Top 50 Most Useful Sites• Are you tired of getting bombarded with commercial websites while searching for credit card information online?
• Are you having trouble finding sites that are trustworthy?
• Are you simply just looking for tips, advice and recommendations about credit cards from sites that you know you can trust?
At CreditCardAssist.com, we provide as much unique, unbiased credit card information as we possibly can. But overall, finding trustworthy information on credit cards online is really difficult.
Fortunately for you, we have done all of the heavy lifting already.
We built our own comprehensive list of all the most useful, most unbiased, most trustworthy web sites on credit cards available anywhere. This list took a very long time to research and compile, but in the end, you’ll find it to be the most comprehensive list of its kind anywhere.
Check out our 2008 Top 50 Most Useful Credit Card Sites list.
How We Built Our Top 50 List
How did we compile this list you may be asking? We first went looking for a definitive directory or site that might already contain all of the best web sites for credit card information. We looked on a wide variety of directories and search engines, including DMOZ, Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Business.com and many, many others, but we never found that list. We discovered that most of the highest ranking sources of information on credit cards in search engines were mainly commercially oriented web sites geared predominantly toward selling or promoting credit card offers or credit related services.
We, however, were looking for credit card content that was unbiased and predominantly non-commercial in nature. We wanted to provide our users a single source and an authoritative list of all the most useful credit card sites that we could recommend to our users. In the process of putting this list together, we devised our own unique scoring system for ranking credit card sites and pages.
The formula that we used factored in 7 variables to rank each page. Our ranking methodology weighted the merit of the content most heavily above all other variables. The merit or usefulness of the content was measured across three dimensions: depth, authority and objectivity.
We published a detailed outline of the methodology behind our scoring system that ranked the top 50 most useful credit card web sites here: http://www.creditcardassist.com/Finding-the-Most-Useful-Sites.pdf
Here’s our list of the Top 50 Most Useful Credit Card Sites available anywhere:
1) Secret History of the Credit Card
The top score in our ranking system was given to PBS Frontline’s documentary titled "The Secret History of the Credit Card", which is, in our opinion, the quintessential documentary about the industry. "Secret History" is the best behind the scenes look at how the credit card industry got started and the reason why it took off like a runaway freight train. The documentary starts with a video montage on the credit card industry, "Over a Thousand Miles from Wall Street," that opens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Spurred by the US Supreme Court’s infamous Marquette ruling in 1978 that effectively removed the ceiling on interest rates that credit card issuers could charge its customers, the state of South Dakota decided to eliminate its historic usury law on credit cards.
In 1981, Citibank moved it’s then drowning credit card operation from Detroit to South Dakota. As a result, Sioux Falls, known back then primarily as a cattle ranching town, wound up as the new birthplace of the credit card industry. It was at this point that the credit card business really took off. Another video in the documentary, "The Industry's Best Customers," profiles the credit card industry's most profitable as well as least profitable customers. The video covers the quagmire of revolving credit card debt suffered by families who have experienced sudden dramatic drops in income as the result of a job loss or from catastrophic medical disabilities of families with no health insurance. There are even more videos, articles and extensive interviews that are conducted with credit card industry, banking and contract law experts. In our opinion, there is no better resource available online that provides more depth, objectivity or authority on the subject of credit cards.
"The Secret History of the Credit Card" is a jaw-dropping look at the industry and a must-see for anyone researching credit cards or even for those just looking for a credit card for personal use.
Dr. Robert D. Manning is the author of Credit Card Nation, a book that has made an impact on public policy and research on consumer credit in the US. Dr. Manning has contributed to legislation concerning the marketing of credit cards to college students, bankruptcy reform, predatory lending, and financial education. This is a highly regarded and highly recommended resource on credit card industry practices across the board.
3) Credit Card Smarts Fact Sheets
From the University of Illinois Extension campus, the Consumer and Family Economics department has published a series of "Credit Card Smarts Fact Sheets" in PDF format. This very useful list of reference documents includes how to "Build a New Credit Record", "How to Choose the Best Credit Card" as well as how to "Decide How Many Credit Cards You Need". This web site contains outstanding credit-related information all in PDF format, making it easy to print and file for reference purposes.
4) Credit Cards Explained
Wikipedia has a nicely rounded tutorial on how the credit card payment system actually works. The page also documents the different parties involved in a credit card transaction, a discussion of what makes up the profits and losses in the credit card industry, and the history and conception of credit cards that were first introduced to society in 1887 by Edward Bellamy in his utopian novel Looking Backward.
No list of credit card sites would be complete without a mention of CardRatings.com. Even though the site ranked well in search engine results on Yahoo and MSN, much to our surprise, the site was virtually impossible to find in Google. CardRatings.com is a well-established, authoritative, leading site in the credit card industry and has been referenced or quoted by dozens of highly respected financial publications and media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Bank, U.S. World News & Report and the Washington Post. The site is loaded with data on over 700 card offers and deep content that includes reviews, blogs, forums, articles, calculators and industry related news. Although the site is commercially oriented, CardRatings.com, in our opinion, is one of the most comprehensive credit card sites online and a highly recommended resource.
6) Choosing a Credit Card
The Federal Reserve's web site on "Choosing a Credit Card" is a great site for basic information on choosing a credit card. The site covers how finance charges are calculated, what a grace period is, definitions of the terminology used on your credit card statements, and an in-depth discussion of the disclosure box on credit card statements. This page is most definitely a good starting point for research on credit cards.
7) Bankrate.com - Credit Cards
In our opinion, Bankrate.com is the hands down leader of all commercially-oriented personal finance web sites on the market. The credit cards section at Bankrate.com is loaded with tons of tips, how-to guides, articles, and financial calculators, making it one of the leading credit card hub sites and vital to have on any "Best of…" list for credit cards. While Bankrate’s score in our system was dampened primarily by its commercial leaning, it is no doubt one of the leading credit card and personal finance related sites available online.
8) Choosing and Using Credit Cards
This page is another great informational resource from the Federal Trade Commission web site on how to choose and use credit cards. This page goes into great detail on a wide variety of credit card topics including balance computation methods, cardholder protections, and how to dispute charges. The site also offers contact information for the various Federal banking institutions that have jurisdiction and maintain authority on the credit matter in question.
9) Your Credit Scores
Brought together by the Consumer Federation of America and sponsored by the Fair Isaac Corporation, "Your Credit Score" is a deep look at why credit scores matter for financial health, how a credit score is constructed, the 5 parts that makeup a credit score, and tips on how to improve your credit score. This page is a great informational resource and a highly recommended web site on credit scoring.
10) College Students and Credit Cards
"College Students and Credit Cards" is a comprehensive research study from the US General Accounting Office (GAO) in 2001. The report covers such things as the advantages and disadvantages of college student credit cards, various university policies on card marketing, the business strategies of card issuers for the college student target market, legislation regarding on-campus credit card solicitation, research of college students and credit cards, as well as a GAO letter issued directly to card issuers. This is the best "go-to" resource for student credit cards available anywhere. Even though the report is a bit academic, dry, and research-intensive, it is loaded with great information and highly useful.
11) Federal Reserve Consumer Help
The Federal Reserve Consumer Helpline constructed a PDF document for consumers who need instruction on how to file a complaint against a bank, credit card company or lending institution. The site helps simplify the process by outlining the steps to take, providing contact information for each specific government agency responsible for handling such inquiries. This is a very practical website to have access to for consumers who are considering filing a complaint.
12) Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud
This FTC site details information on how to guard against and avoid credit card and charge card fraud. The content is not deep, but considering the specific subject matter of credit card fraud, it doesn’t have to go much deeper in order to be highly useful and authoritative on this specific topic. This page is short, to the point, and a boiled down document that will serve the end user well.
13) Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards
This document titled "Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards" was published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Michelle White, a professor of Economics at the University of California San Diego. The paper discusses the rise in personal bankruptcies that are directly attributable to the huge increase in revolving consumer credit card debt and the recent bankruptcy legislation reforms. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005 essentially made bankruptcy more expensive to file for and recover from. Professor White concludes that just reforming the bankruptcy laws in a pro-creditor direction will not be enough to stem the tide of bankruptcies.
14) What You Need to Know About Getting Credit
The FTC web site is a great information page and primer on the topic of credit in general and a "must visit" for everybody, novices and experts alike, looking to learn about the credit world. This document is pretty basic in nature but will be highly relevant and tremendously useful to novices of the credit card market.
15) Your Guide to Credit – Links
This page from the US Financial Literacy and Education Commission is a fairly valuable resource with an impressive list of links to very specific credit-related FTC web sites and should be considered the "go-to" FTC resource site for all things credit-related.
16) A to Z Guide to Credit Cards
The California Department of Consumer Affairs has one of the best sites on credit cards available. The A to Z Guide to credit cards covers just that - from balance transfers to universal default - this site is one of our favorite comprehensive resources online for credit cards and another "must see" site for people researching credit cards.
17) Money Management - Credit Cards
From the University of Minnesota "One Stop" web site, this site contains some rudimentary information on topics such as understanding and using credit cards as well as links to other resources. It’s good basic information with some good links to other authority sites in the category (such as "Secret History of the Credit Card"). While this site is not as deep with content, it is nevertheless, a good primer on credit cards.
18) HowStuffWorks.com – How Credit Cards Work
The credit cards section on HowStuffWorks.com is an all around outstanding resource for credit cards. The site covers all of the usual core credit card topics, such as how a credit card works, how monthly payments and finance charges are calculated and how to get out of credit card debt. But the site also includes articles on very interesting credit card topics such as what the actual number on a credit card means and the mechanics of how the magnetic stripe on the back of a credit card actually works. This is an outstanding site for credit card related information and one that we highly recommend.
19) 2007 Credit Card Survey
Consumer Action News published the "2007 Credit Card Survey" of 20 credit card issuers and 83 individual credit cards. This is an amazing resource that covers many of the underhanded tricks that credit card issuers use on consumers such as universal default, unjustified late payment fees, residual interest, and 2-cycle billing. The site contains a host of other incredibly valuable information with respect to credit card industry practices. This document is a highly valuable resource on credit cards in general.
20) Reducing Credit Card Debt
From the Utah State University Extension, Professor Barbara Rowe, PhD, built a "Financial Fitness" worksheet that people can use to map out a plan to reduce their credit card debt. The document is very simple, easy to understand and pretty useful as a basic framework for how to pay off credit card debt.
21) Credit Matters
This web page by the Federal Trade Commission published back in 2000 titled "Credit Matters" discusses what to do if your credit card application is denied, how to get the best deal on a card, and what your specific federal protections are with respect to credit cards. This page provides solid, authoritative, and unbiased information.
22) Survey of Credit Card Plans
The Federal Reserve does a bi-annual survey of the "terms & conditions" of all the credit card plans offered by banking institutions in the US and then publishes the report on its web site. All of the largest credit card companies are included in the report as well as additional financial institutions who agreed to participate voluntarily.
CreditCards.com is the de facto leader of credit card resource sites online. The site contains a ton of great information on their various blogs, extensive reviews of specific credit cards, as well as a vast amount of articles on credit card related topics. While very much a commercially-oriented enterprise in the credit card space, CreditCards.com is undoubtedly a great resource for credit card related content online.
24) Guidelines on the On-Campus Marketing of Credit Cards to Students
The University of California's Office of the President web site published the "Policy and Supplemental Guidelines on the On-Campus Marketing of Credit Cards to Students", which will have limited use for the average consumer but is an interesting look at how academic institutions mandate policy to regulate credit card issuer activities.
25) Credit Card Quick Facts
"Credit Card Quick Facts" is a one-sheet on credit card related information from the Colorado State University Extension campus. This page contains very basic information covering the usual topics of interest in credit cards. While it provides limited usefulness for people who may require a deeper look at the subject matter, the document is still a decent Cliff Notes-type version on the topic for beginners.
26) Credit Card Fraud - Wikipedia
The Credit Card Fraud Wikipedia page is a bit thin with respect to the "depth" of the content. It provides very basic, yet solid information on the various methods of credit card fraud, including mail and internet fraud, account "takeover", skimming, carding and phishing.
27) Financial Planning - Understanding Credit Cards
The UMUC Military Finance web site offers a broad selection of content within the category, including several videos on understanding credit cards and transferring balances. While the videos are more of a novelty than they are useful, the site does provide a very helpful worksheet to compare the card features of various card offers.
28) Credit Card Transactions - Real World and Online
"Paying by Credit Card - Real World and Online" is essentially a school research project by Keith Lamond that provides an overview of the mechanics of a typical credit card transaction both online and off. The document also covers some basic credit card industry terminology, as well as the process involved in giving store merchants the capability to accept credit cards. This is very interesting information that will have a somewhat limited use for the typical credit card consumer and will be most beneficial for those looking for a deeper understanding of how the mechanics of a credit card transaction actually works.
29) Answers About Credit Cards – US Department of Treasury
The US Department of Treasury has a comprehensive site that covers credit card topics such as balance transfers, charge disputes, fees, interest rates, lost and stolen cards, late payments, pre-approval, pre-authorized payments, solicitations and unauthorized charges. This is a VERY comprehensive site that covers the topic well. This is another solid credit card information site from the Treasury Department.
30) Credit Card Overview - Center for Responsible Lending
The Center for Responsible Lending's web site has a fairly comprehensive credit card "overview" containing a bevy of briefs and fact sheets, reports, papers and policy recommendations on the credit card industry, including such topics such as "The Plastic Safety Net: The Reality Behind Debt in America", "Costly Credit: African Americans and Latinos in Debt" and "Retiring in the Red: The Growth of Debt Among Older Americans". This page is academically oriented, but is a highly informative, unbiased source of information.
31) Financial Privacy & Security - U.S. PIRG
U.S. PIRG has a Financial Privacy & Security section on its web site that covers the subject of credit in-depth and also maintains links to US PIRG congressional testimony and transcripts from interviews about various credit-related issues and legislation. This is a valuable source of information for credit in general.
32) How to Establish, Use & Protect Your Credit
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's web site contains great information and links to national and state chartered bank and financial institutions as well as information on how to establish, use and protect your credit. While this page contains basic information, it is nevertheless a solid, unbiased resource for credit-related information.
33) Credit Card Users with Highest Balances Pay Lowest Rates
Lucia Dunn, professor of Economics at Ohio State University conducted a study that showed that credit card users that maintained the highest balances on their cards had the lowest APR's. The study, conducted by Ms. Dunn and an OSU graduate student, dispelled a commonly held belief that banks and lending institutions would view large credit card balances as a default risk and would consequently assign higher APR's to those balances. This document is academically-oriented and while not highly useful for the average consumer, the page still provides practical, valuable insight into credit card industry practices.
34) In Debt We Trust
"In Debt We Trust" is a documentary film by Danny Schecter about the national and personal debt crisis in the US. The documentary goes deep into the issue of the "financialization" of the US economy and the formation and proliferation of the massive "credit and debt industrial complex". This is another must-have resource on the subject of credit and debt, and another site that we highly recommend.
35) 21 Tips to Help You Prevent Credit Card Fraud
"21 Tips to Help Prevent Credit Card Fraud" is an article from Scambusters.org that covers the basic principles of how to prevent fraud. This is a brief summary but a very accurate, numbered list of how to avoid this insipid problem.
36) Credit Card Chargeback Rights
This is a great informational site from the Office of the Attorney General in the State of California regarding "Credit Card Chargeback Rights". The page is a relatively in-depth document that discusses consumers' rights under federal and California state law regarding the challenge and dispute of credit card charges. The page covers billing errors as well as restrictions on "claims and defenses" chargeback rights. While the document is specific to California state law, it nevertheless provides authoritative and useful content on the subject matter.
IndexCreditCards.com is essentially an exhaustive list of practically every credit card offer available in the marketplace. At last count, there were over 1,000 different credit cards listed on the site. The sheer volume of credit cards on this site is impressive, but the large number of cards can be a bit overwhelming to the average user. The site also contains interest calculators and an interest rate "monitor" that keeps track of the latest APR's and trends in each card category. This is one of the top commercially-oriented credit card sites of all the card sites out there. The site is not going to win any awards for usability or sex appeal, but if you want access to information on a large number of credit card products, this is a good site to take note of.
38) Your Credit Rights – General Tips
This page from the Consumer Action web site discusses the protections provided by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. While the document is short and lacks considerable depth, the page contains a valuable bullet-pointed list of a consumer's rights and protections from creditors in the marketplace. This is a short but useful and helpful framework for your credit rights in general.
39) What is a Credit Card?
The FDIC has a "Credit Card Activities Manual" that seems to be somewhat academic in nature, but has some very interesting information on the different types of credit cards and their specific characteristics. The page covers the difference between standard credit cards and premium credit cards, co-branded credit cards versus affinity cards. This is definitely not a site with impressively deep content on the subject matter, but it contains valuable information specific to card types and their various attributes.
40) Strapped: Why America's 20 Somethings Can't Get Ahead
"Strapped" is a book from Tamara Draut who conducted extensive interviews of the spending habits of more than 100 college-educated young adults. The book takes a stark look at a variety of seemingly gloomy social and economic trends for our younger generation. Draut indicates that the somewhat downtrodden outlook has very little to do with the misconception of extravagant spending habits by young people. Draut contends that their poor outlook is more directly related to current economic conditions, including unaffordable housing prices, unrelenting college tuition increases, out of control credit card debt, stagnant wages and sky-rocketing health care costs. This should be required reading for anyone between the ages of 18-21 and a highly recommended resource for all consumers.
41) Worst Credit Card Industry Practices
Truthaboutcredit.org is a site funded by the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs). The site offers some very useful advice on "Worst Credit Card Industry Practices" in the form of a quick bullet point list of the dirty tricks that credit card issuers use to take advantage of consumers. This is a truncated, but very solid resource of card industry practices to be wary of.
42) Credit Card Rate Search on Yahoo! Personal Finance
Yahoo! Finance offers some fairly decent content within their credit card section that includes "How To" guides and calculators as well as the average APR's of the different available card categories. All in all, the page provides decent information but considering the size and scope of Yahoo! Finance as a whole, the quality and depth of the content offering specific to credit cards could be better.
43) Credit.com – Credit Cards
Credit.com is another commercially-oriented web site that contains very broad as well as relatively deep coverage of credit in general. While finding credit card specific content was a little challenging, the site contains a healthy amount of content on credit as a whole as well as some great articles and features on credit cards specifically. Additionally, the credit cards section has a great free tool called a "Credit Score Compass" that provides an estimate of your credit score before the consumer actually applies for a credit card. Overall, this is a solid resource site.
44) FTC Fast Facts - Choosing and Using Credit Cards
The FTC published this document back in 1993 called "FTC Fast Facts - Choosing and Using Credit Cards". While the information is useful, it contains mostly basic information that you'll find on any number of authoritative web sites on the topic. The content is provided by a highly credible, authoritative governmental agency and still serves well as a basic beginner’s guide to credit cards.
45) Credit Cards: Tips, Tools & Basics - AOL Money & Finance
The "Credit Cards" section of the AOL Money & Finance Section provides basic information on credit cards, using rewards cards, calculating interest, selecting from different card offers and a brief rundown of consumer credit laws. The site has a printable "Features Checklist" for people looking to compare different credit cards. In general, the content is fairly thin and given the resources that AOL has at its disposal, the content and usefulness of the credit cards section lacks compelling content overall and is somewhat disappointing.
46) Getting My Credit Card Spending Under Control
This is another guide to credit card debt management from Gayle Rose Martinez at the University of Wisconsin Extension that outlines the basics of how to get your credit card spending under control. It's simple and very basic and best used as a primer for beginners to the subject matter on managing credit card debt.
47) Credit Card Tips from Fraud.org
Fraud.org offers some very basic tips on how to avoid being taken advantage of with credit cards. With recommendations such as "read the fine print" on your credit card statements and "shop around" for a credit card, this page has a somewhat limited use for consumers who are more knowledgeable on the subject, it can nevertheless still be a very useful document but primarily for beginners on the subject.
48) Zug.com - Credit Pranks
Zug.com is the world's greatest prank site and absolutely one of the best sites in any category online. Nothing is sacred at Zug and they've run a number of infamous pranks including the Credit Card Prank. This site is undoubtedly NOT an authority on credit cards, but it does inject some humor and fun into the subject matter of credit cards, which can be laborious to some. The Credit Card Pranks on Zug.com provide some interesting insight and sheds some light on questionable credit card industry practices. While the site uses humor as the backdrop, Zug offers some very practical education about the various topics that they include for their pranking.
49) Credit Card Smarts - MSN Money
MSN Money provides a "Credit Card Smarts" article section that provides some solid credit card content, including a "5 Minute Guide to Credit Cards" as well as an article about the "evil tricks" of credit card companies. All in all, MSN Money doesn't provide significant content on the subject of credit cards. But the articles from money columnist Liz Pulliam Weston in particular are clearly the best credit card content that MSN has to offer.
50) Americans for Fairness in Lending
Americans for Fairness in Lending has published the "10 Reasons You Should Care About Predatory Lending" that outlines the questionable lending practices of all creditors. This site has a bit of a slanted view but offers some valid points and some useful content about the true nature of lenders in America.