Web Extra: The 3 Credit Cards You Need

As we’ve been covering here at OTM, the credit card industry is in the throes of massive change. Even with help pledged from the government, consumers are still getting hit with higher interest rates and lower credit limits, moves that are doing untold damage to their credit scores. We’ve already given you a primer on how to shop for a new credit card. In Wednesday’s Web Extra, John Ulzheimer takes you the extra step: breaking down exactly which are the best credit cards to own.

His overall pick is the plain-old Discover Card, which he says is great for everyday, utilitarian use. There’s no frills, but there’s also no annual fee. He uses his Discover card at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The card has competitive rates, good limits and, best of all, Discover is not in the news for aggressively lowering limits or increasing rates the way some of its bigger competitors are. You will need strong credit if you plan to apply for this card.

Ulzheimer also carries an American Express Platinum Card. He calls it the perfect companion for business or frequent travelers, as it is loaded with incentives such as airline club access and companion tickets. Again, this card requires strong credit – and there’s a $450 annual fee – but that can be a good investment if you’re a frequent flier.

Then there’s the Applied Bank Secured Card. This is the credit card for someone starting from scratch or starting over, Ulzheimer says. It comes with a great rate (one that’s better than many unsecured cards) and reports to credit bureaus – a must for secured cards. And there are no credit requirements and no income requirements.