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 great credit and the right cards for you.

Great card reviews come first.

We make money through relationships with 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 our Editor’s Ratings on cards, either.

We’re committed to honesty in our card reviews and best card picks. 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.

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.┬áContact us any time here.

Meet the Credit Card Insider Team

Photo of John Ganotis

John Ganotis

Founder

    John is committed to helping people understand how credit works and use it to their advantage. 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. He's 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 ecommerce and technology for 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 clearly, and that we have up to date reviews of credit cards so you can find the card that's right for you.

      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.