Benzinga's Credit Card Review Methodology

Benzinga analyzed dozens of credit cards to determine the best in a number of categories. Factors considered include APR rates, expected minimum credit scores, potential annual fees and rewards. For example, APR rates for lower credit scores can range from 20% to 29%. However, APR rates were not the only factor used because some cards charged annual fees, one-time setup fees or registration fees. Interest rates were generally lower than APRs because APRs often examine multiple factors. When looking at credit cards, Benzinga examined how secured and unsecured credit cards performed in terms of benefits, APR rates, potential fees and rewards. Secured cards tend to charge security deposits that are equal to maximum credit lines, but some credit cards offer much lower security deposits when compared to the available line of credit. Extra benefits such as auto-payment features, educational tools and whether a credit card was reported to multiple credit bureaus were also considered.

Meet the Reviewers

Sarah Horvath

Sarah Horvath is a financial writer located in New York City, New York. She focuses on the topics of insurance and investing for retirement. Horvath has written for numerous websites and publications, and her work regularly appears on websites like Robinhood’s news feed and Benzinga.

How Points Were Awarded

Collecting data on these lenders allowed Benzinga to gather quite a lot of information that was converted into a points system. Below, you can see how points were awarded, further revealing how these cards were ranked and rated, using their many commonalities. 

Can You Apply Online?

Benzinga values banks and credit card issuers that offer online or all-digital options. When you, the consumer, can apply for a credit card online, the process is that much simpler. While this may sound like a no-brainer, some credit cards are not designed to offer all-online service, and they are not scored as highly as those that make the process simple for their customers.

Yes1 point
No0 points

Unsecured vs Secured

As Benzinga compares credit cards, it looks at whether these cards are secured or not. An unsecured card does not require a security deposit, enhancing your buying power and making the card more affordable. On the other hand, a secured card requires you to put down a security deposit before the card is issued. As a result, Benzinga scores secured credit cards lower than unsecured cards.

Secured0 points
Unsecured1 point

Available Line of Credit

As you might imagine, a larger line of credit gives you more buying power. As a result, Benzinga scores credit card issuers based on how high their credit lines can reach. Lower credit line offerings are scored lower, and issuers that offer massive credit lines are scored more favorably.

$50,000+5 points
$49,999 - $30,0004 points
$29,999 - $10,0003 points
$19,999 - $5,0002 points
$4,999 or less1 point

Minimum Credit Score

Benzinga looks through credit card issuers to find the companies that are the most welcoming. Some credit card issuers have low or no minimum credit score requirements. As the cards rise in prestige and functionality, they tend to require higher and higher credit scores in order to qualify.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuating economy can make it difficult for many consumers to maintain a high credit score. That is why Benzinga scores credit card issuers with low credit score requirements more favorably.

0 - 3305 points
331 - 4504 points
451 - 5503 points
551 - 650 2 points
651+ 1 point


The Annual Percentage Rate for a credit card determines how much buying power you have, how much you will pay in interest and how advantageous the card is to use. As a result, Benzinga scores credit card issuers with higher interest rates lower than those that offer low rates.

Remember, while the perfect credit card for you might not have the lowest interest rate, simple math points to low interest rates providing consumers with greater financial freedom.

Starting at 0% - 3%5 points
4% - 10%4 points
11% - 15%3 points
16% - 20%2 points
21%+1 point

BBB Rating

When you visit the Better Business Bureau, businesses with reviews are given a rating by the BBB itself. These ratings are generated based on reviews and complaints the business has received over the years. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau evaluates how these companies do business so that they can offer an unbiased rating.

Because a B is the lowest acceptable rating in the eyes of Benzinga, points are awarded for B’s and A’s only.

<B0 points
B3 points
A5 points

Number of BBB Complaints

As you read up on a credit card issuer online, the Better Business Bureau tells you precisely how many complaints a business has received over the past 3 years, including a figure for the past 12 months. You can read more about these complaints if you so choose, and Benzinga scores companies according to the number of complaints they have received, giving you an idea of companies that seem to attract consumer complaints and those that do not.

> 55 points
6-143 points
15+0 points

TrustPilot Stars

TrustPilot is a powerful consumer review platform where you can read the unvarnished truth about credit card issuers, how they do business and how they handle customers. Benzinga values the opinions of everyday credit card users, rewarding 1 point for every star the bank has earned on TrustPilot.

1 star1 point
2 stars2 points
3 stars3 points
4 stars4 points
5 starts5 points

Customer Service Responsiveness

Customer service responsiveness goes beyond the first response from the customer service team. Yes, Benzinga values timeliness when credit card issuers work with consumers, but these conversations were carried on for several minutes, ensuring that customer service representatives were eager to answer questions, happy to research difficult answers and didn’t keep customers waiting for extended periods.

In short, Benzinga’s methodology rewards timely responses along with a willingness to seek out answers as needed.

1 star1 point
2 stars2 points
3 stars3 points
4 stars4 points
5 stars5 points

Methods of Contact

When evaluating credit card issuers, Benzinga believes that methods of contact are just as important as credit limits, annual fees and interest rates. Can you, as a customer, reach the platform easily? The points scale used reflects these values, offering 1 point for every new method of contact. 

For example, a credit card issuer that can only be reached via email, only by phone, only by live chat, etc. limits the number of customers who can easily get answers to their questions. Look for credit card issuers that make it easy for you to reach out in as many ways as possible, and don’t be afraid to lean towards companies that offer the sort of service or contact options that align with your needs.

1 method1 points
2 methods2 points
3 methods3 points
4 methods4 points
5 methods5 points

Mobile App?

When a credit card issuer has a mobile app, it’s much easier for consumers to manage their accounts, track spending, take advantage of added extras and pay on-time. If a credit card issuer does not have a mobile, that tells Benzinga that the firm has not done everything it can to reach customers. 1 point is awarded for a mobile app, while no points are awarded when a mobile app is not available.

Yes1 point
No0 points