Most innovative credit cards
Both of this year's most innovative credit cards reward cardholders for great decisions, whether it's serving our country or building a sound financial foundation through homeownership.
- PenFed Defender Visa Signature® Card. Although PenFed has been attracting plenty of members from outside the military, this revamped version of its Defender Visa cuts straight to the core of this credit union's mission. This no-annual-fee card offers unlimited, 1.5 percent cash rebates on every purchase, automatically credited back to each member's account at the end of every month. Along with one of the country's lowest APRs, this card features no late fees, no foreign transaction fees, no balance transfer fees, no cash advance fees, and no overlimit fees. The only catch? Only active duty military personnel, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and honorably discharged and retired veterans can qualify. After hearing so many stories about banks and payday lenders gouging military families, this is an excellent way to reward exemplary military service.
- Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa®. This clever program funnels generous rebates directly toward loan principal on a linked Wells Fargo home mortgage. Gas, grocery and drugstore net purchases earn rebates of 5 percent for the first six months, while most other everyday net purchases earn a 1 percent rebate. Every time a cardholder's rewards balance hits $25, Wells Fargo automatically converts that balance into a mortgage credit. At a time when retail branch-based banks have mostly been getting trounced on deals from heavyweight credit card issuers, this offer signals Wells Fargo's attempt to muscle back into the mainstream consumer credit market.