Get Better at Managing Your Credit Cards (and Credit Card Debt) With These Smart Tools
Credit cards can be good, and credit cards can be bad—in many cases, it’s all in how you use the card. Still, some credit cards rise above the rest, with rewards, perks, services, fees, and rates that set them apart. Beyond the cards themselves, there are also many services and apps that make using a credit card easier, either by helping people stay on top of payments, offering money-saving tips, and more.
As part of the Real Simple Smart Money Awards, we’re highlighting the best credit cards and tools for managing them of 2020 with the help of a panel of judges. There’s a service for everyone, from first-time credit card holders to those trying to escape credit card debt. Read on for the best credit cards and credit card services, or click here to see the other 2020 Real Simple Smart Money Award winners.
Best for: paying down debt and starting an emergency fund
What it is: Tally syncs all your credit cards, then takes over prioritizing payments. It tackles high-interest debts first and makes sure bills are paid on time. It also sends reminders to help you avoid late fees.
Why we love it: Tally nudges you toward better saving and spending habits. “Far too many Americans are awash in debt and don’t know how to dig themselves out. Tally is a great solution,” says judge Lynnette Khalfani-Cox.
RELATED: How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt
Best for: 20-somethings who want to build their credit rating
What it is: The Petal Visa is an excellent first credit card—and you’re approved based on your income if you don’t have credit history.
Why we love it: It’s a chicken-and- egg conundrum: How do you build good credit if you don’t have a credit card...because you don’t have good credit? Petal is the answer, and it doesn’t even charge late fees.
Best for: keeping tabs on your credit account
What it is: Eno, a virtual assistant, combs through your credit card activity to find expiring free trials, possible double charges, and other opportunities to save. Some services are automatic; for others, you have to give the go-ahead to allow notifications.
Why we love it: Most of us spend about as much time looking at our credit card statements as we do our grocery store receipts. Unsurprisingly, it can be easy to miss overcharges or signs of fraud. Through email and text alerts, Eno lets you know when something doesn’t look right before it becomes a big problem.