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NerdWallet vs the Consumer Reports Credit Card Survey

Oct. 6, 2010
Credit Cards
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Consumer Reports just released the results of their annual credit card survey, which largely just confirms what J.D. Power and the PEW Health Group have already reported.  Namely, that Americans are marginally more satisfied with their credit cards, but that the credit card world is far from perfect.  Hardly a conclusion that will have me running out to buy a copy.

What I did find interesting is that they make a handful of credit card recommendations, so of course I had to compare them with NerdWallet’s favorites to see how they do in their own “Expert, Independent, Nonprofit” (their tagline) smell test.

How did Consumer Reports do?

Their cash back cards:

  • Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, which we recently recommended in lieu of using Amex Membership Rewards for Amazon purchases.  PASS
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which we recently reported has gotten even better now that users won’t have to wait a full year to redeem their cash back.  PASS
  • TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express, which we have noted is one of the best rewards cards out there, especially for the big-car-driving, big-grocery-buying suburban types.  PASS
  • Chase Freedom® is the only card on which we don’t agree with CR.  FAIL
  • Fidelity American Express, which is now the only true 2% cash back card remaining, since the Schwab Invest First Visa is no more. PASS
  • And PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, which would be the best gas credit card out there, if it weren’t so damn hard to get.  PASS


  • And the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card, a great travel rewards card even before PenFed announced that they would be paying double rewards until the end of 2010.  PASS


  • Platinum and Iberiabank Visa® Classic Card are definitely near the top of our low interest credit card rankings, but it should be noted that they are generally only given to people with good to great credit, and that better deals can be found with credit unions and local banks.  PASS
  • And the PenFed Promise Visa® Card is a great no-frills and no-fees(!) credit card, but like the other cards in PenFed’s arsenal, it’s very hard to get.  PASS

Least favorite credit cards:

  • The First Premier Bank MasterCard made it onto our Wall of Shame in a guest post detailing the ins and outs of secured credit cards.  PASS
  • But their mention of the Applied Bank Platinum Zero leaves me thinking they didn’t dig nearly hard enough.  The $119 cumulative “monthly maintenance fees” are nothing compared to some other cards out there.  The Baby Phat Rush Card, for example, charges up to $10 per month for usage, plus a $20 sign-up fee.  And the Vision Prepaid card charges $5 per month on top of the $7 monthly maintenance fee every time you don’t spend $1,000 the previous month.  FAIL