Read More
                  Kat Tretina
                  Review of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
                  Kat Tretina | Oct 11, 2018

                  The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students is made for limited credit and offers 2X points on dining and entertainment, plus other benefits.

                  Read More
                  Susan Shain
                  Can You Make a Mortgage Payment By Credit Card? Everything You Need to Know
                  Susan Shain | Oct 05, 2018

                  Ready to make a mortgage payment by credit card? Here's how to do so with minimal fees — plus the seven best credit cards to pay your mortgage with.

                  Read More