How NerdWallet's Greatest-Of Awards Modified for 2021 – NerdWallet


In 2020, takeout and streaming tv turned the brand new dinner and a film. Webinars turned the brand new enterprise journey. Leggings turned actual pants. All of those COVID-19-related societal shifts have an effect on the place our cash goes and which bank cards we flip to when it’s time to make a purchase order.

Yearly, we at NerdWallet look ahead to sharing our Best-Of Awards so you may decide your subsequent bank card with confidence. And because the pandemic and its influence are more likely to proceed reverberating by a lot of 2021, we made some modifications in our award classes to raised mirror how we’re spending cash now.

Listed here are the methods our awards classes have been adjusted:

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1. Classes that modified

‘Greatest card for eating and leisure’ turned ‘greatest card for eating out or ordering in’

So far as bank card rewards go, the “leisure” class covers an extended listing of locations which might be largely sitting empty, or half-empty, proper now, like film theaters, sports activities arenas and live performance venues. So we’ve sharpened our focus to one of many main methods persons are really treating themselves to “enjoyable” nowadays, and that’s taking the evening off from cooking.

And since literal “eating out” is a nonstarter for a lot of proper now, we made certain to think about cards that also reward you for ordering in, whether or not that is takeout or supply instantly from eating places or by eligible third-party supply providers.

‘Greatest card for households’ turned ‘greatest card for groceries’

In earlier years, our “family-friendly” class already targeted on playing cards that reward you properly on grocery retailer purchases. Nonetheless, households include a wide range of completely different needs and desires, so we additionally tended to think about different spending past simply the grocery store: eating out, journey/transit, leisure and extra.

However once more, amid COVID-19, a lot of that “different spending” has been curtailed, taking a again seat to getting ready meals at residence (aka groceries). Many bank card issuers have seen the development, too, and have adjusted some of their cards accordingly. They’ve added grocery shops as a brief bonus class, tweaked journey credit to allow them to be used towards grocery store purchases, allowed full-value level redemptions towards such purchases, and extra.

As such, “greatest playing cards for groceries” was merely a extra targeted and related identify for this class in 2021. And whether or not you cook dinner every part from scratch or load up your freezer with comfort meals, the playing cards on this class make it doable to save cash each time you masks up and wipe down the purchasing cart.

In the event you desire to choose up your groceries on the curb or get them delivered, it’s usually doable to earn further rewards on these purchases, too.

‘Greatest card for steadiness transfers’ was consolidated

Due to COVID-related financial uncertainty, banks have tightened their lending requirements. In consequence, true steadiness switch playing cards — which let you transfer bank card debt from one card to a different that expenses decrease curiosity — are harder to find.

Most lenders merely aren’t all that proper now in taking in your debt from one other establishment, particularly if they don’t seem to be going to earn curiosity on it. Some issuers closed functions for all these playing cards, whereas others shortened the 0% APR interval on steadiness transfers or restricted utility acceptance to these with glorious credit score (FICO scores of 720 or higher).

But steadiness switch provides have not disappeared utterly, and whenever you do see them, they’re usually paired with an honest 0% intro APR supply on purchases. In any case, issuers are much more prepared to dangle that incentive if it means you may dangle round as a buyer.

If market situations enhance, we may even see steadiness switch playing cards make a comeback. However for now, with choices so restricted, we consolidated this class as “greatest 0% intro APR and steadiness switch card.”

2. Classes which might be taking the 12 months off

Premium shopper and enterprise journey playing cards

People are nonetheless touring, and plenty of are reserving future journeys within the hopes of a return to regular later in 2021, so we nonetheless picked winners for flat-rate and bonus rewards journey playing cards.

However since fewer persons are setting foot in airports for now (particularly for enterprise journey), ultra-premium perks like airport lounge entry and assertion credit to cowl journey prices merely aren’t as useful in offsetting sky-high annual charges on these playing cards.

These advantages solely have worth whenever you really use them — and to make use of them, you should journey.

At some point we’ll return to ironing gown shirts in resort rooms the evening earlier than an enormous presentation, however for now, we are able to nonetheless fill up on journey rewards to redeem in a while.

Playing cards for truthful credit score

These with truthful credit score (FICO scores of at the least 630) fall in a troublesome center floor. Their credit score is not fairly adequate to make them extremely desired candidates, however their credit score is not so unhealthy that they really feel compelled to resort to secured playing cards or unsecured merchandise for adverse credit. It is a tough spot.

As such, the listing of best cards for fair credit has sometimes been brief — and that listing shrunk much more in 2020 as many playing cards started to require good or glorious credit score to qualify, once more due to financial situations.

However as of now, there’s simply not sufficient competitors amongst playing cards for truthful credit score to warrant an award.

3. A brand-new class: ‘Greatest playing cards for staying at residence’

With this new class, we sought out playing cards that made purchasing in your pajamas each handy and rewarding.