Credit card companies want to be your friend again.
Now that the economy is getting better and issuers have tightened their credit standards to keep away the deadbeats, card marketing is back with a vengeance.
Today, card companies are sweetening rewards programs and making it easier than it's been in years to transfer balances, and the rewards offers are better than they were before the recession.
On "The Early Shoe on Saturday Morning," WalletPop.com editor at large Jason Cochran told viewers which of the new and improved cards are most worth their while:
Best Low Rate Card
-- 3.9 fixed rate for six months
-- 5.15 percent - 13.15 percent after that
-- Customers with the best credit get the lowest rates, but other cards can be 10 points higher than that rate.
Best Cash Back Card
-- 2 percent of annual purchases into investment or cash account
-- Unlimited earning
-- Only for Fidelity customers with strong credit
Best Airline Miles Reward Card
-- Cash back for any airline, anytime, or for travel expenses
-- No international transaction fees
-- $59 annual fee, so you really have to use those rewards to make it pay off -- which means also paying off card monthly, so it's not offset by finance fees.
Best Balance Transfer Card
-- No balance transfer fee
-- 0 percent introductory rate for a 12 months
-- Usually, balance transfers come with 3 percent fee. Also has a good cash-back reward program (up to 5 percent at some merchants)
Best Overall Card\
-- Helps resolve late payment issues without penalties
-- 5 percent back on gas, 2 percent on groceries up to $50k/year
-- PenFed's card products are generally well-rated across the board, but you have to be a member of the PenFed credit union to get one. That's generally for military personnel, but anyone can get an account by joining a partner civilian non-profit support organization.
The future of credit cards is coming in a few months, with the new Citi 2G card (a few Citibank members already have them -- they've been in beta testing since November). You press a button on the card to switch from using credit to using up your reward points, and there are two lights on the card so you know which account you're using. So using it makes sure no reward points go unused -- and keeps you off credit when you don't want to rack up debt. Nifty invention!